That old cliche - don't be sad because something is over, be glad that something happened - definitely applies today, Sunday, July 14th, 2013, when the era of the Bad Boys parties is at last over.
I did my first set of xxx flicks in summer 1995 (starting August 4th to be exact) and, later that year, I took one of my best friends at the time to the Gay Erotic Video Awards. The event was sponsored by and raised money for the Los Angeles based organization, Aid for AIDS. At the time I didn't understand how special this was. In the way our society works, an AIDS organization (or really any LGBT based group) supporting sex work is a rare thing. I have to admit that I've never exactly understood why - it would seem a natural symbiotic relationship, but what do I know? With non-profits, government funding rules everything of course and even the slightest whiff of anything controversial will cause board members and executive directors to shudder and shake.(This is, by the way, in case you wondered, why most fundraising events are so fucking bland and dull. One of the things about AFA that was so neat is that they at the time understood how to be a good neighbor will all parts of the community. Their Red Dress parties are also legendary).
Anyway, Aid for AIDS was special in that it actively participated in the gay porn industry by creating a special fund to assist gay porn performers who were having financial difficulty due to HIV/AIDS. Not only did they create the Joey Stefano Fund, but they sold tickets to porn award shows from their offices on Santa Monica Blvd. I remember the first time I went in I was greeted by an older gentleman who kibbitzed and flirted with me. I would later learn that he was the orgs executive director.
Over the next couple years I would become friendly with the staff and promote the org's mission. In 1996 they asked me to make an appearance at what was then the Gauntlet (now the LA Eagle) for one of their Sunday beer busts - they'd sell all you can drink beer for $7, sell raffle tickets, give away porn. It was a huge success and always packed to the rafters. Eventually I started helping them book stars, emcee and sort of produce the event. It was also during this time that I met my second boyfriend, who was one of the orgs star volunteers.
Now I'm usually sort of against nanny states (limiting people's right to buy 64 oz drinks or whatever), but when the Mothers Against Drunk Driving crusaded against being able to sell unlimited amounts of beer to a city full of drivers, I was kind of on their side. It didn't just affect our event, but all beer busts in LA.
And so we had to come up with an alternative idea - and the Bad Boys Pool Party was born. My friend and columnist Mickey Skee had just written a book, Bad Boys of Video, where he interviewed a couple dozen gay porn stars (myself included) and I thought it would be a neat idea to include as many of the book's subjects as possible. It seemed a natural tie-in.
The first couple parties were good, but it wasn't until the third party that things really took off. I then moved the party to Palm Springs where it became a great destination for a weekend's worth of porn fans.
Michael Brandon's "Inappropriate Behavior Party" came out of our 2002 party where an ex boyfriend of mine took it up on himself to tell Michael that sucking off a dozen guys was "inappropirate behavior". (The ex was correct - I had very clear guidelines about what the party was and was not about - although he went about conveying that all wrong. This was one of the clearest examples of how the right message can be delivered in the wrong way).
Eventually I produced an annual Burlesque show in San Francisco after I'd moved to New York, but I just couldn't make it work living so far away. We did three of them though to benefit Magnet, and the 2005 show (the last one) was probably one of the best shows that I've ever had the pleasure to be involved with.
In New York, DJ Randy Bettis and I discovered that our birthdays are a day apart and so, for a few years we threw a Bad Boys style dance party. They were fun but were really more dance party moneymakers for the venue than fundraisers for orgs that I cared about.
And, in 2004, I created the Bad Boys on the Hudson as the east coast equivalent to the west coast's Bad Boys parties. It's always been it's own odd sort of animal but successful nonetheless.
Staging a fundraiser with multiple talents coming from a variety of backgrounds (porn, drag, leather, etc) is a sort of large scale job... embarking on it with a zero budget just makes it that much more challenging (and, at times, it has felt impossible).
And so here we are.
At the end of a long, spectacular and unexpectedly long road. Oh the fun I've had. Too many stories to tell here and most of them the kind of story that sounds like someone telling you their dream - interesting to me, but maybe not so much to you who weren't there.
I don't know that there will never be another Bad Boys type event - I never say 'never' - and I'll still be doing my weekly Bingo night (for awhile at least, more on this another time), but as far as the Sea Tea and the Queen of Hearts goes, tonight is the end of our story.
So please, come on out. We're going to dance to DJ Jonny Mack, we're going to have fun with our performers - Witti Repartee, Boylesque performers Matt Knife, Lewd Alfred Douglass, Brooklyn Irons, and Mr. Von Cake along with XXX studs Collin Stone and Drew Sumrok.
A portion of the door will go to Cycle for the Cause and the money raised will go to support Mr. Eagle Arsenio Amadis' ride this September. Which, given how my descent into fundraising started off at the Gauntlet turned Eagle, is kind of poetic and appropriate. :)
Tickets will be available at the door for $30 and includes a dinner aboard the boat. Doors open at 6pm, launch is at 7:30pm and we return to the pier at 10pm. We are not at Pier 40 at the end of Christopher Street as usual, we are at Pier 78 at the end of W. 38th Street instead. You will have to walk along W. 34th Street to get there.
It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day - I will see you there or catch you on the flip side.
Sunday, July 14, 2013