LAS VEGAS - Carmen Hart and Jenna Haze emerged victorious in the adult feature entertainer of the year categories on Wednesday night at the 11th annual Adult Nightclub and Exotic Dancer Awards.
Hart won the title of Overall Entertainer of the Year while Haze captured Adult Movie Entertainer of the Year as the best feature dancers, adult retailers and gentlemen's clubs of 2008 were honored at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Hart’s triumph was notable for more than one reason as she competed in the most prestigious dance category of the evening and was the only girl of the four finalists who was also an established adult film star. She overcame stiff competition in Kiera Riley, Schevelle and Jada Deville.
The final four contestants for Entertainer of the Year each performed lively solo shows throughout the ceremony for the 2,000-plus club executives and dancers in the venue. When co-hosts Jesse Jane and Ronnie the Limo Driver from the “Howard Stern Show” opened the final envelope, the winner’s card inside apparently was blank, adding to the drama. Finally, they revealed it was Hart and she raised her fists in the air and hopped up to the podium where she was presented with a bouquet of roses and the trophy.
“Thank you so, so much,” Hart said to the crowd, giving an immediate shout to her three agents. “Thank you to all my friends and fans and Serena Starr for my costume design tonight.”
Hart also thanked the club owners who have booked her and Wicked Pictures, the adult production studio with which she has been under exclusive contract since the beginning of her career.
“Thank you to Wicked for the best three years of my life,” she added. “…And now I wouldn’t be Carmen Hart if I didn’t get shit-faced after this.”
Meanwhile, Jenna Haze, accompanied by Jules Jordan at the show, said afterward, “Usually, I’m accepting awards for sucking cock. This is a new one.”
Haze, the AVN Best New Starlet in 2003, is certainly no stranger to acceptance speeches.
“This is my first dance award ever. I love feature dancing. It’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said when she took the stage in a sizzling purple dress. She thanked her dance agent Dave Michaels as well as her roadies before mentioning some of her favorite clubs including Al’s Diamond Cabaret, Crazy Horse San Francisco, Pink Pony Atlanta, Blush in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Fantasies in Baltimore, Md.
Haze edged out a high-profile and talented group of adult star nominees that included Gina Lynn, Courtney Cummz, Jessica Drake, Stormy Daniels and Katie Morgan.
Rising star Shay Lynn earned the Newcomer Entertainer of the Year Award and the popular Daisy Dukes took the stage to accept the Club Owners' Favorite Entertainer of the Year trophy.
The honor for the Overall Club of the Year went to The Lodge in Dallas, while Déjà vu was awarded with the Club Chain of the Year crown.
Shawn Doyle from the Hustler Club in San Francisco won the first ever General Manager of the Year Award. When Doyle stepped to the microphone he first thanked his wife Diana before expressing his gratitude to many other people that helped him along the way. In a classy move, he accepted the first ever GM honor on behalf of all the industry's hard-working GMs. He also gave special thanks to Deja Vu founder Harry Mohney, Jim St. John, Burch Management, ACE, Dennis DeGori, Dave Mannick, ED Publications founder Don Waitt and his mentor, Gary Marlin.
"And Larrry Kaplan has been guiding me since I was a kid on how to do this the right way," Doyle added.
Two gentlemen's club industry pioneers - Don "Weasel" DalPonte a member of the Association of Club Executives board of directors who opened the nation's first exotic dance school in 1985, and Déjà vu CEO Jim St. John - were inducted into the inaugural Adult Nightclub and Exotic Dancer Hall of Fame.
Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof calls DalPonte "a fighter," and rightly so. The owner of Weasel's Showclub in Eagle River, Wisc., overcame a bout with cancer a decade ago. Both Hall of Fame inductees received standing ovations as they made their way to the stage. St. John's acceptance speech was memorable in its wit and brevity as he referenced the pro football and baseball Hall of Fames headquarters.
"It's not Canton (Ohio). It's not Cooperstown (N.Y.). Then again, Babe Ruth's not in the titty bar Hall of Fame," St. John said as he walked away from the podium to rousing applause.
Three Storerotica Awards were announced on Wednesday night. The Oh Baby! Store in Portland, Ore., won Independent Adult Video Store of the Year; while Adam & Eve collected the hardware for Adult Retail Store Chain of the Year.
"We are extremely proud of this achievement," said Jason Hoke, general manager for Adam & Eve's franchise department. "To be recognized by our peers, and to be in the company of such successful stores as Hustler and Castle, is an honor in itself."
Hoke said that while Adam & Eve has been around for nearly 40 years, the store franchises have only been around for about five. Currently, they have 28 stores in nine states with signed agreements to license 70 more in the next couple years.
Forplay Clothing earned its second straight award for Dancewear Company of the Year and Al's Diamond Cabaret in Reading, Pa., won "Feature" Club of the Year.
Other 2008 winners included: The Men's Club in Raleigh, N.C. (Southeast Club of the Year); Penthouse Executive Club in New York (Northeast Club of the Year); Hustler Club in Washington Park, Ill. (Mideast Club of the Year); Skin Cabaret in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Southwest Club of the Year); Crazy Horse in San Francisco (Northwest Club of the Year); and Barely Legal in New Orleans (Central Club of the Year).
Several adult stars presented awards, including Wicked Girl Jessica Drake and Vivid Girls Nikki Jayne and Meggan Mallone. Justine Joli and Ron Jeremy also made appearances on stage. One lucky general manager in the crowd, Carly Rogne, won a ZZ Top-autographed Fender guitar in a random drawing. Rogne manages The Northern in Fargo, N.D.
The 2008 E.D. Awards Winners
Entertainer of the Year
Adult Movie Feature of the Year
Newcomer Feature of the Year
Club Owners’ Favorite Feature of the Year
Club of the Year/Northeast
Penthouse Executive Club, New York, NY
Club of the Year/Southeast
The Men’s Club, Raleigh, NC
Club of the Year/Mideast
Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, Washington Park, IL
Club of the Year/Central
Hustler’s Barely Legal, New Orleans, LA
Club of the Year/Northwest
The Crazy Horse, San Francisco, CA
Club of the Year/Southwest
Skin Cabaret, Scottsdale, AZ
“Feature” Club of the Year
Al’s Diamond Cabaret, Reading, PA
Overall Gentlemen’s Club of the Year
The Lodge, Dallas, TX
Club Chain of the Year
Deja Vu Showgirls
GM of the Year
Shawn Doyle, Hustler Club, San Francisco, CA
Industry Innovator of the Year
Bob Chiappardi, Concrete Marketing
Hall of Fame
Don “Weasel” DalPonte
Hall of Fame
Jim St. John
“Cool” New Product of the Year