Chicago, IL -
The show will go on and, yes, there will be a special ceremony to honor Mark Nagel, the co-owner of the annual Grabbys Award Show who passed away unexpectedly this past February, GoPride.com has confirmed.
Nagel suffered a seizure and fell in his bathroom at his Chicago home. He was 57.
A Chicago native, Nagel was a veteran of the city's LGBT press, an avid supporter of numerous community causes and organizations, and a 2017 inductee into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. Nagel along with Stacy Bridges was the co-owner of Grab Magazine
, which organizes the annual GRABBYS Award Show to honor the gay erotic film industry, an award show celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Founded by Ralph Paul Gernhardt, the first Grabbys - formerly known as Adult Erotic Gay Video Awards - were given on May 29, 1999. This year the award show is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The 2019 Grabbys Award Show is May 25, to highlight talent and performances. The Grabbys will, once again, be held at the Metro Theater (3730 N. Clark Street) in Lakeview, with doors opening at 6 p.m.
"For a split-second, I considered cancelling (the 2019 Grabbys), but then realized Mark would want the show to go on. He enjoyed celebrating the porn industry and recognizing all the hard work that goes into making porn, both in front of and behind the camera," said Bridges, 50, who lives in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood and remains the publisher of GRAB.
"I have something very special planned at the show (to honor Nagel) ... it's a surprise for the audience."
Nagel was in charge of all porn reviews for GRAB and the head judge for the Grabbys.
"This year's show is going to be emotional, to say the least; however, we have a great line up of co-hosts: Beaux Banks, Calvin Banks, Ryan Rose and Johnny V," Bridges said. "There's no doubt in my mind Chi-Chi LaRue and Honey West will make it yet another fabulous show.
"The Grabbys are the longest consecutively running (gay) porn awards show in the world, (with) the very first Grabbys held in the theater at Man's Country
. (The event) quickly out-grew that space, (moving to) Circuit Nightclub
, (which is now Fantasy Nightclub) for the third year."
The Grabbys are unlike the similar Gay Video News Awards on the West Coast, which is only open by invitation to participants and journalists. Tickets for the Chicago-based Grabbys are available to the public for purchase, allowing fans to meet and mingle with the adult film stars. This year's show is expected to draw at least 500 fans, with attendees from all around the world.
Tickets went on-sale for the 2019 Grabbys on Wednesday, April 17 – and there already are international attendees coming from Thailand and elsewhere.
The 2019 Grabbys will feature 24 awards and four Wall of Fame honorees. There will be a new award presented this year, The Justfor.fans Award. Members of this popular site can vote online
for their favorite performer, with 37 nominees to choose from.
"We are very excited to work with the Grabbys this year, and so happy they have decided to include an award for non-studio content. They are the first U.S. award-show to do so. The JustFor.Fans Award will be voted on by the JFF community and features a diverse set of nominees," said Dominic, of Justfor.fans.
Bridges added, "I love this award because the fans get to choose who they want to win, also the Squirt.org Award (as) fans get to pick their favorite porn star and the Steamworks
Fan Favorite Movie is also voted on by the fans."
There are numerous parties leading up to, and after, the Grabbys. Such as, the Grabbys Opening Party at Hydrate on May 23 with Chi-Chi LaRue handling the DJ duties, starting at 9 p.m. There will be a Friday, May 24, Grabby-related event from 6-9 p.m. at Sidetrack
, followed by a Nakedsword/Falcon party at Lucky Horseshoe
from 9 p.m. to midnight.
The official after-party on Saturday, May 25 is at Charlie's.
There also will be a Sunday cook-out at Replay in Boystown on Sunday, May 26, starting at 2 p.m.
Tickets for the 2019 GRABBYS are now on-sale. You can purchase online at GrabbyAwards.com
or by calling 773-857-2262.