Deep Inside the XRCO, with Links for Further Reading

Ashlynn Brooke and Veronique Vega, 2010

Ashlynn Brooke and Veronique Vega, 2010

For 32 years, roughly the combined age of a MILF and her boob job, the X-Rated Critics’ Organization (XRCO) has been presenting awards that sweep away most of the bullshit and best reflect the state of American corporate pornography.

[Note: “Corporate Pornography” and “The Porno-Industrial Complex” redirect here. Those are my blanket-in-need-of-dry-cleaning terms for the mainstream, non-queer, non-homemade, non-real BDSM, filmed-with-permission, this-is-my-main-source-of-income pornography that tends to involve a woman having sex with her high heels on. Therefore it doesn’t really refer to sex that most thinking humans actually have and enjoy. But it’s sex for which they do harbor, at least, a familiarity and a fondness to watch paid performers engage in. And I like that sort of pornography in the same way I enjoy Coca Cola, good dogs, and Freedom.]

Headquartered in the unlikely porn capital of Dayton, OH, the XRCO hosts its yearly awards show in Hollywood. This year’s event, to be held on June 22, recognizes a number of winners from similar categories at January’s AVN and XBiz Awards. And like those two events, the XRCO regularly adds categories. This year, for example, the XRCO added both a Lesbians and a Family-Themed category to acknowledge, in the case of the former, that Male Gaze sounds like, but isn’t the same as, Male Gays and, in the latter category, that you can depict the same kind of sex as shown in every other porn movie but if you add “stepfather” to the title then it’s suddenly that much more creepy and appealing (Lenny Kravitz once did the same thing for popular music).

But where the XRCOs is different is what makes the awards special. A very loose collection of porn reviewers from around the United States and world, many of whom do that job professionally if you can believe it,  make up the XRCO. A large percentage of these men and women (yes, there are women) live and work outside of Porn Valley, so they are unswayed by the occasional temptation of a porn star visit in making their nominations and casting their votes. Furthermore, there is little corporate pressure to see a particular film, whereas if you’re working for AVN, Wicked (for example) will guarantee you have a copy of its latest nutbuster. And then it’s a slippery slope, my friends. Few—if any—can withstand a Chatsworth Charm Offensive.

XRCO voters just kinda vote on what they want, and sometimes the results are markedly different from what picks up trophies at AVN and XBiz.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t considerable overlap with the other shows, however, or that transgressive little indies like “The Bedwetting Puppeteers” or “Analingus Blumpkinhead” aren’t occasionally snubbed.

Not only that, but for every hardworking, under-the-radar director like Tim von Swine who collects XRCO awards but gets little, if any, AVN and XBiz recognition, there is also a prolific journeyman director like Mike Quasar who gets overlooked.

When apprised of the nominations, Quasar tweeted:

This just in!! Quasar snubbed by XRCO! “I was hoping to sell my trophy to buy clean needles and a hot plate. Dreams don’t always come true”

and

For immediate release: Mike Quasar receives 0 XRCO nominations. He’d like to thank everyone who didn’t vote for him. “It’s truly an honor”

and

“To not have my work recognized by a guy that lives in a rent controlled 1 bedroom apt is truly the stuff dreams are made of” said Quasar

I talked with the genial “Dirty Bob” Krotts, who has been running the XRCO for the last 15 years. Krotts is a long-time reviewer for AVN.

Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson

Gram: Please speak to the idea of protest votes or protest snubs. Do people ever get excluded as punishment?

Dirty Bob: Nothing like that is ever done intentionally. While there are a few performers whom I am not personally fond of, it has never affected the nominations.

Gram: I know that a few years ago there was a male performer who, in addition to not being very good, got shut out because of on-set behavior. I was wondering if there were Tremors in the Force about James Deen this year.

Dirty Bob: [Voting] reflects the exact desires of members who, as seasoned and accomplished viewers, have a strong feeling as to what works, doesn’t work, sells, and is simply good sex and porn.

