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April 29, 2010 10:14pm
History: XRCO 1990
Source: Adult Industry News
by: William Margold

''Big Wednesday'' contributed from his Cinema Seen column in the LA Xpress by William Margold. A recounting of the 6th Annual XRCO (X-Rated Critics Organization) Awards show which took place twenty years ago.

Pictured are: Tori Welles; before and afters for Nina Hartley, Selena Steele, and Sharon Mitchell; and Jeanna Fine.

Big Wednesday

Proudly lifting the legendary teddy bear Mr. Stubbs way above my head, I saluted the shivering crowd attending the 6th Annual XRCO Adult and Video Awards with the declaration: ''Welcome to the Playpen of the Damned.''

It was February 14, 1990, and the X-Rated Critics Organization had decided to rent out a portion of the Santa Monica Pier (including its famous Merry-Go-Round, which proved to be irresistible to many lusty ladies including Nina Hartley, Selena Steele, Jeanna Fine and Miss Sharon Mitchell) to present its Heart-Ons to the very best adult entertainment performances and productions from 1989.

(For the record…the big winner that frosty evening was the incendiary Tori Welles, who took home Heart-Ons for her erotic efforts as Starlet, Female Performer of the Year, and her Best Sex Scene actions with Buck Adams in ''The Chameleon.'')

Having risen from the tumultuous ashes of discontent engendered by the Adult Film Association in the mid-1980’s… and fueled by its daring motto: ''To promote truth and honor in the erotic film and video community for the enlightenment and betterment of those seeking the finest in adult entertainment'' …The XRCO (comprised of carnal cinema critics from all over the United States) was riding high on a wave of what its members truly believed in: ''As critics we act as interpreters between the creators and consumers of adult entertainment. We included the ‘X’ in our name because ‘X’ is the nature of our business, and we feel no need to hide behind euphemisms. Our purpose is to separate films and videos of passion and artistry from routine, formula sex flicks, and to honor them accordingly.''

And the wave metaphor was played out to the fullest extent that evening… which because of its oceanic proximity…was labeled ''Big Wednesday.''

What the coordinators of the evening (including the late Jim Holliday and myself) didn’t consider was the winter seashore weather, which, by the time the evening shuddered to an end, was well into the bone chilling, hand numbing, teeth-chattering low 30’s. And the concessionaire for the event didn’t even bring the equipment/resources to serve coffee or hot chocolate.

But the crowd huddled together and amusingly sucked it up…and as best as they could---let as much as possible hang out.

Images [can be found in this issue of the LA Xpress] (LA Xpress-edited where necessary) from that evening gloriously decorate this page. And for historical purposes [in the paper publication] …I have included the cover of the program- --the color of which was admittedly---truly ironic.

Twenty years later, in the process of celebrating its 26th Annual presentations…the XRCO will be honoring the men and women of ''X'' at the Highlands Nightclub above the Kodak Theater in Hollywood on Thursday evening, April 29.

And while the event has always practiced ''an industry only'' policy, I see absolutely no reason whatsoever why the public should be excluded from at least having the opportunity to catch glimpses of their favorite adult performers as they make their way along the red carpet. After all, if it’s good enough for those attending the Oscars each year in the Kodak Theater…it should most certainly be good enough for those who are attending the XRCO Adult Film and Video Awards a few floors up.

And, at least…the X-Rated Critics Organization’s awards (the Heart-Ons), although now mechanically churned out and smoothly refined down from the original, freshly hewn pieces of redwood that were painstakingly crafted for many years by William Rotsler, so that each one was unique unto itself…don’t resemble dildos.

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