For the past sixteen years, the 'Grabby Awards' have been hosted in Chicago, honoring achievements in adult male pornography.
As the industry has become more sophisticated and modernized, so too has the awards ceremony, this year hosted last weekend in Boystown at the Metro Nightclub on Clark Street.
The talented and entertaining master of ceremonies was the engaging and humorous Chi Chi La Rue, who kept the program fast -paced and celebratory.
It’s an unusual ceremony. Instead of floral arrangements on the center of the dinner tables, there are free bottles of Swiss Navy Lube, one of the event sponsors. The getaway gift bag included the hot new film, “Gay of Thrones,” - or throbs, I forget which.
Look, no matter what you choose to do in life, no matter your station or purpose, you should do it with pride, professionalism, and passion.
That's why it is a pleasure to share with you today that one of my good friends, Howard Andrew, the president of FabScout Entertainment, was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grabby's. He is now on their 'Wall of Fame.' Sure, maybe the wall is sticky, but Howard deserves to be there.
The Fort Lauderdale-based businessman has the primary task of booking hundreds of male models from all over the country for photographic shoots, adult porn films, and guest appearances at nightclubs you love to attend. It’s not easy work.
As you might reasonably guess, many of his clients, young adult male entertainers, can be occasionally impulsive and even sometimes irresponsible. Ya think?
Managing their careers can be challenging on most days. At any given moment, he has a cast of characters appearing at multiple venues in different cities at the same time.
Ironically, on the very evening that Howard should have been celebrating his Grabby Award, he was tending to the texts of a disgruntled nightclub owner complaining that one of his talents had missed a set.
In life and business, when you are a professional, you learn how to deal and manage with calamity and crisis calmly. There is always going to be chaos. You have to find the harmony within the cacophony. Howard somehow does. How he does it is sometimes remarkable.
'If Athens shall appear great to you, consider that its glories were won simply everyday by good men doing their duties well.' I can use that quote here, because Howard works in a field populated by many a Greek Adonis. They were out in force last weekend in Chi-town, where you could find parties and porn, pot and the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Still, it is a business, and a multi-million dollar one at that. More and more studios are investing mega-money into a better photographic product, on the Internet and with quality videos featuring better looking entertainers.
Howard is the kind of guy who will locate a performer in an instant for a desperate producer in dire need of an emergency fill-in, while finding the time simultaneously to help out a young client whose boyfriend just abandoned him.
Meanwhile, Howard is also the guy who throws Thanksgiving dinners for dozens of friends who are out of town on a family holiday, while making sure that an abandoned dog who was hit by a speeding car is brought to a vet and then given a loving home. Most of all, he is a man who still takes his mom and dad out for breakfasts and dinners weekly. These are the things that matter in life.
In our own way, we all deal with drama in our lives. Howard has to deal with the drama in everyone else's lives. Still, in an industry known for its ups and downs, he has provided continuity, longevity, and balance for over a decade. He won an award on the Grabby's Wall of Fame because he has won a special spot in the hearts and minds of hundreds of young men that he has helped find work and bookings, jobs and income. Howard assists them personally and supports them collectively.
More importantly, he has made FabScout into a family, a group of young male entertainers who come from all over the country to enter into an industry which has in the past been populated by pervs and pimps, but now has grown up. Howard offers solid management and good common sense, along with a lot of group dinners at Lester's on his dime.
FabScout routinely donates products to non profits and pride festivals, and advocates regular safe sexual activity and regular HIV testing for its performers. They are paid on time, and never exploited individually, just employed responsibly.
Once again, Chicago proved to be a magical city, with great restaurants, a wealth of sporting events and a candy and confectionary convention just down the street from a cannabis conference. I gave a speech high on Hershey's bars. I think. I can't remember.
What I will remember from this weekend is that a good guy won a nice award from the industry he has devoted his life to. If you get a moment and see Howard out, pat him on the back or visit his Facebook page.
Finally, a special note of congratulations as well to South Florida's own John 'Gio' Spano, who also won a Grabby this past weekend for 'Outstanding Photography.' Gio has been featured previously in an SFGN cover story, and his work is extraordinary. Way to go, Gio!
The Grabby's prove that you can have pride and professionalism, along with play and profit, in porn.
Now I am going to set up my own site, menover60.com. See you later.