FSC Celebrates Annual Awards Bash

Joanne Cachapero
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — A host of adult industry luminaries gathered last night for the Free Speech Coalition’s annual Bash event gala, at the Globe Theater in the Universal City Walk complex.

The evening’s theme was politically-motivated, with characters dressed as candidates Barrack Obama and John McCain there to greet attendees on the red carpet. Representatives of the Los Angeles chapter of the nonprofit Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence also added to the festivities, decked out in full regalia.

Surrounded by an impressive array of sports memorabilia, fine art works and high fashion items that were available for the gala’s fundraising auction, tables sponsored by some of the industry’s largest companies and organizations were decorated in red, white and blue, while the starlit backdrop of the stage sparkled.

The onstage program was emceed by Channel 1 Releasing founder and legendary adult director Chi Chi LaRue, completely dressed in patriotic drag. Her raunchy, raucous humor warmed the audience up for the first speech of the evening, given by Aaron Bloom, son of California Exotic’s Marketing Director and founding member of the FSC Al Bloom, who made an impassioned plea in support of same-sex marriage and urged attendees to actively promote grassroots efforts by Equality California and its No on Proposition 8 agenda, in regard to the upcoming election and the challenge presented to California’s same-sex marriage ruling.

Bloom reminded attendees that current polls show the campaign against same-sex marriage is succeeding and, without rapid action, the legislation legalizing same-sex marriage may be overturned.

Then, the evening moved on to dinner, catered by Los Angeles restaurant icon Wolfgang Puck, and a lively auction where the wife and daughter of longtime FSC supporter and VGR President Eddie Wedelstedt modeled beautiful fur wraps and coats. Other offered items included an original Marilyn print by Andy Warhol, as well as a cape worn and autographed by ‘70s daredevil Evel Knievel.

The FSC Awards also were presented at last night’s event, honoring four industry leaders for their contributions.

Transworld News president Rondee Kamins was awarded the FSC Woman of the Year award, which was presented by California Exotics founder Susan Colvin. Kamins spoke to the audience about the current economic climate and difficulties for retailers in every sector, and also urged political activism and continued support for the adult industry’s legal struggles going forward.

"Together we stand, divided we fall," Kamins reminded the audience.

Toronto-based Sureflix Digital Distribution, parent company of Maleflixxx video-on-demand network and gay industry innovator, was awarded Business of the Year by the FSC. Marina Pacific’s Nick Boyias introduced Sureflix President Eric Johnson, who joked with the crowd about the political differences between Canada and the U.S., and wished U.S. voters luck in the upcoming presidential election. Johnson also welcomed industry members to visit Toronto and Sureflixx headquarters there.

FSC Man of the Year was presented to AEBN’s Scott Coffman, who was introduced by NakedSword founder and FSC board member Tim Valenti as an “innovator” who had contributed forward-thinking vision to an adult industry currently transitioning to new media technologies.

The FSC Legacy Award was presented by Wedelstedt, who spoke to the audience frankly about the struggles and legal battles fought by founding members of the adult industry, including himself and a list of luminaries, before giving the award to longtime friend and associate Harry Mohney, owner of Déjà Vu Showgirls gentleman’s clubs and founding sponsor of the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas.

Mohney addressed the crowd with a humor and as an industry veteran, including anecdotes of having done jail time with various business associates. He cautioned the younger members of the audience that without diligent legal action on behalf of the industry, that a changing political climate could result in future legal battles and potential incarceration for them, despite the fact that most of them had never experienced legal persecution that was common in the early days of the industry.

Mohney went further, to put his monetary support behind his convictions and pledged to match fundraising attempts to the tune of $50,000, if the event's donations exceeded $50,000.

Each award winner was given a standing ovation by the audience of more than 200 attendees and kudos were heaped on FSC Executive director Diane Duke for her efforts with the fundraiser and ongoing work with the organization.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the adult industry to come together and celebrate our industry and each other,” Duke told XBIZ afterward.

Also at last night’s gala: Hustler founder Larry Flynt and wife Liz, Hustler President Michael Klein, Titan Media founder Bruce Cam, Cybersocket’s Morgan Sommers, Channel 1 Releasing’s Rob Novinger, Topco Sales Scott Tucker and Lynn Swanson, Wicked Pictures’ Steven Orenstein and Joy King, Holiday Products Moe Levy, producer Max Hardcore, XBIZ President Alec Helmy and Associate Publisher Kristen Kaye, AVN’s Darren Roberts and Editor-in Chief Dan Miller, GAPA’s Caryn Goldberg, director Chad Donovan, writers JC Adams and Peter Warren, producer Gavin Lowe, attorney Michael Fattarosi, performers Vanessa Blue, Joanna Angel, Lexxi Tyler and James Deen, director/performer Dave Cummings, Adultcon’s Renaud West, Sex.com’s Tom Hymes, adult star Nina Hartley and director Ernest Green, Erotic Heritage Museum’s Dr. Laura Henkel, Sportsheets Julie Stewart, and DHD Media’s Denise Senter, among others.

Event sponsors included Hotmovies.com, Déjà Vu Showgirls, Eddie’s Kids, XBIZ, AVN and Sportsheets.

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