HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Sunday night saw the inauguration of the Transgender Erotica Awards, the seventh incarnation of the award show formerly known as "The Tranny Awards," renamed in part because, as director/performer Michelle Austin noted from the stage at the show's new venue, the Avalon Nightclub on Vine Street, "You know, since 2014, we're told 'tranny' is not allowed to be used."
From the murmurs in the audience, though, it was clear that not everyone in attendance was as put off about the term, and even Austin herself slipped up later, addressing James Darling as "the next pioneer of tranny porn," then quickly correcting herself: "Oops, I'm sorry; I said 'tranny.' Forgive me, forgive me."
But politics was the last thing on the minds of most of the evening's attendees, who were only too happy when the show began—at about 10:15 p.m., after a nearly three-hour "red carpet" walk that featured not one but two interviewers: Morgan Bailey for Grooby.com and Hudsy Hawn (the name apparently a play on Bruce Willis' title character in Hudson Hawk) for Stockroom.com.
Before introducing the evening's returning hostess, RuPaul's Drag Race runner-up Jujubee, Austin noted some special appearances for the event, including Buck Angel, who was attending the show "for the first time in seven years," and Yasmin Lee, who scored a role in the Todd Phillips comedy The Hangover II, where, according to Austin, "she let everybody see her cock hang out."
But before any awards were presented, the audience was treated to a song-and-dance number by 2012 winner Sasha Colby and two male dancers who performed Paula Abdul's hit "Cold Hearted."
Once hostess Jujubee took the podium, things got under way. Givig out the first award, Best DVD, presenters Ernie and Tempest felt the need to set the evening's mood by waxing poetic.
"Those of you that don't will simply assume that I've been sampling an archangel's Kool-aid, but listen here, wolf child, poetry lives underneath the skin of us all, just like it's trapped in an aerosol can," Tempest intoned. "Not that long ago, the TEA awards lived on under a different name, but like the bleached white bones of a chemical epiphany, it now lives under a new name. There's a new story waiting to be written, a new promise to be fulfilled, and new journey to be started, and all of you beautiful, beautiful young scribes, waiting with pen in hand to make your mark on the world, be beautiful, be original, be adventurous, for we who have lain with the king of the wolves know that nothing is impossible."
The award, which was won by Grooby Productions' Shemale Secret Service, was accepted by Buddy Wood, who later also won Best DVD Director, and who noted that he'd shot the film nearly two years earlier, and that it featured performer Jane Marie's very first on-camera coupling.
While accepting the latter award, Wood offered to the assemblage a heart-felt "Thank you, God bless America and God bless transsexual porn."
At this point, Jujubee expressed her delight at being asked once again to host the show, saying, "Thank you so much for allowing a man to host this. I really enjoy doing this and I thank you so much for allowing me to do this because I understand this is a sensitive subject and that's why we're calling it the TEA awards this year. Words change; history's one of those things where we come together and we try to make everybody happy. We are family, bro. Thank you so much for having me."
The following award, for Best Scene, went to the foursome in All TGirls Volume 1, featuring Michelle Firestone, Nina Lawless, Chelsea Marie and Miranda Meadows, and directed by TG photographer Radius Dark, who also managed to snag the Best Photographer award later in the show.
In accepting the Best Photographer award, Dark wanted to give credit to all who helped him with his career, including "Steven Grooby for all that criticism; Blackula for showing me that flash photography doesn't actually suck; Buddy Wood, who I copied; and probably Brittany and definitely Chelsea Marie, who I've shot with so many times and helped me improve over the last year or so."
On the other hand, it was fellow photog Blackula who snapped up the Best Scene Producer award, and the only one to pay tribute from the stage to the show's creators, saying, "[I]t keeps getting better and better and better, and if you haven't noticed, so much work has gone into this, and I appreciate that."
The next award was a new one, Ms. Unique, which was intended to take the place of two previously given categories, Best Alternative Model and Voluptuous Diva, and was presented by Nikki Montero, who, Jujubee noted, "flew in from Chile to sponsor this award." It was won by Nina Lawless, who thanked Radius Dark and Transfiniti Productions for all their help during the past year.
This year's awards also spotlighted the rising popularity and presence of female-to-male (FTM) transsexuals, presenting James Darling with its Best FTM Performer award, which was being given out for just the third time.
"Wow, I'm really shocked," Darling said as he accepted the statuette—and the $300 check that went with it. "Thank you for so many reasons. This really belongs to a lot of other people besides me but I really do appreciate it and I love that the TEA awards are embracing FTM porn and like this genre is growing so much, and I really urge you guys to check it out; there's a lot of really great companies out there."
