Alternate universe XRCO Awards deemed “elegant”

I regret not having attended this week’s 27th annual XRCO Awards (I had to make an emergency airport run), but I am heartened to know I couldn’t have been there anyway, as I live in this universe.

2011 XRCO AWARDS: AN ELEGANT AFFAIR reads the headline from Pipeline Multimedia, the XRCO’s official publicity organ. I am sure that in some dimension far removed from my own, in which women who spread their anuses for cameras while warm Spring zephyrs blow up Hollywood Blvd. and into their colons are thought of as regal, where awards presenters screaming “Will you shut the fuck up?” from the podium are displaying elocution crafted in the finest schools, and where James Bartholet is regarded as a singular talent, the XRCO Awards were, in fact, elegant.

But not in this one.

I have attended the previous six XRCO Awards and I am a longstanding XRCO voter. I love the XRCO Awards. But to call this fundamental clusterfuck of a hedonistic, shrieking trainwreck “elegant” is to forget that any venue that allows Bill Margold through its doors ought to be shut down by the City, burned to the ground, and have its remnant soil sown with salt to prevent future abominations.

To call the XRCO Awards (or any adult awards show for that matter—I was working at AVN when editor Jared Rutter called AVN’s awards show “elegant”—and this was back when people actually read AVN!—and determined to be wrongfully terminated then and there) elegant is to call that limousine full of drunk high school girls throwing up out of each window and the sunroof elegant. It is to call a zirconia classy, “The Da Vinci Code” literature, or yourself America’s Beloved Porn Journalist.

I called my friend Wayne Hentai, who is the publicist for, among others, Orgasmic Analist winner Bobbi Starr.

“I’m reading the Internet,” I said to Hentai, “and it says the 2011 XRCO Awards were ‘elegant.'”

“They were not,” said Hentai. “Somebody said ‘Shut the fuck up’ within five minutes.”

“Is that a record?” I said.

“I think it is,” Hentai said (he should know; he’s been in the business longer than I have).

“What else happened?” I asked.

“Well, James Bartholet gave an impromptu eulogy to Hunter Bryce, and said that she was looking down from Heaven at us.”

I let that sit for a minute.

“You still there?” Wayne said.

“Yeah,” I said. “Hold on.”

Hunter Bryce was a beautiful woman who herself was nominated in the Orgasmic Oralist category just last year. She was 30 when she was found dead in her apartment on Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has not completed its review but reports that there were initially no signs of trauma.

Bryce will doubtless be celebrated in her native Pittsburgh by people who knew her as Kathryn Sue Johnston, and by her many friends in the adult industry. But Oh God, I can’t think of a worse place to have my eulogy read than in front of a group of people who for the previous 26 years have been nothing but indifferent to what is happening onstage.

“When I die—” began Hentai.

“—I will deposit your virgin body back into the Hawaiian volcano from which it sprang, rather than deliver your obituary before presenting the Teen Cream Dream award,” I said.

Come to think of it, Bryce took her nom de porn from writer Hunter S. Thompson, so perhaps she might have appreciated the context of her eulogy. Maybe that’s why she was smiling down at the not-shutting-the-fuck-up crowd.

Still, it wasn’t elegant.

I look forward to 2012’s XRCO Awards, at which I wouldn’t be surprised if a donkey is shot and gutted onstage and there is a 44-MILF Urine Gangbang while each of the Heart On girls is set on fire and I assfuck the Unsung Starlet as she texts her dad, just as long as they’re as urbane as I remember.

For a complete list of XRCO award winners, visit

(I am indebted to the excellent photographer Rick Garcia for his lurid and compelling photos of debauchery.)

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: But it’s our clusterfuck—XRCO 2010
See also: XRCO, Rick Garcia

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Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist

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