Interesting News (4/13/12)

It’s Friday the 13th!!! What does the news say…?

I went to the XRCO Awards last night. It was interesting. I got a (bizarre) invitation from BlogHer. It was confounding. And adult performer Sledge Hammer has passed away, (allegedly) due in part to excessive force on behalf of police officers. That’s sad. Meh…

1. I went to the XRCO Awards last night!!

The 28th Annual X Rated Critics Organization (XRCO) Awards were last night (4/12/12) at the Highlands Hollywood. I had never been to this industry-only awards event before, so I was excited.

It was rainy, which made it cold and slippery; the Highlands is located in one of the most epic traffic clusters in all of LA, but it actually wasn’t too bad; and the show itself was porn-typical in that it started way late. Whatevs, I was still excited.

Once the show finally began, it was actually a little off-putting. The curmudgeonly Bill Margold, who is an industry legend in his own right, began with the Hall of Fame inductees. I assume this was a big program change from years past aimed at giving persons with significant histories in the industry their full due, which I agree with very much.

Anyway, Bill began talking about the importance of knowing the history of the industry and, especially for performers, the importance of appreciating your time therein. This was, according to Bill, because porn is still so stigmatizing that one’s life will be forever changed by involvement with the industry.

About this, I also couldn’t agree more. The adult industry has a very short memory, which is unfortunate. Whatsmore, people are still intensely scrutinized for being involved with adult, and every day of life should always be appreciated. I think this should go for everyone though, not just adult performers.

However, in spite of Bill’s great points, he had a very confrontational and off-putting manner that I actually think caused more people to stop listening than it did encourage attention. I guess no one ever told him that you get more flies with honey than vinegar… or however that cliche goes.

Regardless, I got a lot of good visiting in and had quite a bit of fun. Here are some of the winners…

BEST EPIC: Portrait of a Call Girl (Elegant Angel Productions) —> review here

BEST PARODY – COMEDY: The Rocki Whore Picture Show: A Hardcore Parody (Wicked Pictures) —> review here

BEST GIRL/GIRL SERIES: Women Seeking Women (Girlfriends Films) —> amazing Girlfriends Films content here

BEST DIRECTOR – FEATURES: Graham Travis —> a conversation with Graham Travis here

BEST DIRECTOR – NON-FEATURES: William H. —> amazing Elegant Angel content here

BEST ACTOR: Anthony Rosano —> we all know how Anthony Rosano starred in the best movies ever!! (here)

MALE PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Manuel Ferrara —> yep, amazing…

ORGASMIC ANALIST: Bobbi Starr —> check out some of Bobbi’s directorial work here

MAINSTREAM ADULT MEDIA FAVORITE: Bree Olson —> Bree gets naked(ish) for Kony 2012 here

For a full list of winners, go here.

3. I got this email invitation from BlogHer to be a part of their Visionaries Panel… Visionaries Panel?!! I liked the sound of that, as I sometimes fancy myself a visionary, so I read on. Here’s what it said:

“Your opinion matters. Make it count and make a difference in the products that matter to you by joining the BlogHer Visionaries Panel.

BlogHer Visionaries is an exclusive online community made up of trend-setting women consumers who enjoy having their opinions heard, and want to provide their feedback. As a member of the Visionaries Panel, you will gain insider access to the latest products and will have the opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue every month with the brands you love.”

Hmmm… this sounds like a clever play on egos, narcissism (“exclusive,” “trend-setting,” “…enjoy having their opinions heard”), and consumerism. As we all have egos and are consumers in some way, I wondered…

How does it work?

Once or twice a month, BlogHer will e-mail you a brief survey. Sometimes it will be about a specific brand or product category; others, a more general opinion survey. All participation is voluntary, and will take as much or as little of your time as you like. You will be asked to respond to short surveys (about 10 minutes long, mostly), or other opinion-based activities. As a Visionaries member, you will not be required to respond to more than 2 surveys per month, and will also get to see how your responses match against what others are saying.

How do we use the information?

Information provided by the Visionaries Panel will be used by BlogHer and our marketing partners on an aggregate basis unless otherwise indicated at the time you are asked to participate in a specific survey. In such a case, the exception will be detailed in the survey email and will apply to that survey only.”

