making fisticuffs along with an ongoing controversy stemming from the nomination of a "bareback" video in the specialty awards category, the 2000 GayVN Awards played to a capacity crowd of over 900 attendees at Universal City's Hilton.
Dubbed the Gay2K Awards, the show was held Friday night and was hosted by the frenetic-haired comedy writer/comedian Bruce Vilanch. Vilanch is probably best known to the straight world for his appearances on Hollywood Squares. The show didn't get off until 10:05 and for that, Vilanch took personal responsibility claiming he got there late because he had an accident on the way over with Halle Berry. Whether it was the funny lines issuing forth from Vilanch or merely his wild-man-as-scholar persona, many attendees were nominating him in the unofficial best M.C. category of any AVN awards show - mainstream or gay.
In fact, if you took a representative DNA sample from the mainstream attendees, you might have had enough to clone an entire audience for one of AVN's Las Vegas shows. The "AVN Orchestra" consisted of Mark Stone, Garry Miller, Lou Thomas and Dave Haddad who provided live music. And, observed in the crowd were Ron Jeremy, Sasha Gabor, Chloe, Kylie Ireland, Sharon Mitchell, Gloria Leonard, Tina Tyler, director Jim Enright and Video Team's Christian Mann. Keri Windsor was doing the on-the-spot kinterviews with camera back-up provuded by Jace Rocker.
Though it took forever to get a drink, the show went much faster, winding up a little after midnight. Big winners of the evening were Dream Team from Studio 2000 which was named the year's top Gay Video along with its director, Jerry Douglas, who was also named top director. Douglas also took Best Screenplay nod for Dream Team. Michael Zen won Best Director of a Bisexual video for Mass Appeal on the Men of Odyssey video line while Zen's Mass Appeal also won the Best Bisexual Video nod. Vivid Man's Moan took honors for Best Sex Comedy while Absolute: Arid from Falcon Studios won the Best All-Sex Video award.
Performer Spike who garnered 11 nominations overall, was picked not only as the Best Newcomer, he also took home the Gay Performer of the Year award as well. In the Best Actor category, Blake Harper won for Animus, All Worlds Video.
In other categories awarded throughout the evening, The Final Link from All Worlds Video won for Best Leather Video. Best Solo Performance went to Joe Landon for Joe's Big Adventure from Jaguar Productions.
Andrew Rosen won the Best Editing award for The Final Link from All Worlds Video. Thomas Lloyd took the Best Supporting Actor nod for his performance in Animus from All Worlds Video.
Todd Montgomery won in the Best Videography category for Absolute:Aqua from Falcon Studios. However, a tie occured in the Best Group Scene category - this between Betrayed from Falcon Studios and Thick as Thieves from Sarava Productions. The "Betrayed" scene featured performers Thom Barron, Sebastian Gronoff, Kevin Miles, Carlos Morales and Kevin Williams, while it was The Opening Orgy from Thick as Thieves that captured critics' attention.
Francois Girard received the Best Music nod for Wet Dreams from Sarava Productions. The Best Oral Scene went to Ass Lick Alley from All Worlds Video which featured Jason Branch, Blake Harper and Bruce Hill.
The Winner's Circle Awards included The O Boys: Parties, Porn & Politics from O Boys Productions which won the Best Alternative award. Best Amateur Video went to New Meat 11 from Allan Alan Productions. Sodom from Vivid Man took top honors for Best Art Direction. Latin Knockout from Brush Creek Media was named Best Ethnic-Themed Video.
Mass Appeal from Men of Odyssey won mass acclaim in the Best Overall Marketing Campaign category. Technical Ecstasy from Men of Odyssey took the award for Best Packaging. Best Specialty Release went to Hellrazer 3 from Talos Entertainment. Mistress Mona was named Best Make-up Artist. Mick Hicks took the nod for Best Still Photographer.
Best Renting Tape of the Year was 101 Men 3 & 4 from Bel Ami Studios.
In the Best Non-Sex Performance category, Preston Richie was named for his stint in Studio 2000's Dream Team. Lucky Lukas from Bel Ami Studios won in the Best Foreign Release category.
The Best Threesome Award went to All Worlds Video's Animus which featured Tanner Hayes, Zach Richards & Jack Simmons while the Best Sex Scene Award went to Technical Ecstasy from Men of Odyssey which featured, Sam Crockett & Chad Kennedy.
Scott Masters was presented with The Lifetime Achievement Award while this year's Hall of Fame inductees included Daddy Zeus, George Duroy, Johan Paulik and Lukas Ridgeston.
Performer Cole Tucker was also honored with a Special Achievement Award for Aids Causes while Aid for AIDS raised over $10,000 during the evening.
The 2000 GayVN Awards' Stage Manager Nick DiMartino has this to say.
DiMartino: "The show itself went really well. We started an hour and a half late but that was hotel problems and all that fun stuff. We cut ten minutes off last year's show which was really good. The opening act entertainment was incredible - the best I've seen at a gay award show in years.