Another new award was the Transcendence Award, which according to its sponsor, cosmetic surgeon Dr. Alexander Sinclair, "is given to a performer whose accomplishments serve as an ambassador to the industry, presenting a positive attitude and beauty and harmony."
"It's really an honor to be an advocate for the community, and for all of you," responded winner Tori Mayes.
"Andy Warhol once said, 'Voyeurism is a director's job description; it's an artist's tool'," said Jujubee in introducing the presenters for the Best DVD Director award which, as previously noted, went to Buddy Wood.
The last award before intermission was the Bob's Tgirl Model of the Year award, presented by Bob himself, with a bit of help from last year's winner, Eva Cassini.
"Bob is a fixture in the TS adult industry, and renowned for his excellent website, and has worked with practically all of you out there, right?" asked Jujubee in introducing the entrepreneur. "His website, Bob's Tgirls, is one of the longest-running TS websites online"—and its winner, Jessy Dubai, was in fine form as she took the stage to accept it.
"Bob, did you give me this one because I gave you that blowjob that night the first time we had a scene?" Dubai joked. "I knew I did that good a job. Holy shit! Thank you, Bob, for picking me."
At that point, Dubai pulled Bob's head between her ample tits, saying, "I know his favorite place in my chest. Let me tell you something really, really, really, really close, just between you and me: Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for believing in my talent, and thanks to all the fans of Bob's T, yes, yes, thank you for all the fans and thank you for choosing me. I want to dedicate this award, not to me, because obviously, I don't do this for me, I do this for everyone that follows me, everyone that supports me and everyone that sees me as an inspiration. I tilt my hat to you because you are my inspiration to me, Yasmin Lee, Foxxy, Venus Lux, you guys are my inspiration. Thank you very much, not for just being my friends but for being my transsexual sisters. Thank you very much. And Bob, for teaching me what I know how to do best. By the way... fuck yes!"
It didn't hurt that Dubai curtseyed several times during her acceptance speech.
The intermission which followed featured Hudsy Hawn, who sang a sultry version of Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On"—and she did, even while exposing her whipped cream-covered breasts.
The second half of the award show proceeded somewhat more quickly than the first, with Jamie French's website TSJamieFrench.com winning for Best Solo Website.
"Wow, this is amazing. As I say, out of all the awards I've won in my life ... this is the first," French joked. "I guess, like so many girls here, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank, first and foremost, Steven Grooby of Grooby Productions. Eight years ago, that little limey gave me my shot, got my foot in the door and I really appreciate it. As well, I'd like to thank all the girls I've had an opportunity to work with; thank you for your talent and your time, and of course I've got to thank Eva Cassini, who's been my girlfriend for three years now. She's been indispensable for helping me create the kind of content I'm able to create. Thanks to all the fans, and I really appreciate it."
Two Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented this year, the first by retired star Gia Darling and Third World Media's (now TWM's) Diego Passos to TWM's most prolific director Ed Hunter, and the second to a starlet whom Jujubee described as "one of the sweetest people I've ever met," and who presenters Christian XXX and Buddy Wood called "someone really special" and "one of the greatest performers that's ever been," TS Foxxy.
"I wish we did this earlier when I had more courage," Foxxy said while waving to the crowd, "but I just want to thank the TEA awards and Grooby for making this possible tonight. I want to thank everybody that I've ever worked with in the past ... all the beautiful new girls that I get to work with, and it has been a long time. I just want to thank the fans, because without them, I would not be the only one to receive this award as still one of the top 10 performers in the industry, and that alone makes me happy, because I don't know when to give up. I just want to keep going; I have fun with it. I'm working with all these beautiful new performers, and it makes me happy."
When it came time to present the Shemale Yum Model of the Year, presenter Morgan Bailey had a surprise: her co-presenter was her husband, Diego.
"Yes, honey, I scored a Frenchman, that's right," Bailey boasted, while Diego called out, "Bonjour, Los Angeles. They say that French is the language of love, and I'm going to say that transgender is the language of love universal—universal love, I should say."
"Ohmigod, I'm so drunk!" exclaimed award winner Kylie Maria. "I am so nervous! I've met so many girls who are such inspirations to me. I want to thank Steven [Grooby] who has given me this chance."
Another new award was Best FTM Scene, presented by a very proud Buck Angel, who brought performer Trixxy Von Tease up with him, but made her remain on her knees for most of the presentation.
