Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Webby Award Time

Webby Award Time

Last night was the 15th annual Webby Awards ceremony. Let's pause for a moment--shall we?--and remember back to 1997, the first year of the Webby Awards...when The Gallery of the Absurd was a big winner.

Yep, The Gallery of the Absurd won a Webby Award. The first week of March 1997 I went to San Francisco to attend the ceremonies, and I walked away with a Webby. In fact, The Gallery of the Absurd swept the entire "Weird" category, winning both the Critics' Choice and the People's Choice votes. I felt highly honored, especially because I was up against some very good weird sites (take a look at them on the Webby's past winners page). I even beat The Onion, if you can believe it. What's more, the Gallery was at that time housed on one of Purdue University's servers--I was in graduate school when I founded the Gallery of the Absurd--and I was getting more web traffic than I'm sure the school wanted. Soon after the award, I moved the Gallery to private domain.

My time at the 1997 Webby Awards was great fun! How much fun, you ask? Well, see the pictures below and you'll get a sense of what happened there. Special thanks to my good friend, Randy Crain, for taking most of these pictures.

Here we are before the ceremony, me with my friends Randy and Kelli. Randy is looking at an issue of The Web magazine that they gave out free to all guests. I have no idea why I have that expression on my face. Perhaps I sat on something that wasn't to my liking.


Below, that's me on the right up on stage accepting the award. The metallic babe to the left was the funky mistress of ceremonies, Cintra Wilson. Nothing against Cintra, but I had no idea who she was. Now the Webby Awards are such a big deal that they have some pretty big names who attend. This year, Lisa Kudrow hosted the ceremonies.


Here I am right after having won. Despite appearances to the contrary, I'm not hopped up on goof balls. I'm just happy to have won the Webby Award.


After the ceremony, the event organizers asked all winners to go into the VIP lounge so that we could talk with the media. In the photo below, the dude with the microphone was from PBS. There were a lot of interviews that night, and they all seemed to flow together. But I do remember this guy being a little too happy and excited for his own good.


Below is a quick shot of my reaction after my award broke--that's right broke--and half of it fell to the ground. Luckily, nothing cracked or shattered. When I got back home, I fixed it with a little epoxy. However, a Webby Awards producer standing near me got on my case for holding the award "incorrectly" (as if the award came with special instructions). It was kind of funny, in a way. When the marble base fell off and onto the floor, all of the media cameras immediately pointed in that direction. I guess that's what you get when you try to use a hot glue gun to attach two heavy pieces of non-porous material (marble and glass)...which is what the Webby people apparently did. I hope their awards this year are more sturdy.

The broken award.


The VIP lounge is where all of the celebrities in attendance mingled with the winners. Here's an off-centered shot of me shaking hands with the San Francisco major at the time, Willie Brown. I have no idea what he's doing with his tongue, but it frightens me even now just looking at the picture.


Here I am with a much more enjoyable celebrity, this time web star Danni Ashe, the beautiful webmistress of one of the earliest Internet porn site, Danni's Hard Drive. She really is a friendly and unassuming person.

Another one with me and Danni.


The black and white picture below was taken by a retro-looking guy going for the Jimmy Olson look and with a nice old camera. This is me with my friends Lisa, Kelli, and Randy.


After a full evening of schmoozing, boozing, and not losing, here I am standing outside of Bimbo's 365 Club (where the ceremony was held) with my broken award, one piece in each hand. I have no idea what that red splotch is down at the bottom of the picture. Perhaps the aura of webmaster joy? Pride? Late night indigestion?


So there you go, my experiences at the 1997 Webby Awards. My fifteen minutes of fame.

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