CHATSWORTH, Calif.—AVN Media Network has announced the 2011 class of inductees into the AVN Awards Hall of Fame – Founders Branch.
For the first time, individuals from the pleasure products segment of the industry will be recognized alongside inductees from the movie and internet sectors.
Recognized this year for their contributions to the pleasure products area are Joani Blank of Good Vibrations, Ron Braverman of Doc Johnson, Susan Colvin of California Exotic Novelties, and Martin Tucker of Topco Sales.
There are three inductees in this year’s internet category: Mitch Farber of Netbilling, Colin Rowntree of Wasteland.com, and Tim Valenti of NakedSword.
Russell Hampshire, co-founder of VCA Pictures, and Steve Orenstein, founder and president of Wicked Pictures, represent the Video Industry Founders’ branch.
“It’s very exciting that the novelty sector of the business is being recognized as an important faction of the overall adult business,” said Braverman, who took over novelty manufacturing company Doc Johnson from Reuben Sturman. “And this is a wonderful group of people to be associated with: Joani opened one of the first stores that was female-friendly; Marty was always at the advent of a lot of the new technology when it came to manufacturing; and Susan has been very instrumental in this business and its growth.”
Colvin is recognized as the first woman to found and run a novelty manufacturing company, and she has played a major role in developing products for women that were designed by women. Tucker helped revolutionize the industry when he founded Topco Sales, using his academic knowledge in aerospace technology and metallurgical engineering in the manufacturing process.
“I’m very honored to be chosen as an inductee into the AVN Hall of Fame,” Tucker said. “Since much of my business is the manufacturing of private-label goods, many people-especially those in the adult novelty industry-aren't always aware of my work. Having lived in China for about 8½ years while manufacturing exclusively for Topco Sales, and having launched in February my own factory, MYWORLD, totally independent of Topco Sales, I'm slightly removed from much of the action in the U.S. I was therefore very surprised when I was asked to be an inductee. I'm deeply appreciative of this recognition. From the bottom of my heart, I say thank you AVN for choosing me to be part of this elite group of honorees."
“I think it’s fabulous that AVN is recognizing the impact the pleasure products industry has had on the adult industry as a whole,” said Colvin. “I am truly delighted and honored to receive this recognition.”
Blank is the founder of Good Vibrations, a chain of retail stores that are sex-positive, and where the staff is trained to provide customers with good, accurate information on products as well as sexuality.
“I am honored and delighted at being inducted into the Internet Founders Branch of the AVN Hall of Fame,” said Rowntree, whose Wasteland.com site is widely considered the premier fetish site on the internet. “Since starting Wasteland.com in 1994, I've seen the adult entertainment industry develop and change dramatically and have truly enjoyed being an active part in its metamorphosis, being a mentor to many coming into the industry over the years, and striving to provide a positive example of artistic and ethical practices. My gracious thanks to AVN for this wonderful recognition.”
Valenti, the president and CEO of NakedSword, channeled his love of movies and hot men into his site, which arguably has the largest library of gay content available on the internet.
Farber initially pursued a career in engineering, but his interest in computer technology and the internet led him to create Netbilling, which provides third-party billing processing for internet-based companies in the adult industry.
“I was surprised and honored to be recognized for our contributions to the industry,” Farber said. “Without my partner and incredible staff, nothing that we have achieved would have been possible. Thank you to AVN from myself and the entire Netbilling organization.”
On the video side, Steve Orenstein was surprised at his induction. “The first reaction after hearing you're going into the hall of fame is, ‘Wow I'm the old guy now?’” Orenstein said. “Seriously, though, I have been in the adult business for 30 years, the last 17 of which have been at the helm of Wicked Pictures. It is an honor to be inducted and I greatly appreciate it. I hope that through the efforts at Wicked we have added something positive to the industry.”
He established Wicked Pictures on March 1, 1993, after developing an interest in the creative aspects of film production while still a partner in his previous adult company, X-Citement Video.
Russ Hampshire founded VCA Pictures, which was one of the first studios to present bigger adult films for mass consumption. Hampshire also helped foster the careers of several adult entertainment industry luminaries, including the Dark Brothers, John Leslie, Jim Holliday, Michael Ninn, Eon McKai and Antonio Passolini. He is also a defender of free speech and a staunch supporter of the Free Speech Coalition. Hampshire sold the studio to LFP in 2003.
This year’s honorees for the AVN Awards Hall of Fame – Founders Branch will be recognized during the ceremony, set for Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, at the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. For more information, visit AVNAwards.com.