“Desperate as the night moves on, just a look and a whisper, and they’re gone…” – Bruce Springsteen, “Jungleland”
My friend and colleague Den passed away on Thursday; I only heard about it this morning from an email Dirty Bob sent over.
I’ve known Den since 1996 or so; we’d see each other once a year at the trade shows (ECVS or, later, AEE) and we’d be in email contact often.
Den had some health issues back in 2006 which slowed him down physically (and eventually, a few years later, made it impossible for him to travel to Vegas for AEE). It was around that time that Den approached me about taking over hosting responsibilities for his site and making sure it would continue to exist after he was gone. Luckily for all of us, this first event was just a scare, and we were granted five more years worth of reviews.
Shortly before Den announced his retirement, he called to tell me that he’d gotten some bad news from his doctor and it would seem that his time left was short; but he was adamant that no one know about his disease until after he was gone. Like everything he did, he didn’t want to draw attention to himself. He wanted to go on his own terms; I convinced him to tell a few mutual friends who lived nearby so at least he would have someone close. He agreed and a few days later he wrote up his retirement announcement.
He was very concerned that his site not go away, and I assured him — as I did back in 2006 — that his site (and his legacy) will stay online as long as the IAFD does (which I hope is forever.)
Since I’ve been a pretty behind-the-scenes guy in recent years, I am flattered he thought enough of me to induct me into his Hall of Fame.
Attempts at writing much more are failing right now, so I will leave with some links to some nice writeups in the trades and his colleagues, so here are the links. I hope to write a proper tribute soon.
Gram Ponante: Den of Inequity: Legendary Porn Reviewer Dies
Roger Pipe’s Tribute to Den: Den Retires, All Hail the King
Den’s Retirement Announcement: CAVR remains On-line!
This is how I remember Den (he’s the one who doesn’t look like Buttman): at the ADT Party in the Rivera in 2003 just hanging back and smiling at his good fortune to be in the same room with people he loved watching and talking to. (Den’s write up here)
Here’s another shot from a few moments after, which is notable if only for having Den and Peter van Aarle (in the white IAFD sweatshirt on the left) in the same shot… (and apologies to Stagliano for catching him mid-blink.)
Den, I hope you and Peter get to meet up again wherever you are.