"The act was called Remington's Men of Steel." We got them from VS Media. They came down from Canada and did a specially choreographed number just for our show. It was a takeoff and interpretative dance of the Alanis Morrisette song, Uninvited - about someone rising in the morning to be inspired to finish his painting - and we had a lot of flesh on the stage which was good for the audience. The backstage procedures went exceedingly well. Everything went smoothly. There were no snafus. Everybody showed up on time. We got the show running, we got the show going. The acceptance speeches were very nice and short. Everybody went up there, did their thing and left. We didn't have any ramblings going on and thank God we didn't have any politics on stage. There was no controversy on stage. And, from what I hear, everybody was happy with the judging. [There were over 40 judges from all over the country.]
"Once we got in there, it did took us a long time to set up on Friday. Which is one of the reasons why the show went on so late. That, and we had some hotel problems. The doors were supposed to open at 6: 30 and they actually opened at 6:45. The problem with that was, the hotel was carding at the front door and letting one person in at a time. When you have a thousand people coming in, that takes a long time. That was one of the reasons why dinner got started so late."
Martino was asked why this year's show went off in March as opposed to the December date of late year's show at the Bonaventure Hotel.
Martino: "Everybody on the gay side was complaining that a lot of people do most of their producing between October and December. For this year the eligibility period was 15 months, but from now on it's going to be January 1 to December 31 as the year of eligibility."
AVN Gay & Bi Video editor Jeremy Spencer who also served as awards chairman, along with Mickey Skee, addressed the "bareback" controversy and had this to say
Spencer: "I think Bruch Vilanch did a great job. I think the show itself ran smoothly. The band was great. The presenters did a great job. Obviously there were some delays in the beginning that need to be remedied the next time, but for the most part the actual show itself ran smoothly."
G. Ross: "Can you give me an idea what this controversy was all about?"
Spencer: "We nominated a video that had the title Bareback 2: Crime Pays [from Dick Wadd Video]. This company primarily does mail order tapes. In the letter that I sent out to companies for eligibility requirements, basically it said retail/mail order. It didn't say what to exclude. The company submitted the tapes. I sent them to the judges for perusal, so that when nomination time came, I had enough judges who supported the video. I think some people had hurt egos with the fact that some people didn't get nominated. I don't think the video would have had as much importance nor would it have gotten the attention it got had it not had the word 'bareback' in the title. In fact, there was another title that got nominated that had barebacking in it that nobody even mentioned.
"I think we made it very clear that Aid for Aids didn't dictate the nomination process nor did we interfere with what they were doing. A lot of people thought it was sort of hypocritical on their part to continue with the show. Ultimately they raised over $10,000 and we also put the barebacking ad in the program with the smoking penis. My whole thing is that AVN doesn't condone censorship, our job is to review.
"There were some companies that said they wanted the offending title removed. I said we couldn't do that. They said they were going to pull their tables, and they didn't. Ultimately, no one pulled their tables. Even people who said they weren't going to support the show, showed up. I don't think that it was as detrimental to the show as people would have liked to think. The controversy eventually turned out not even to be a controversy."
G. Rosss: "I saw Camryn Manheim there. Were there other celebrities? I also heard Bette Midler was supposed to be there."
Spencer: "Camryn is the only mainstream one that I saw. Because Bruce writes for Bette Midler and Whoopie Goldberg, he said he was going to extend the invitation to see if they could maybe show up. I figured they probably wouldn't. But the fact that Camryn showed up was really cool, and that she supported the event and supported the people at the event, really showed how classy an actress and person she is."
There were also other rumors of a shoving match that was supposed to have been reported in the L.A. Times.
Spencer: "I'm hearing this third person, too. From what I understand, the way it was set up in the beginning, because it was so crowded, and because everybody was forced to wait because the hotel wouldn't let people in until we gave the okay, it got to be a big drama. People were pushed up towards the front, and one of the guys was a smaller guy. He got bumped by the guy behind him and there was nowhere else to go, so he got bumped into maybe a cop or a security guard. Eventually it got into a shoving match. But I know that there was an altercation at the beginning that involved either fighting or pushing.
"Spike had the most nominations with 11 if you include sex scenes. He actually has been involved with the business, I think maybe a little over a year. He has a huge body of work. He's a consistent performer. He's got a big dick, and he's got like a Peter North cum shot. He does high-profile-stuff. He's always reliable and consistently good. You can pretty much put him in anything and he'll walk away with it. He had an incredible body of work this year and he's well deserved for Gay Performer and Newcomer of the Year."
G. Ross: "What was it about Dream Team that made it a winner?"
Spencer: "Dream Team is a very plot-heavy title. It's more like, I want to say it's almost like a Vivid Film. In gay videos you don't see a lot of story, but Jerry Douglas is big on story. What it is, it flip-flops back in time. It tales place in 1957 and 1962. It's about this basketball team that bonded in more ways than one and cause them to win a big game for their high school. Douglas got a lot of great performances out of people. It's very script-heavy. There was a lot of attention to detail, and you would get a lot of feel for characters. It was a very different script.