Overture: The 10th Annual Cybersocket Awards

Hard drives and Hard-ons took center stage on Monday evening, February 8, when Eleven Nightclub in West Hollywood (http://eleven.la/) was the site of the tenth annual “Cybersocket Awards”. The only awards of to specifically recognize the most outstanding GLBT presences on the net, they’re voted on by the readers of Cybersocket magazine. Each year, websites are awarded for their achievements in both “Surfers Choice” categories and “Industry Choice” categories.

So why should I start my blog–one supposedly about films and theater–with news of an awards show centering around gay–and more often that not–gay erotic web sites? Because another very important purpose for my setting up this blog was to explore the affect the internet has on entertainment and the media in general. Arguable more than any other, the ‘adult’ industry has made an especially effective use of the internet right from the start. In fact, Cybersocket’s Publisher and the show’s Producer, Morgan Sommer is a bona-fide Pioneer in his own right. Recognizing early on the interactive potential of the net–particularly when it came to that all-important subject of SEX, he effectively managed to create a publication serving his readers interests in regards to both website content and the latest technologies that bring it to them. So I’d say an awards show as unique and ground breaking as this is a great subject to kick off my new blog with.

Featured categories here include “Best V.O.D.” (Video on demand)–a service practically unimaginable less than a decade ago, but now just as important as the DVD market to any entertainment company dealing in the adult genre. There’s even an award given to “Best Novelty Site” (–if you have to ask what kind of ‘novelties’ this refers to, you’re too young to be reading this!)

Eleven Nightclub is fast becoming known for it’s mega-hot bartenders and it’s hip, stylish crowd, and both were in great evidence that night. Early arrivals could be found out on the patio being interviewed by broadband broadcaster’s Tim and Roma from “The Tim & Roma Show” (www.timandroma.com). These two alone, are probably the most awesome example of how to effectively integrate more conventional media formats like radio with the internet.

Inside, the actual stage where the awards were handed out was something itself to behold. It was on a large balcony a full story above the crowd. This required the winners to ascend a spiral staircase to receive their prize. Behind the podium, an expansive TV screen on which the nominees were flashed, saved the trouble of actually having to call out each name individually. Then, when the victor was announced, their name too was emblazened across the screen. Once the evening’s program got underway, acceptance speeches were (mostly) short and sweet (A lot of award show producers could learn a thing or two from Mr. Sommer and company!)

The ceremony was hosted by Drag Directress Extraordinaire, Chi Chi La Rue (–looking slimmed down and absolutely sensational) along with columnist and entrepreneur Jason Seacrest. Not co-incidentally, both were in the running for that evening’s highly contested “Best Internet Personality Awards”, and together, their clever banter and general liability kept the show alive and moving. Meanwhile, plenty of eye-candy was provided by the four well-defined (and scantily clad) “trophy boys“–representatives from some of the companies sponsoring the event along with Cybersocket.

One  interesting recollection I have about Mr. Seacrest, dates back to 2001, when “Yours Truly” helped introduce this amazing young go-getter to many in ’the video jizz-biz”. We both worked to promote the same project–a now infamous little Bi-outing titled “Goosed For Three”, and even then, he struck me as having a grasp of this “new fangled” (–to me anyway) computer technology far beyond his years; little surprise too, that he was among the very first ’bloggers” I’d ever met until then.

As expected many adult stars too served as guest presenters, yet those who got to claim the trophies were the ones who realized that today, truly successful performers keep their web site in just as good a shape as their physique! Among them, super-star Michael Brandon looked appropriately mouth-watering in what could be considered a triumphant return to So Cal, as he presented “Best Video Company” to La Rue’s own “Channel One Releasing”; however, it was hunk-director, Doug Jeffries who made his way up to accept the award. Also seen mixing with fans and members of the press were Michael Lucas, Brandon Lee, Rob Ramoni, Josh Griffin, Johnny Hazzard, Diesel Washington and Trevor Knight, as well as industry insiders like Mickey Skee, Angel Benton and Uber-agent David Forest. The night even had a few more mainstream ‘celebrity’ guests making surprise appearances–including comedy writer-personality Bruce Vilanch, who traded quips with syndicated columnist Billy Masters; likewise, Steven Daigle (of TV‘s “Big Brother” Fame) concluded the show by presenting the all important “Company Of  The Year” Award to Epoch. This win was exceptionally suitable because, offering fast, effective credit card processing primarily for ‘adult’ internet enterprises, these are the guys who make it possible for these smaller sites to ’cash-in” on their content.

Yet, more than just watching these ’cyber’ big-wigs take bows and make speeches though, for me, seeing friends and acquaintances –some of whom I hadn’t seen for a while, made the night feel something like a high school reunion (for people who didn‘t graduate all that long ago, that is.) Not coincidentally, these are the very people who gave me my introduction to the internet as a technical concept, not to mention a revolutionary marketing tool for any business. Little wonder too, more than a few of those who walked away winners this year credited such relatively recent web innovations like social networking sites (Face book, My Space, etc.) as well as viral videos, with helping to really fire up their campaigns. (Hmmm…I guess these days, there’s more to mastering the web than being a plain ol’ ‘webmaster’.)

 Congratulations to the winners, the not-winners, and everyone who attended–the above video is my little tribute to all of you who made this year’s presentation a truly memorable evening!!  For more information about the awards, log onto: www.cybersocketwebawards.com

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