BERLIN — Last Wednesday night a who’s who of European adult talent — both in front and behind the camera, behind the scenes and providing innovative products for everyone’s pleasures — gathered in a Cold War-era power plant converted into one of the most sought-after venues in Berlin to celebrate the XBIZ Europa Awards, presented by ManyVids.
The European counterpart to the already legendary, Los Angeles-based XBIZ Awards in January is unmistakably unique: the interior of the centrally located Umspannwerk Alexanderplatz (the spy-movie-ready power plant in question), in the very heart of Mitte, the downtown neighborhood where everything happens, was transformed by the XBIZ ambiance wizards into a blue-tinted, swank-cool space, its minimalist white walls modified by artfully placed lights.
Instead of the Los Angeles “awards season” glitz and glamour, the 2019 XBIZ Europa offered vibes that were much more in tune with Berlin chic. Everyone noticed the music that welcomed the nominees and their luxuriously clad guests to the red carpet and the pre-show complimentary drinks: AC/DC, surely the choice the top brass at XBIZ, connoisseurs of a muscular power chord or three.
The Euro crowd of adult performers was vocally appreciative of the change of mood from the more usual “chill hotel music” preferred elsewhere. “Rock and roll!,” more than one hopeful screamed on the red carpet, lifting fists to the anthemic strains of “Back in Black” and the like.
Everything ran, in expected German style, like clockwork. The legendary Rocco Siffredi (and we don’t use the “L-word” lightly) was there bright and early, ready to rehearse and mingle with everyone. And take many, many selfies: Rocco got selfie requests, particularly from worshipful male fans, at a rate that can rival any female talent of his stature. Award-winning performer and director Misha Cross, his co-host for the event, prepared her lines in order to deliver a flawless presentation.
The hosting committee was rounded by XBIZ Berlin Ambassadors Ella Hughes and Tina Kay as Red Carpet Hosts, and onstage by Talia Mint and Angel Rivas as Trophy Girls. Hughes and Kay were perfect Red Carpet Hosts, the ideal combination of quick banter, charm and, of course, awe-striking beauty to the power of two. Every awards show, adult or otherwise, should engage these two multi-talented women for hosting and presenting gigs.
Siffredi and Cross took to the stage for the opening remarks, into which the director of “Time Master” slipped some hearty welcomes in Italian. A glamorous Cross teased him back towards English, the international lingua franca for the industry gathered at the Umspannwerk. “Look at this,” said Rocco waving at the packed venue. “I’m thinking about using this as the set for my next movie!”
Two Best Sex Scene awards, presented by Sarah Calanthe and Kira Queen, kicked off the evening. First, for the Glamcore subcategory, with Jia Lissa, Liya Silver and Alberto Blanco sharing the honor for their threesome in Vixen’s “Club VXN Vacation.” The impish, redheaded Lissa, one the MVPs in Julia Grandi’s model team, was shocked by the news. “Am I dreaming?” she questioned, like a Shakespearean princess. “I was just saying I wasn’t going to win. Thank you for all your support and yes — it was teamwork.”
“Watch out for the next one!” Vixen’s Grandi told XBIZ at the Winner’s Circle. “I still can’t believe it,” a still thrilled Lissa told us backstage. “I’m here, among so many performers I’ve masturbated to!”
For the Gonzo category, perennial Eastern European beauty Cherry Kiss, Angelo Godshack and Yanick Shaft shared the award for best scene for their B/B/G threesome “DP Bandits!,” directed by expat auteur Proxy Paige for Evil Angel. “Thank you guys so much,” enthused an emotional Kiss on behalf of her team. “Proxy I don’t know where you are, but I love you!” For the record, Paige was celebrating from a shadowy side table, where she held court with the Prague Gang, including Perverse Family members Anna de Ville and Brittany Bardot.
Reflecting the pride of place that everyone at XBIZ gives the pleasure products industry, the next two awards, presented by Sabien DeMonia and TheOnlyTheodora, celebrated this crucial economic engine of the adult sector.
First came the prestigious accolade for BDSM Pleasure Products Company of the Year, which went to Mystim. Christoph thanked XBIZ after overcoming speechlessness.
“I am very proud about this nice award,” Christoph said.
Gay Sex Toy/Line of the Year went to Prowler Red, ABS Holdings, represented by Justin, who declared the company to be “super proud to introduce the Prowler brand into the European market.”
Back to the performer awards, it was time to honor the hard-working clip artists, those valuable members of the community who have to combine the skills of performer, producer and marketing expert at a high-clout level. The awards were presented by XBIZ Berlin Ambassador Amirah Adara and Kaisa Nord.
Female Clip Artist of the Year Luna Rival was grateful for this recognition, enthusing how she “worked a lot of years for that, and it’s just amazing for me, and thank you XBIZ, thank you all people for that, just thank you. This is incredible for me.”
Asked for her impressions backstage, Rival told XBIZ “I don’t have words.”
