LAS VEGAS—The 2011 AVN Awards will probably go down in adult movie history as "The Year of the Bat," but it was also "The Year of the Big Changes," with AVN for the first time combining awards in novelty and internet categories that had previously merited their own award shows, as well as adding several new awards (and Halls of Fame) for all genres.
This year's show was hosted by popular comedienne Lisa Lampanelli, who was aided by co-hosts Riley Steele and Tori Black, last year's Female Performer of the Year, who also had an exceptionally good year, personally winning four trophies—including an unprecedented repeat crowning with the aforementioned laurel—and her self-titled all-sexer Tori Black: Nymphomaniac scoring three awards.
This was also the best produced AVN Awards show ever, beginning with a compilation of scenes from the year's movies titled, "Some Crazy Things Have Happened in Porn This Year," and concluding with "Tron: Jeremy," the Break.com-produced mini-spoof of Disney's Tron: Legacy, starring porn's most enduring actor, who was quick with the double-entendres—even when confronting, through the magic of cinema, his own younger self.
The presentations were also interrupted four or five times by videos of each of the Female Performer of the Year nominees giving candid interviews about their lives and careers.
"My favorite position is doggie," nominee Monique Alexander said during her segment. "I like them to pull my hair, smack my ass and choke me. The only injury I've received on set is a very sore pussy ... I just like to do a good scene and enjoy myself."
"I grew up with a mother who was a stripper," revealed nominee Kimberly Kane, "and I was raised in the sex industry, in a way, so the vibe was very familiar to me, very comforting."
Lampanelli scored some zingers right off the (pardon the expression) bat.
"All you hot guys here tonight!" she exclaimed. "Oh my God, if I can't get raped by the end of this show, I want my money back!"
Her monologue was hilarious throughout, although she made one slip early on by contending that "there's no porn with Asian men," which quickly drew a response from the crowd, who shouted in unison, "Keni Styles! Keni Styles!"
"I'm sorry!" she apologized. "I did see a gay Japanese porn once. You know what that means? They green tea-bag each other. They'll toss your salad but they have to take off their shoes first. They'll gobble your knob, but they'll take about a hundred pictures while they're doing it."
Lampanelli also ran down the list of porn films she'd done in the '80s: Full Metal Jackoff, ET: The Extra Testicle, and her favorite, When Harry Met Sally and Fucked Her in the Ass.
Noting that she'd just gotten married, she told the crowd that "on the plane here this week, I actually gave my guy a hummer under an airplane blanket. Sure, the lady sitting between us was a little put off, but whatever, you cock-blocking cunt!"
Lampanelli then introduced her co-hosts, and once at the microphone, Tori said, "We're happy to host the 28th annual AVN show—28 years!"
Then, turning to her partner, she asked, "Riley, how old would that make you when the show began?"
"Same as you: Not born yet," Riley retorted.
The first presenters, for Best Oral Sex Scene (which Tori won for Stripper Diaries) and Best High-End All-Sex Release, were Joanna Angel, Lupe Fuentes and Tommy Gunn, and when it came time to present the latter award, Joanna asked Lupe to explain what it meant.
"This is really, really high; way higher than me," she began. "And it means a lot of fucking—it's all sex, baby—and then we have the big release."
"Yes, that's exactly right," Tommy agreed.
The first of the new awards was for Best 3D Release, and its presentation was accompanied by a short 3D video produced by Jay Lalls of Funky Monkey Video giving the history of 3D stretching all the way back to the 1800s, with Kayden Kross and Ron Jeremy demonstrating antique 3D cameras and viewers, plus a clip from the first widely-distributed sexy 3D movie, The Stewardesses. When the award was presented, it became Axel Braun's first accolade of the evening, for his masterful This Ain't Avatar XXX 3D.
"This started out as a joke," Braun said as he accepted the award, "and then became a fucking nightmare, so before you shoot in 3D, think about it," he advised.
