GLENDALE, Calif.—Once again, the Beyond the Stars Palace on North Brand Boulevard was the site of this year's celebration of the Tranny Awards, created by famed trans website Grooby.com—but site owner Steve Grooby indicated that next year, the awards may have to search for a new, bigger venue to handle the increased audience interest.
"So many fans came out!" Grooby said in an interview. "There were 450 ticket sales, and probably another 50 [at the door]—and they were all fans; probably 200 fans, 150 models, [and] 150 more including models, industry, that sort of stuff. ... There's at least 25 percent more" than last year, he added.
The evening began just after 8 p.m., with statuesque trans woman Morgan Bailey once again handling the interviews on the red carpet for Grooby.com's live netcast of the event—but the line of stars to be interviewed stretched well onto the sidewalk, and as much as Bailey tried to give a few minutes to each, there were still several left in line when the red carpet shut down at about 9:30.
The awards show, however, didn't begin until shortly after 10, with internet radio hostess Michelle Austin asking the audience to quiet down and take their seats—no luck on the quiet, though—and then introducing the evening's host, who once again was RuPaul's Drag Race and Drag U. star Jujubee. The Laotian beauty first gave the stage to British-born TS star Jordan Jay, who performed two dance numbers for the appreciative crowd, ending up in just pasties and a black g-string.
The awards themselves were a mix of those voted on by subscribers to the Grooby.com website and and an independent panel of judges which included Christian XXX and XCritic's Apache Warrior, and those that were sponsored by and decided upon by various trans-friendly companies such as The Stockroom (which supplied many of the gowns worn by performers appearing onstage), The UP Network, Shemale Strokers, Bob's Tgirls, Third World Media, Trans500, Tgirl Nights, Hung Angels, FameDollars, Transformation Magazine, Shemale.com, MyTrannyCams.com, Lord Morpheous, Gentlemen's Club TV, Spunk Lube, ICM Registry and even Grooby himself for a new award debuting at the show, Best Female to Male (FTM) Performer.
"Grooby this year is going to go a lot more mainstream," explained Steve Grooby. "We're working to get the name 'Grooby' out there, [associated with] anything that's transsexual-based. We're also looking at trying to work on normalizing transsexuals from the adult industry then into the mainstream industry. That's why we have the female-to-male [award], the trans men we've started out with now. Next year, there will be more trans men categories; perhaps we'll be having a Best Scene, maybe Best DVD."
That award was taken home by popular FTM performer James Darling.
Also noteworthy were the two Lifetime Achievement Awards, both of which were sponsored by British producer/director/performer Joanna Jett. Many of the other sponsored awards, however, also came with a cash prize, ranging from $250 to $1,000.
Here is a complete list of the 6th Annual Tranny Awards winners:
Best DVD: The Tranny Chaser
Best Scene: "Asian Nail Salon" starring Venus Lux and Foxxy
Shemale Yum Model of the Year: Sienna Grace
Best Alt. Model: Chelsea Marie
Best Scene Producer: Buddy Wood
Best Foreign Performer: Bruna Castro
Best FTM Performer: James Darling
Best Solo Site: Venus-Lux.com
Black Tgirls Model of the Year: Kandii Redd
Best DVD Director: Joey Silvera
Bob's Tgirls Model of the Year: Eva Cassini
Best Internet Personality: Wendy Summers
Best Photographer: Blackula
Voluptuous Diva: Michelle Austin
Lifetime Achievement Award: In Front of the Camera: Danny Evangelista
Lifetime Achievement Award: Behind the Camera: Bob Maverick
Best Non-TS Performer: Christian XXX
Shemale Strokers Model of the Year: (tie) Gina Hart and Penny Tyler
Best New Face: Kim Bella
Fan Choice Award: Khloe Hart
Best Solo Model: Sarina Valentina
Best Hardcore Model: Venus Lux
Altogether, the awards show lasted just over two hours, punctuated by an intermission that featured performance numbers by Jordan Jay and Hudsy Hawn, who took the stage dressed in a bright red floor-length gown with a slit up one leg—an homage to famous cartoon character Jessica Rabbit—and sure enough, Hawn performed the Peggy Lee song "Why Don't You Do Right," which had also been featured in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? ... while sitting atop a nearly-naked James Darling. Hawn came well-supplied with fruits and vegetables, at various points sliding cucumbers and carrots into Darling's mouth and performing faux fellatio on them, finally taking an overripe tomato and squashing it in her fist, letting its fluids drip over herself and Darling. It was a performance that nearly brought the house down—making it that much tougher for the act that followed: Jane Marie and Kenya Ray go-go dancing at opposite ends of the stage.
The second half of the show brought one of the better acceptance speeches, given by Michelle Austin upon winning the Voluptous Diva award.
"I've been in the industry three years and I've heard 'No' so many times," Austin revealed. "I've heard 'No' from so many producers. ... They told me I didn't have the look to be on film. ... I've heard 'No' so many times and I want every girl out there watching this tonight in this audience, never take 'No' for an answer—never. If they won't shoot you, I will ... I want every beautiful woman out there to know, it doesn't matter what your size is, how many tattoos you have, how tall or short you are, how big your dick is, because I don't have a big one, that people love you."
Of course, not all attendees were trans people, and AVN caught up with two prominent industry leaders who weren't: Brad Armstrong and Jessica Drake.
"I wanted to come last year, but I was out of town, but I finally made it here," Drake said. "I thought Jujubee did an amazing job as the hostess tonight, and it was really great to see everybody so well represented here. I think a lot more education outreach needs to be done with the trans community, and over the past couple of years, I've gotten to know some of the performers and I'm a really big fan, so I just thought it would be cool to come on out and show my support. Asa was supposed to be here with me tonight but she was shooting all day long, so I miss Asa a lot, but yeah, I'm definitely choosing my favorite trans performers."
So will she be releasing Jessica Drake's Guide to Transsexual Sex?
"We'll see what happens," was the actress/director's only response.
Armstrong appeared to have attended for similar reasons.
"I'm actually looking for some new talent tonight," he said. "There's some gorgeous women out here; the show is great. I think maybe AVN should have a little of that fruit fiesta there that went on, the fruit and vegetable show [with Hudsy Hawn and James Darling]; it should incorporate that. And a great time was had by all."
He also intimated, "Maybe I'll make a tranny movie of my own. Put a little of the Wicked love into the tranny talent pool and see what happens, see what comes out."
In any case, Steve Grooby was well satisfied with this year's show.
"The Tranny Awards, that was just started for a joke, and now we've got a nice event," he said, noting that the very first Tranny Awards were entirely online.
"Los Angeles is the hub for the transsexual community, adult community," he added. "And of course, the girls and all them coming down now from San Francisco, that's a new sort of thing; it's pretty awesome."
Pictured: Morgan Bailey interviews Joanna Jet at the 6th Annual Tranny Awards.