Her counterparts, Male Clip Artist of the Year (a duo in this case) Callum and Cole had a variation on the usual awards speech, as they also had each other to thank. “Holy shit,” blurted Callum. “We have a lot of respect, and thanks first of all to Cole, and thanks to XBIZ for hosting such an amazing event.” His partner-in-award agreed. Backstage all they could articulate was a collective, “We’re shaking.”
EllieLeen1 and Caylin presented the next two awards. The Best Lesbian Sex Scene went to Tina Kay and Rebecca Volpetti for Viv Thomas/MetArt’s “The Taste of a Woman.” The irrepressible Kay, an XBIZ Berlin 2019 stalwart as cheerleading Ambassador and XBIZ Europa Red Carpet co-host, was ecstatic at receiving her first XBIZ award. “Thank you to my team partner Rebecca Volpetti,” she told the crowd. “My first one!” she told XBIZ backstage.
Best Sex Scene in a Feature Movie went to Tiffany Tatum and Lutro (last year’s Male Performer of the Year winner) for Evil Angel’s “Rocco’s Time Master: Sex Witches,” the brainchild of XBIZ Europa co-host Rocco Siffredi, who was acknowledged by Tatum.
“Thank you so much, oh my god!” she said. “Thank you so much Rocco for shooting us in your movie, it was such an amazing scene.” Attendees noted that he performers’ chemistry on camera spilled over to the awards ceremony, where they could not keep their hands (and lips) off each other before getting onstage.
Backstage, the colorfully besuited Lutro dedicated the award “to Rocco, who’s my second father.”
Jia Lissa and Candy Alexa took turns announcing the three following pleasure products awards. Newly crowned BDSM Pleasure Products Company of the Year Mystim returned to the stage to pick up the hardware for Sex Toy Product/Line of the Year — Powered (Non-Vibrating), bestowed for their Opus E “electro sex masturbator.”
“Again, thank you very much for the second award tonight,” said Mystim’s Christoph. “We’re very proud of Opus E, thank you!”
LELO received the Innovative Sex Toy of the Year award for Technology for their F1s. Backstage, team LELO was ready to go into their sale pitch: “The F1s has a complete sonic technology you can program on yourself,” he told XBIZ as the photographer memorialized his win. “It’s like 100 butterflies on the tip of your penis.”
Online Retailer of the Year went to Amorelie.de, whose owners expressed their pleasure at “getting the award for the first time,” continuing in German, and reverting to English to conclude with an invitation to the audience to “Shop with us!” Backstage, the genial Amoreliestes told XBIZ with typical European cool: “We are shocked. And we deserve it, of course.”
Quincy (who won Best Rising Cam Star at XBIZ Miami in June) and Angelika Grays presented two Movie of the Year awards. Powerhouse French studio Marc Dorcel received the Glamcore Movie of the Year award for “Clea, Private Banker,” starring their current signature performer Clea Gaultier. “Thank you very much,” Gaultier said. “I’m very proud and very happy.”
Her studio partner added, “Very quickly, there are a few people I want to say thanks to. Marc Dorcel, thank you so much, we put so much effort into our movies. Thank you XBIZ.”
When XBIZ asked Gaultier backstage how she was feeling, the stunning model took the question quite literally: “My feet is not very good — I need a massage!”
Gonzo Movie of the Year went to Evil Angel’s “Elements,” directed by and starring XBIZ Europa co-host Misha Cross, who returned to the stage with one of the evening’s most moving and generous speeches: “I just wanted to say thank you XBIZ. This is very, very important to me since this movie is the best thing I’ve done in my life, I think. Thank you so much Cherry Kiss, thank you so much Tina Kay, thank you so much Anna de Ville, thank you so much to myself I guess, and thank you Evil Angel.”
Texas Patti and Ella Hughes announced the following three honors for crucial behind-the-scenes companies. First, Fakehub.com received the award for Hardcore Site of the Year, crowning the very best of the paysite sector. Then it was time for one of the evening’s most coveted awards, signifying worldwide success and dominance — Global Studio Brand of the Year. Few would quibble with the choice of Vixen, the Los Angeles-based juggernaut whose European division was represented by model agent, producer and most recently anointed feature director Julia Grandi.
“Thank you very much to all the performers that have worked with me,” said Grandi. “Thank you to all our team, that work for this amazing company and makes amazing movies.”
Backstage, Grandi told XBIZ that “when I started with Greg [Lansky], this is what I had in mind. I’m happy to be representing this amazing brand in Europe.”
The Global Web Brand of the Year award went to ManyVids. On hand, of course, was tireless co-founder and main evangelist Bella French, the much beloved and respected keynote speaker at this year’s XBIZ Berlin. “Thank you so much XBIZ,” said French, who swapped her iconic work uniform (sweats) for a glitzy TK. “Thank you for putting such an event together, it’s so important to have. I want to thank my team back in Montreal, my two brilliant cofounders, but the most important people are you guys, the MV Stars, the sex workers. Be fucking proud of what you do, it’s very important. We do what we do because we are inspired by your hard work and dedication. Thank you, we love you guys so much.”
After the intermission, presenters Stella Cardo and Baby Nicols announced the Gay Performer of the Year. The very hunky Viktor Rom took the chance to acknowledge both his fans and his homeland. “Thank you so, thank you to my followers, my country Venezuela, thank you so much,” said Rom.