Sometimes an award is more than a trophy, as Evan Stone soon found out: Internet fulfillment company PussyCash had ponied up iPads and iPhones for the Male and Female Performers of the Year.
Certainly, one of the hits of the early part of the show was the presentation of this year's Reuben Sturman Award to Evil Angel owner John Stagliano by three of his attorneys, Paul Cambria, H. Louis Sirkin and Allan Gelbard.
Cambria had already talked about the case at length during the previous day's legal seminar, but here he focused on the fight for free speech itself.
"The Reuben Sturman Award is a very special award," he stated. "Reuben Sturman was a very special individual. He didn't simply hide behind the First Amendment, he defended it for all of us who have been fortunate enough to be part of this business."
Cambria listed other adult entrepreneurs who've had their own court battles over free sexual speech: Al Goldstein and Larry Flynt.
"Larry has the distinction of having been the only litigant to have personally told the Supreme Court to go fuck itself," Cambria noted.
Before Stagliano took the stage, a beautifully-produced short video was played of The Buttman himself standing outside the courthouse in Washington, D.C., where he had been prosecuted, and talking about the inquisition he'd faced and the reasons he had (has!) for making adult movies.
"Right now, Max Hardcore sits in prison for making a movie," Stagliano reminded the audience, "and he's not being protected by the First Amendment. The whole point of the First Amendment is to protect people who do things that other people don't like."
"What's important is that we be proud of what we do," he continued, thanking his attorneys, his wife Karen (who was six months pregnant but still attended every day of the trial), and directors Joey Silvera and Jules Jordan, who also attended.
Not only Tori, but co-host Riley got her moment in the sun, as well, as she took the honors for Crossover Star of the Year for her work in Piranha 3D.
Before presenting the next awards, AVN founder and publisher Paul Fishbein gave a shout-out to ace makeup artist Lee Garland, who couldn't attend the show this year due to a grave illness, and lauded show sponsor ContentX as "a great product" that "identifies people who are stealing your content and turns these people into paying customers."
It was Fishbein's honor to present the award for Best Renting & Selling Title of the Year to Axel Braun's Batman XXX: A Porn Parody—the first of seven awards that movie or its stars would receive, including Best Parody—Comedy, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Overall Marketing Campaign—Individual Project and Best DVD Menus, as well as Best Supporting Actor and Actress wins for Evan Stone and Lexi Belle.
"I had a great idea and everybody thought I was crazy," Braun said from the stage. "Well, Steven Hirsch didn't think I was crazy, and that's how Batman XXX came along."
He also thanked Dale DaBone (who, as the star of Braun's latest project, appeared throughout the show in his Elvis impersonator's costume and spoke always in "Elvis-speak") for "an electrifying performance," and Tori for being "so fucking hot."
Next, Gracie Glam took the trophy for this year's Best New Starlet—which of course was presented to her by last year's winner, Kagney Linn Karter.
"This is, like, a big huge honor, especially since it's my first full year in the industry," Gracie said. "Thank you all the major companies, all the people that have supported me."
Famed director Brad Armstrong took Best Director—Feature honors once again for his lavish "biker wars" tale Speed—the first of three awards that movie would take home—and on stage, he profusely thanked, "my cast, my crew and everybody who worked so hard on this movie—a lot of long nights; Steve Orenstein from Wicked who had such faith in myself, the cast and the crew, and for giving me the budgets to make the movies that we do; my team Mark Nicholson, Francois Clousot, my good friend Jake Jacobs, and of course all the Vivid(!) girls that...," he trailed off as the audience broke out laughing at the gaffe. However, he did manage to mention the full slate of Wicked contract stars, all of whom appeared in the feature.
This year's Best Actress competition resulted in a tie, splitting the honor between Andy San Dimas' star turn in This Ain't Glee XXX and India Summer's pseudo-documentarian portrayal in An Open Invitation: A Real Swinger's Party in San Francisco.