Gram: On average, how much do the awards cost to put on? Who makes the plaques? Who runs the website?

Dirty Bob: The XRCO is subsidized, often only partially, by the generosity of sponsors. Occasionally it doesn’t cover all expenses and [the rest] comes out of my pocket. The plaques are traditionally made by Imperial Awards in L.A. This includes the new design which began in 2015 when it was no longer feasible to continue with the old wooden plaques. The total cost is close to $10,000. I have maintained the website {which yes, needs a makeover).

Gram: Describe Dayton as the unlikely porn capital that it is.

Dirty Bob: I’m not certain I would call it a porn capital, but there are certainly many people in the biz throughout the years who have lived or come from here.

Gram: One of the XRCO’s early members was an older gentleman from Ohio named Den. He maintained a very bare-bones, text-based porn review site called Cyberspace Adult Video Reviews (now archived by the good people at The Internet Adult Film Database). He died in 2011. Tell me a little about Den and how he was involved in the early days.

Dirty Bob: Den Recob was dedicated to Adult Entertainment and Performers—perhaps over-dedicated. Regarding his reviews, he had a room in his home which could be compared to a mini Mission Control room, set up so that he could have three monitors playing videos simultaneously while he typed feverishly on his computer keypad writing those action-explicit detailed reviews. Great guy. He will be missed.

Gram: How has the XRCO changed over the years?

Dirty Bob: I am aware that, after I took it over after the turn of the new millennium, I have managed to evolve it from a simple event into one more fitting of the demands of participants and attendees. Modernize it a bit more. More sponsors.

Gram: It’s a pretty raucous, seat-of-its-pants event now. I can imagine how it was before…

Dirty Bob: A lot of the behind-the-scenes things that may not be easily apparent really help to keep things going and fun. Also, the drop in companies issuing DVDs and screeners has reduced the active membership. Hence to be nominated, let alone win, is harder, and therefore a more appreciated goal to attain.

[The XRCO Awards is an adult industry-only event. There is a loose RSVP system but the doors are staffed by a group of industry veterans who eyeball attendees to make sure they’re in the business. I remember appreciating the XRCO’s inclusiveness of non-19-year-olds when I attended my first event in 2006. Golden Age performers would come to this event who wouldn’t go to the AVN show, simply because people still knew who they were. Now I’ve got a Reed Richards thing going and I’ll be one of those guys about whom the Orgasmic Analist nominees will say, “Oh, he looks like my uncle Frank.”]

Gram: Please explain the nominating process.

Dirty Bob: Around the first of the year I ask members to send in up to five personal nominations per category in as many categories as they feel qualified. Then I and Dick Freeman go through them, making certain that they were released in the prior year (unlike the AVN and XBiz Awards, which have nomination cutoff dates in the Fall, the XRCO Awards consider movies from the previous calendar year), and make a list. A lot of research goes into making certain that the XRCO noms fit into the correct time period. We then finalize the noms for the top selections, based on number of nominations, and what the final list consists of are the exact choices of the XRCO members. No politics are involved.

Sorry, Mike Quasar. Don’t ever change.

[NOTE: I have been an XRCO member for the past decade but I did not participate in this run of nominations because I spent the better part of last year making ridiculous lists for a site no one read. I watched very little porn and I have become a changed person, distant, gape-averse. I will be catching up and voting on these nominations, however, as I know my opinion means something to you. I have added some surprises to the links below to broaden your porn trivia skills and ruin your workday.]