Backstage, he reverted to his native Spanish: “No lo puedo creer!” (“I can’t believe it”) was all he could say.
It was time for the other XBIZ Europa Awards Red Carpet co-host to receive a well-deserved award for International Crossover Star. Stunningly gorgeous British redhead Ella Hughes could only muster, “Oh my God! Thank you so much everybody, thank you so much XBIZ. I hope everybody has an amazing night and I’ll leave it at that.” Backstage, she radiated happiness, repeating “Oh my God” in astonishment and delight.
Tina Kay and Hannah James announced the main awards for pleasure products, with Pleasure Products Company of the Year going to one of the unquestionable innovators and leaders in the market: Satisfyer. The Satisfyer team expressed their happiness at receiving the award. “We are having so much fun pushing the envelope,” they confessed.
GangBangster was named New Pleasure Products Company of the Year, a win described by its owner as “amazing, so amazing. Thank you to all our business supporters, thank you to my team in France and thank you XBIZ. This is the first one!”
Overflowing with satisfaction, the head GangBangster let loose backstage: “So. Fucking. Proud!” he said. “It’s a big adventure — I’m so fucking glad!”
It was time now to crown the best Director of the Year. Cherry Kiss and Valentina Bianco took the stage and named the victor. The audience’s attention did not have to travel far, though, as the winner was close by: the one and only Rocco Siffredi. The once and future Italian Stallion beamed with elation. “This is the best occasion of my life,” Il Rocco told the crowd, but then shifted the spotlight to his longtime creative partner, his cousin Gabriele.
“I want to introduce you to the guy who has been loyal to me for 25 years, he never wanted to appear and now if he doesn’t come here I will fuck his ass in front of you!” Rocco joked (perhaps). “Come here Gabby, come here Gabby. Okay guys, this is the one who, together with me, we make the movies so I cannot take this. I can share with him, it’s only for Gabby. This is a really, really big artist.”
Gabriele basked in the shared glory. “Thank you, thank you very much,” said Italy’s First Porn Cousin. “I love you. I love you the way you express freedom, I hope to do the same and I did with my cousin for my entire life. I spent my entire life loving you and asking you to help me to make great movies. I’m so happy for you, Lutro. And I wish to call up a person who has helped me a lot. Rosa, please, without her the Rocco Siffredi product doesn’t exist. This goes to the real owner of the Rocco Siffredi production.”
This heartfelt performance was followed by a little pas-de-vaudeville, with Rocco and Gabriele juggling the trophy between each other, like the mischievous little cousins they never stopped being.
Yet another major award followed, when “Dangerous Women,” a Digital Playground production by UK director/performer Danny D took the award for Feature Movie of the Year.
“I want to thank XBIZ without whose generosity none of this would be possible,” said Danny D, “and thank you to MindGeek for allowing us to do this entire thing. Now let’s all go get fucking drunk tonight!” “We are over the moon!” he told XBIZ backstage.
Alexxa Vice and Venus Afrodita came onstage to hand out the thespian trophies. Danny D’s fellow Brit Ella Hughes returned to the stage to receive the award for Best Actress for Digital Playground’s “Uninvited.” With characteristic understatement the sparkling redhead declared, “I’m a little bit surprised since I always thought I was the world’s worst actress, and obviously not. Thank you to AHussy and everybody that enlightened me on this shoot. So thank you so much.”
All stayed in the Brit adult family when Danny D was named Best Actor, again for “Dangerous Women.” Danny D admitted he “only had that one speech prepared, so thanks very much. I’m going to leave again with, ‘I hope you get drunk very much!’”
The Female and Male Cam Model of the Year awards, announced by Jasmine Jae and Mary Rock, went to Caylin and Thony Grey respectively.
“Thank you so much XBIZ for acknowledging me!” said an enthusiastic Caylin, who, of course, also thanked her followers. “I don’t know what to say because I’m really, really happy,” improvised Grey. “I won in June, XBIZ Best Male Cam Model, in Miami. That’s a big honor for me, for that. And really, I’m really, really grateful. Let’s enjoy the night. Let’s get really drunk!”
The night was wrapping up with the much-expected Performer of the Year awards, presented by Bella French, sponsor of the whole evening with her ManyVids.
Best New Starlet winner Liya Silver kept it shortest on account of her extreme emotions. “My hands are shaking,” she told XBIZ backstage, showing her extremities as evidence.
French superstar Clea Gaultier was crowned Female Performer of the Year to her surprise. “Thank you very much,” she said. “I didn’t expect that, so. I’m very happy, yes, thank you.”
And Male Performer of the Year Chris Diamond closed the proceedings in true Euro style: “Okay I will do this really, really fast, because everybody here know that English is not the best point for me. So I just want to say thank you to everybody and my followers.”
On that note, it was “auf wiedersehen” to Berlin and another memorable installment of XBIZ’s now traditional late-summer European schedule. But before leaving this city that never sleeps or stops experimenting, there would be the afterparties. We won’t be writing about those, though. See you perhaps next year?