Andy bounced out on the stage to say, "I'm so happy to be up here tonight, and want to thank my fucking great agent, Mark Spiegler," while India gave a shout-out to "my husband, because I wouldn't be here without him, and to [directors] Andrew and Ilana [Rothman]."
In yet another first, a handful of fan-voted AVN Awards were presented, and the winners were clearly favorites of this audience as well.
"Hi!!!" exclaimed Alektra Blue in accepting her trophy for Best Body. "I just want to thank all my fans, and AVN for actually having a fan vote ... I love you and I love my fans!"
The parody awards were next, presented by Andy San Dimas, Nyomi Banxxx and "for his first time ever at the AVN Awards show, Elvis Presley!" (AKA Dale DaBone.)
As previously mentioned, Batman XXX took home the comedy parody honors, but Best Parody—Drama went to the other DC Comics character send-up, BatfXXX: Dark Night, the first of six awards the movie would take home. Those included Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography/Videography, Best Makeup, Best Online Marketing Campaign—Individual Project and Best Special Effects.
"Don't you recognize The Joker when you see him?" asked Bluebird Films CEO Paul Chaplin, referring to his on-screen portrayal.
"With a production like this, there's a lot of people to thank. We start with NICHOLAS STEELE," he shouted, referring to the movie's director, "and all of my co-performers, most of whom have been up here already."
Dale DaBone had the Batman role in the feature, but when Nyomi asked, satirically, "Dale DaBone? Who the fuck is Dale DaBone?", the actor stepped out of his Elvis character to reply, "Well, judging by that last Best Actor category, I guess nobody knows who the fuck I am."
When it came Tori's turn to accept her trophy for Female Performer of the Year, she seemed dutifully impressed.
"My God! What the hell?" she exclaimed. "This is absolutely amazing! My competition was very stiff this year. You guys are all amazing performers, and I loved fucking every one of you this year, so this is for all of us hot bitches, OK?"
Before the final on-stage award was presented, Tori and Riley decided to play a little word association game with Lisa. They'd say a word and she would respond with the first thing that came into her mind. Some of the pairings included "Mel Gibson" in response to "big dick"; "Mom—I'm kidding! Dad" in response to "anal"; and "Glenn Beck" in response to "enormous cunt"—but she saved special venom for, "Asshole? That's easy: Jesse James. He fucked around on America's sweetheart with a Nazi!"
Stretching out the suspense surrounding the Best Feature winner, Lisa next brought out the evening's musical performer, Speaker Junkies, who, after solving some technical difficulties, launched into a rousing rendition of their original song, "Drop the Beat." It was at this point that all of the actresses in the audience should have come on stage to dance with the band, but due to an apparent miscommunication, only one actress took the stage. (Well, the show always needs at least one good screw-up...)
A short video feature followed, listing all of the adult performers and personalities who had died in 2010, including actress Jenny Joyce, actor Shawn Ricks, director Phashon, and concluding with the biggest stars: Juliet "Aunt Peg" Anderson, Bob Guccione, Jamie Gillis, and the most recent, John Leslie, who was shown performing on-stage with his jazz band during an early AVN Awards show.
The final award to be presented was, of course, Best Feature, and in accepting the award for Speed, Brad Armstrong brought just about all of the adult performers and crew involved in the production on stage with him.
Shooting Speed, he said, was "definitely a big event, and needed everybody on point." He specifically thanked Keni Styles, "the only Asian dude in porn," and Derrick Pierce for arranging for many members of L.A.'s motorcycle clubs to appear in the movie—and, after having been reminded by Alektra, "all the Wicked girls," to which Kirsten Price added, "Wicked as in wicked!"
Finally, all of the "Winners Only" winners were splashed across the Pearl Theater's big video screens—a list that has grown considerably from previous years.
It was just past 11:30 when the audience filed out of the theater, off to one of the four after-parties that would take place in the Palms' nightclubs—but that's another story for another day. Still, it's safe to say that, as far as the awards show went, a very good time was had by all.