…in order to get feedback and data for marketing and advertisers. OK, but what are the benefits? I mean, aside from my voice being heard, what do I get out of it?

“Everyone who completes the entire survey will be entered into the sweepstakes for a chance to win one of the following:

  • An Apple iPad 3
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One of three $100 American Express gift cards”

The email closed with: “Please join us and make your voice heard.

Ick.

I admit that I’ve had a somewhat tenuous relationship with BlogHer over the years (you can read about that here and here), but this email message/offer was legitimately confusing to me.

What does engaging in constructive dialog about the latest products have to do with being a visionary? Something about “trend-setting” and “exclusive” made me think that the “products that matter[ed]” in question would be more floofy than visionary, like I would be reviewing make-up and eye cream… not the newest portable water purification system or something. Now granted, what constitutes “floofy” and what constitutes “visionary” is extremely subjective, and – and I loathe to write this – certainly my voice is more qualified to speak on health and beauty products than it is water purification systems… but I was bothered by what seemed to be sneaky solicitation under the auspices of “girl power.” So I ignored the email.

Then they sent me a reminder.

You can see the invite yourself here. Sign up if you’d like – ain’t no shame in wanting 100 bucks or an iPad #justsayin

4. Sad… (from XBiz)

“Adult performer Sledge Hammer died early this morning [4/13/12] at the age of 39, director Stoney Curtis, his close friend of 20 years, confirmed to XBIZ.

Sledge Hammer, whose legal name was Marland Anderson, had been in a coma since Monday morning after an altercation with police on Sunday night that resulted in him being shot with a Taser gun, Curtis said.

According to Curtis, Anderson had been dealing with various forms of depression during the last several years, and his marijuana use made the depression worse…

On Sunday night in Reseda, Anderson suffered a severe anxiety attack and his girlfriend called 911 to prevent him from harming himself.

According to the information Curtis received, Anderson did not want to be inside the ambulance and his anxiety worsened, so the ambulance personnel let him out and called the police back to the residence.

‘The police came and instead of trying to talk to him or grab him and get him to the ground or the paramedics giving him a sedative, they decided to break out their tasers and just tasered him excessively until the point where he went into cardiac arrest,’ Curtis said. ‘After he went into cardiac arrest, they rushed him to the hospital and revived him. But they estimated that his heart had stopped beating for 10 minutes. They got his heart beating again and put him on a respirator, but he had massive swelling in the brain from the loss of oxygen.’

Anderson fought for his life all week, Curtis said, but doctors told Anderson’s mother that he likely would never come out of the coma and if he did, he would not regain cognitive functions. So Anderson’s mother decided to take him off the respirator Thursday night…” (remainder of story is here)

This is very sad, and these details speak to so many wider social ails – issues surrounding mental illness and access to services, illness and treatment/therapy versus illness and self-medication, and the difficulties police and ambulance personnel may have on the job.

The way this story reads as reported by XBIZ is horrible… a horrible series of circumstances that all led to bad, bad, bad. I can only imagine the suffering this poor man must have endured during his last days, but particularly during his last moments of consciousness.

It is entirely possible that the cops were assholes who acted excessively – lord knows the LAPD has done its fair share of excessive force. But it’s also entirely possible that this situation is even more complicated than out-of-line cops only.

It is possible that an ill person who was not receiving proper care (problem with health care and awareness of mental illness in the US) or an ill person who had impeded his own proper care (problem with self-medication, another issue with a lack of understanding of mental illness – folks often go off their meds or mix therapeutic remedies, with disastrous results) prevented civil service workers from doing their jobs effectively. For example, were the ambulance workers negligent in this situation or were they respecting another human’s wishes?

Regardless, a taser-induced coma pretty obviously falls on the side of excessive force. But the issue of (possible) police brutality is but one dimension to this story, and the entire situation seems so very sad for everyone involved. Be well where ever your energy takes you next, Sledge Hammer.

Happy Saturday the 14th (it’s almost here)… Sorry to be a downer.

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Interesting News – news that’s interesting!!

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