Sunset Thomas and Ron Jeremy

Sunset Thomas and Ron Jeremy


2016 XRCO Nominations


BEST RELEASE
(shot on film, digital, or video; not a parody)
Being Riley, Tushy/Jules Jordan Video
Carter Cruise Obsession, Blacked/Jules Jordan Video
Marriage 2.0, Adam & Eve
Stockholm Syndrome, James Deen Productions/Girlfriends Films
The Submission of Emma Marx: Boundaries, New Sensations

BEST EPIC (big budget – also usually at least 2+ discs)
Safe Landings, Adam & Eve
Starmaker, Wicked Pictures
Stryker, Digital Playground
The Turning, Girlsway
Safe Landings”>Wanted, Wicked Pictures

BEST PARODY (Comedy)
Bob’s Boners and Other Porn Parodies, Wood Rocket/Digital Sin
Joanna Angel’s Making the Band, Burning Angel Entertainment
Night at the Erotic Museum, Smash Pictures
Peter Pan XXX: An Axel Braun Parody, Wicked Fairy Tales
This Ain’t Modern Family XXX, Hustler
This Ain’t The Interview XXX, Hustler

BEST PARODY (Drama)
American Whore Story, Brazzers
Kill Bill A XXX Parody, Digital Playground
Magic Mike XXXL: A Hardcore Parody, Wicked Pictures
Screwing Wall Street: The Arrangement Finders IPO, Manuel Ferrara Productions/Evil Angel
Sleeping with Danger, Dreamzone

BEST PARODY (Comic)
Avengers XXX 2: Along Came A Spider, Vivid
Barbarella XXX: An Axel Braun Parody, Wicked Pictures
Batman v. Superman XXX: An Axel Braun Parody, Wicked Pictures
Gnardians of the Galaxy and Other Porn Parodies, Wood Rocket
Wonder Woman XXX, Vivid

BEST GONZO MOVIE
Adriana Chechik: The Ultimate Slut, Jonni Darkko Prod./Evil Angel
Angela 2, AGW Entertainment/Girlfriends Films
Anikka’s Anal Sluts, BAM Visions/Evil Angel
Ass Worship 16, Jules Jordan Video
Gangbang Me 2, Hard X
Real Life #5, Kelly Madison Productions/Juicy Entertainment

BEST GONZO SERIES
Anal Beauty, Tushy.Jules Jordan Video
Angela Loves…, Angela White Productions/Girlfriends Films
Ass Worship, Jules Jordan Video
DP Me, Hard X
Gangbang Me, Hard X
Raw, Manuel Ferrara/Evil Angel
Rocco’s Perfect Slaves, Rocco Siffredi Produzione/Evil Angel

BEST GIRL/GIRL SERIES
Girl Train, Belladonna/Evil Angel
Kittens & Cougars, Zero Tolerance Entertainment
Lesbian Family Affair, Filly Films
…Loves Girls, Sweetheart/Mile High
The Seduction Of …, Devil’s Film
We Live Together, Reality Kings
Women Seeking Women, Girlfriends Films

BEST POV SERIES
Girlfriend Experience, Porn Pros
Lex’s Point of View, Evil Angel
Manuel’s Fucking POV, Jules Jordan Video
POV Pervert, Jules Jordan Video
Up Close And Hardcore, Team Skeet

BEST ETHNIC SERIES
Asian Fucking Nation, Jonni Darkko Prod./Evil Angel
Asian Persuasion , Immoral Productions
Black Panthers, Lexington Steele/Evil Angel
8th Street Latinas, Reality Kings
Latin Adultery, Naughty America
Latina Sex Tapes, Mofos/Pulse
My First Interracial, Blacked.com
Up My Asian Ass, Jules Jordan Video

BEST DIRECTOR (Features)
Brad Armstrong
James Avalon
Stormy Daniels
Eddie Powell Jacky St. James
B. Skow

BEST DIRECTOR (Non-Features)
Mike Adriano
Jonni Darkko
Manuel Ferrara
Jules Jordan
Greg Lansky
Mason
Mimefreak
Pat Myne
Chris Streams
Tim Von Swine

BEST DIRECTOR (Parody)
Joanna Angel
Brad Armstrong
Axel Braun
Lee Roy Myers
Will Ryder

