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It's just a couple hours until the Grabby Awards commence and I'm sitting in Room 2B at the Old Chicago Inn having a hard time convincing myself it's worth showering and getting all fancy-dressed up (I brought the matching-not-matching purple vest and pants, a tux shirt, purple bow tie, oxblood boots) just to avoid throwing away the $140 I already spent for platinum seats. How lame am I?

Part of the hesitance is that, according to reliable sources, the awards ceremonies' move this year to the [GLBTQx] "Center on Halstead" from its many-year home at the Park West Theater will not amount to hoped-for liberation from the latter's strict no-nudity policy (and, really, why would you convene an awards ceremony in a place where you can't even show clips from the nominees?). Indeed, it may well be every bit as morals-law-police-paranoid, if not more so. The shift in venue seemingly proceeds from impoverishment and portends enforced sobriety: THE CENTER HAS NO BAR—about the scariest thing anybody's said about the center since Yeats. Dude. I've been coming to the Grabbys since 2000, when they were tiny and held in the Circuit nightclub. They briefly moved to The Vic Theatre on Sheffield, thence to the Park West, all of which facilities had full functioning bars. This will be the first year the awards are teetoaling. Not a good sign for future viability, if you ask me.

In a perhaps unrelated development, the Lucky Horseshoe Lounge canceled their private Memorial Day party (basically a sex party with local and guest porn star strippers having sex with patrons for tips) for the first time in memory. My local friend Chris reported first that bartender (and private parter caterer) Matty told him the LHL "just wasn't making money on those parties"—a highly dubious explanation, given the recent ticket prices in excess of $100, including two complimentary cocktails and a decent Memorial Day cookout spread. But multiple dancers I've spoken to over the last couple nights gave me detail-challenged but wholly consistent accounts of a former employee of the enterprise getting busted for embezzlement and threatening to expose the parties, which had hereto operated below law enforcement's radar.

All of which has had the effect of throwing a bucket of frigid water on (at least) the proceedings in Lucky Horseshoe Lounge and her sister bar, the North End: a dramatic turning back of the clock comparable to the effects of the "Rev." Grant Storms's expose of Southern Decadence to the Louisana legislature in 2003. The North End, which has for more than a decade hosted a fabulously naughty "recovery" brunch (for recovery, read "hair of the dog", not 12-stepping) the day after the Grabbys, has already scaled this event back from six to three hours and hired Tim and Roma. The actual Tim and Roma Show online appears to be defunct as of 2011, but from previous events in Chicago and San Francisco, I now that their show is all about sitting porn stars down and interviewing them. So presumably they will not be solicitaing porn star blowjobs on stage... or for that matter even showing penis.

As for the 'Shoe (a.k.a. Whoreshow) itself, last night it hosted "Cocktails with the Stars w/Scotty B
and the men of Colt, Hot House & Jet Set Men". (Redundancy [sic].) Scotty B started out by assuring those patrons who were in attendance last year that we were going to get "a little bit dirtier" this year. Sounds good to me, considering this is what I wrote about the same event last year:
...when the host asked for volunteers with ten $1 bills in they pocketses, I stepped up along with one other guy to compete in some unspecified game. We were instructed to "tip these two porn stars in the dirtiest way possible". So I ended up paying $10 to suck dick, eat ass, and be given a Fleshjack. Alexsander Freitas ... was there and wearing assless underwear all night and videotaping local 'Shoe dancers he found hot, and at one point he jumped in and helped us contestants out by actually sticking a dollar bill up Austin Andrews's ass. ... I found [the porn stars] twinky and unremarkable ... Still: I was hired to be dirty, so my co-contestant and I gave a nice show, at one point sharing the blond guy's dick. Like you do."
Dirtier than that? Cool! Except it wasn't. There were flashes of cock throughout the evening, and at one point Leo Forte ate J.R. Bronson's ass for a few seconds, but mostly the guys kept a baseball cap athwart their bits. Unless you were in exactly the right place to get a glimpse of the proceedings, the whole thing could have been rated PG.

Not to say I haven't enjoyed myself these last two nights: I had a half-decent time at Hydrate for Chi Chi La Rue's Skin Trade party. Got a bunch of splendid pics of Christopher Daniels and Draven Torres and a few other adorable young thangs. And last night, before the porn stars took over and made everything boring, the hot-as-fuck young man with the stubbly washboard abs who let me eat his ass at least year's Mem. Day party recognized me shortly after I recognized him, and gave me a big hug.

Well, it's just one hour till the awards start. I guess I better make up my mind here...

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