Gang-Hangar at the XBiz Awards

Last night’s 10th annual XBiz Awards, presented for a couple thousand attendees at Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar, was a lavish and convivial affair made that much more effective by free bottle service and assigned seating.

Adult awards shows are notoriously disaster-prone, yet they must be thrown. Without the possibility of awards, women would simply stop performing sex on camera.

So XBiz, which last night became the New Hampshire Primary of adult awards season, learned from the mistakes (and false expectations) of porn trophy shows past and did the following things exceptionally well:

  • Located the event at an out of the way place to prevent gawkers
  • Chose a venue with easy parking
  • Moved the ticket line quickly
  • Kept the evening short
  • Seated guests at tables to encourage attention
  • Provided free drinks and attentive waitstaff

I was at first seated at a table populated by Best Transsexual Performer nominees, who were all very nice and fun, but I wandered over to the adjoining table, crammed with that interesting breed of professional called “Sex Educator.”

“It’s not because I don’t care about you,” I said to the transsexuals, “but the people at the next table really care about maintenance of my frenulum.”

Thus, I sat with Jamye Waxman, Sex Nerd Sandra, and Reid Mihalko.

“Grams,” they said, “What is the secret to a healthy sexual life?”

“Eat mor Chikin,” I replied, quoting a billboard I find inspiring, and they went off to masturbate and have hugging workshops.

Aided by a friendly reminder email from XBiz, the awards show started on time, which has never been done before. I’ve been to numerous events in which announcers begged attendees to get their drinks and pay attention, but last night’s show started on its own with a flourish and fanfare, and people paid attention without being cajoled into it.

That being said, very little of what was spoken from the stage was audible, though two large screens made it possible to see the likes of hosts jessica drake and Kayden Kross, guests like pioneering and powerful porn attorney Paul Cambria, nand Icon Award winner Larry Flynt, who berths his own jet a few hangars over.

Like other times I have seen Mr. Flynt speak, the few words I could catch were both sober and passionate. Flynt’s speech was preceded by an excellent video of his exploits on the witness stand and in public life, and it is always a revelation to see what an ornery Kentucky rebel he was before and after a bullet put him in a wheelchair.

Sadly, all worthy efforts notwithstanding, a porn awards show is a porn awards show, and Flynt’s Libertarian stump speech was drowned out by people clicking camera phone photos of each other.

(Speaking of photos, the snaps in this article were taken by L.A.’s own Rick Garcia, whose work I admire.)

I watched as the talented Will Ryder took home a Best Parody trophy (I was nominated for “Facts of Life XXX,” but perhaps the world wasn’t ready), was pleased to see Jessie Andrews and Tommy Pistol win Best Acting Performance in their genders, and marveled at the pleasing weight of the awards themselves.

“I could crush someone’s skull with this,” said Pistol, hefting his engraved hunk of glass.

As awards flashed by in four categories for Billing Company of the Year (finding a reputable, honest, and adult-friendly billing company for your porn website is infinitely sexier than most couples’ movies), I wandered the room, pleasantly hindered by vodka-based juice drinks that always surprise me with their potency.

I was taken to meet Phil Varone, former Skid Row drummer, “Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew” castmember, and CalExotics branded dildo model, but he wasn’t there. In retrospect that was a good thing, because it was loud and I’m not sure how he would have taken my asking if he was concerned that the Lemonheads and Ugly Kid Joe might also become dildo models.

But that was the only time I left my table. Like Scrooge on Christmas morning, I was otherwise content to have people visit me. Thus I hung out with mad-hatter pixie Erica McLean, surprisingly tall vixen Priya Rai, Jenna Jameson creator Joy King, erudite and vivacious Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, tattooed vision Barbie Davenporte, humanitarian and Gram enthusiast jessica drake, and Take Down Piracy founder Nate Glass, who was proud to have received a fist bump from a Done-Served-His-Time Max Hardcore.

But for all the people I knew, interviewed, bailed out of jail, shared cabs with, held the hair of while they vomited, talked down from ledges, commiserated with, French-kissed, groped inappropriately, called bullshit on, directed in movies, harassed for payment, introduced to employers, set up with ex-girlfriends, and/or picked up at the airport, there were twice as many whose faces I didn’t recognize.

And the people in this latter category all addressed each other as “Bro.”

2012 marks the tenth anniversary of my introduction to the adult industry, and one sign that a community is vibrant might be the occasional cry of “Who the fuck are these people?”

I attended an after-party with some esteemed colleagues, then traveled to the Burbank Bob’s Big Boy to absorb some of that free alcohol.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Larry Flynt—The Right To Be Left Alone; Fleshbot Awards 2011—dirty, brief, and intoxicating
See also: The 2012 XBiz Award winners

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Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist


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