"Best FTM Scene—how fucking cool is that, you guys?" Angel asked rhetorically. "I remember when I started—I'm gonna sound old right now; I'm 52 fucking years old—there were no motherfuckin' F-to-M guys anywhere! And now, look, there's a whole goddamn table and more! It's amazing!"
The winner was a scene from Delia Delions' website titled "They Handyman," and both participants had a few words to say about their win.
"I just want to say what an honor it is to be up here for Best FTM Scene," Delions said. "Thank you, Trixxy, who shot the whole scene for us; your fingerprints are all over it. It was a real privilege to work with Chance, my handyman."
"I want to thank Delia and Trixxy and fuckin' James Darling and Buck Angel because they paved the way for wherever I am," added her partner, Chance Armstrong, "and that's important."
Shortly thereafter, Kelly Klaymour got the first of her two wins for the evening: Shemale Strokers Model of the Year, presented by director/producer Sammy Mancini, accompanied by two previous winners, 2013's Tyra Scott and 2014's Gina Hart.
"This is my 13th year shooting Shemale Strokers and Black Tranny Whackers," Mancini noted, "and this year is shaping up to be the best yet."
"Thank you, Sammy, for making me look so great on film," responded Klaymour, who later also won the Best New Face award. "These innovative ways that he has of filming ... are awesome. Thanks to the fans for supporting me."
Another popular award was the Fan Choice award, and that went to beautiful blonde Aubrey Kate, who blushingly thanked "fellow entertainers and my friends and family and thank you to everybody."
The evening's final award was also one of its most prestigious—Best Hardcore Performer—and three of the industry's most high-profile performers were there to present it, and the $1,000 check that goes with it: Morgan Bailey, Tyra Scott and Venus Lux. And few were surprised by its winner, Jessy Dubai, who took her time getting to the stage, posing for lots of photos along the way, and even interrupting her acceptance speech a couple of times to pose for even more.
"Honey, you know those pictures go to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and God knows what. I need to look good, so you come here," she stated, motioning to photographers to capture her on-stage. "You guys know social media means everything. ... You know, I had the perfect speech for this award but I gave it for the last one, but first of all, I want to say, Venus, I tilt my hat to you because other than being my friend, you have been a teacher and an inspiration to me, as well as Foxxy, Buck Angel, Yasmin Lee, Mia Isabella—all of the girls that I have worked with, girls, from the bottom—and not just the bottom but all of my heart, I kiss the floor where you step because thanks to you, before I was who I am, I researched all of you and I took a little piece of all of you and I make that a hurricane, so I can take a little bit of you and I can take a little bit of me and show it to all the fans, and for that, girls, thank you so much for giving me inspiration."
With that, the 7th annual Transgender Erotica Awards came to an end—but not the festivities, as everyone was invited to attend an "after-party" Monday evening at Bardot, the club right next door to the Avalon.
A full list of the 2015 Transgender Erotica Award winners is as follows:
Best DVD (sponsored by Gamelink):
Shemale Secret Service (Grooby Productions/TWM)
Best Scene (sponsored by Tgirl Nights):
All TGirls Vol. 1, with Michelle Firestone, Nina Lawless, Chelsea Marie, and Miranda Meadows, directed by Radius Dark
Black Tgirls Model of the Year (sponsored by Black-Tgirls.com):
Best Scene Producer (sponsored by FTMFucker.com):
Ms. Unique (sponsored by Stockroom.com):
Best FTM Performer (sponsored by Trans Men Adventures):
Transcendence Award (sponsored by Dr. Alexander Sinclair):
Best Non-U.S. Performer (sponsored by TWM):
Best DVD Director (sponsored by PicoBong):
Bob's Tgirl Model of the Year (sponsored by BobsTgirls.com):
Best Solo Website (sponsored by Lord Morpheous):
Lifetime Achievement Awards (sponsored by Grooby Productions):
Best Internet Personality (sponsored by TROUBLEfilms and Pure Play Media):
Shemale Yum Model of the Year (sponsored by ShemaleYum.com):
Best Photographer (sponsored by Transformation magazine):
Best FTM Scene (sponsored by Buck Angel):
"The Handyman," with Chance Armstrong and Delia Delions
Best Non-TS Performer (sponsored by TWM):
Shemale Strokers Model of the Year (sponsored by ShemaleStrokers.com):
Fan Choice (sponsored by FameDollars.com):
Best New Face (sponsored by Shemale.com):
Best Solo Performer (sponsored by Eros.com):
Best Hardcore Performer (sponsored by ICM Registry/.XXX):
Pictured: Morgan Bailey and James Darling at the Transgender Erotica Awards.