Good afternoon all - as we near the 400th show (in December) I've been looking back on how the show has grown and evolved over the years. You can click on the gallery in Pinterest here.
Naturally, given the title of the event, Porno Bingo, I wanted to include porn stars as often as possible.. and in 2006 I welcomed many of my friends (like regulars Jason Dean and Kyle Douglas) and made some new ones - Gus Mattox, Mario Ortiz, Michael Lucas, Pete Ross (who would join us many times over a couple year period before vanishing completely), Blu Kennedy, Jay Black, Tony Serrano (who would also join us many times over the years), Duke Rivers (also a staple of the Bad Boys on the Hudson up until recently), Jake Deckard (who will be returning to Bingo on November 29th for the first time in years), Spencer Quest, Scott Spears and Rich Merritt who wrote the excellent SECRETS OF A GAY MARINE PORN STAR.
But, as you can imagine, relying solely on porn stars can be a bit rough -now there are a few more (thank you Cockyboys) - but then I relied on guys traveling to New York and making time out of a busy schedule to donate a couple hours of their time when they could be working. Also, some of the charities would grouse about the name of the event AND it was a constant battle to market it within the LGBT community - some gay listings would not include the event because they felt it was too dirty for them (and yes, these same listings would include far raunchier events ... but they didn't have the word 'porno' in the title). Sigh. What's a promoter to do?
Well, I decided to re-brand the show. It would be the first of two times that I would do it. After some consultation with various friends, I settled on "Planet Bingo". Yeah, I thought it kind of bland too but no one was really coming up with anything better and it felt sort of all encompassing.
And while I LOVED the graphics that new Bingo poster artist Michael Broderick came up with, there was a lot of confusion as to if this was the same event or not. Attendence tumbled and suddenly I had to make the decision - stick with it and persevere or ditch it like the Coke people dumped New Coke.
Although one positive thing the re-branding allowed me to do was bring on guests that were out of the porn realm - like singers Brian Kent, Josh Zuckerman, personalities like Randy Jones and Scotty the Blue Bunny, Poppi Kramer and Empress Gefil Tefish. But my favorite from this period was actor Richard Skipper who came in character as Carol Channing. We were forbidden to do any corn jokes (although I had wanted to include a form of corn in each bag - an ear, a can, medicine from the drug store to reduce corns, etc and wanted to re-brand the night "Corno Bingo" but it's probably better not to have done that I suppose LOL) :)
Alas, in December, just four months after "Planet Bingo" started, I reverted back to Porno Bingo with our annual "XXXMas with the XXX Stars" (I had been doing a regular holiday event under that name at Faultline in Los Angeles years before). It was packed and I got confirmation on my answer - that while some charities and listings were skittish (and in some cases almost aggressively put off) about the word "porno", this is what sold the event. And so it's stayed throughout the rest of the run of the event (although I would re-brand later on but this time keep Porno Bingo as part of the title. This worked much better).
AB, Manny and I continued to do the event and said goodbye to first year regulars singer Kris Landherr and his delightful boyfriend Troy aka Chamaigne Pussy as they moved to Texas. I also took two weeks off of the show at the end of the summer on an actual real vacation (I sequestered myself in Cherry Grove surrounded by beer, chips and DVDs of the first season of SOAP. This turned out to be a great choice since it rained nearly the entire time I was there. I did not care).