BEST DIRECTOR (Web)
Ivan
Lee Roy Myers
Miles Long
Ryan Madison
Stills By Alan

BEST ACTRESS
Asa Akira, Starmaker, Wicked Pictures
Stormy Daniels, Wanted, Wicked/Adam & Eve
Kimberly Kane, Family Secrets, Vivid Entertainment Group
Keira Nicole, Peter Pan XXX: An Axel Braun Parody, Wicked Fairy Tales
Penny Pax, The Submission of Emma Marx: Boundaries, New Sensations Erotic Stories
India Summer, Marriage 2.0, Adam & Eve

BEST ACTOR
Richie Calhoun, The Submission of Emma Marx: Boundaries, New Sensations Erotic Stories
Ryan Driller, Marriage 2.0, Adam & Eve
Derrick Pierce, Magic Mike XXXL, Wicked Pictures
Tommy Pistol, Stryker, Digital Playground
Ryan Ryder, Peter Pan XXX: An Axel Braun Parody, Wicked Fairy Tales
Steven St. Croix, Peter Pan XXX: An Axel Braun Parody, Wicked Fairy Tales

BEST LESBIAN PERFORMER

Kenna James
Shyla Jennings
Prinzzess Felicity Jade
Ryan Ryans
Jenna Sativa
Angela Sommers
Tanya Tate
Vanessa Veracruz

ALL IN THE FAMILY THEME
Brothers & Sisters, Sweet Sinner/Mile High
Daddy’s Girls #2, Girlfriends Films
Family Secrets, Vivid Video
The Father Figure, Digital Sin Tabu Tale
I Love My Sister’s Big Tits 4, Digital Sin
Lesbian Family Affair #3, Filly Films
My Evil Stepson, DV Productions/Evil Angel

FEMALE PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Anikka Albrite
AJ Applegate
Vicki Chase
Adriana Chechik
Carter Cruise
Dani Daniels
Romi Rain
Riley Reid

MALE PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Mick Blue
Flash Brown
Manuel Ferrara
Ramon Nomar
Tommy Pistol
Chris Strokes
Prince Yahshua

NEW STARLET
Marley Brinx
Abella Danger
Kate England
Karlee Grey
Katrina Jade
Morgan Lee
Megan Rain

NEW STUD
Axel Aces
Damon Dice
Brad Knight
Alex Legend
Michael Williams

UNSUNG SIREN
Casey Calvert
Alex Chance
Ash Hollywood
Karla Kush
Sara Luvv
Missy Martinez
Mandy Muse
Valentina Nappi
Amber Rayne
Tasha Reign

UNSUNG SWORDSMAN
Marcus London
Eric Masterson
Logan Pierce
Will Powers
John Strong

SUPERSLUT
Anikka Albrite
Adriana Chechik
Aidra Fox
Maddy O’Reilly
Romi Rain
Dahlia Sky
Angela White

ORGASMIC ORALIST
Vicki Chase
Adriana Chechik
Jillian Janson
Riley Reid
Sarah Vandella
Angela White

ORGASMIC ANALIST
Anikka Albrite
AJ Applegate
Vicki Chase
Adriana Chechik
Aidra Fox
Keisha Grey
Jillian Janson

MILF OF THE YEAR (30 or older)
Ava Addams
Julia Ann
Veronica Avluv
Nikki Benz
Mercedes Carrera
Cherie Deville
Kendra Lust
India Summer

BEST CUMBACK (out of the biz for at least 1 year)
Ryan Conner
Shawna Lenee
Katie Morgan

MAINSTREAM ADULT MEDIA FAVORITE
jessica drake
Jessie Andrews
Ana Foxxx
Ron Jeremy
Kayden Kross
Bonnie Rotten
Stoya

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Will There Be Another Temptation Awards?; “Naked Came the Pornstar” And “Tampa Teasers”
See Also: The XRCO

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