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408                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               Parallel to the emergence of gay bars as the first gay art galleries, gay
            movie theaters were film galleries screening the moving image of newly
            liberated homosexuality. In the Titanic 1970s, gay movie theaters were
            erotic performance-art spaces. Movie-palace sex (on film and live in the
            audience) was a gay community social phenomenon that went extinct
            with the 1982 arrival of VCRs and HIV that emptied the theaters, sent
            everyone home alone, and destroyed the high concept of group sexuality
            celebrated on screen and in the seats, aisles, and toilets. A man hasn’t
            lived until he’s had orgy sex on the stage behind the giant screen in a gay
            porn theater with the dots of Technicolor light flickering through making
            him and his partners shimmer as if they themselves were glimmering on
            celluloid. That’s a “gay film festival”!
               Live sex also occurred on stage. Continuing a sexed up version of the
            G-rated vaudeville tradition that was very much alive in first-run family
            movie theaters in the 1930s and 1940s, gay film theaters often included
            erotic stage shows between features. It was a kind of performance art of
            male burlesque. See my article, “Pumping Roger: A Night at the Nob Hill
            Theater,” in Drummer 21 (March 1978) and my review of the live show
            starring Colt model Clint Lockner and Dan Pace, the star of the Gage
            Brothers’ L. A. Tool and Die. (Because I was exiting Drummer, my article,
            “In These Last Days of the American Empire: Dan Pace & Clint Lockner
            Together,” was published as part of my “Virtual Drummer” collection in
            the premiere issue of Skinflicks, Volume 1, Number 1, January 1980.)
               Anthropologically, gay films of the 1970s are lightning caught in a
            jar. They were Mondo Cane “documentaries” anticipating “reality TV”
            showing the way we were. When anthropologist Margaret Mead died in
            Manhattan in 1978, was she headed to the Adonis Theater to add one
            more culture to her Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies? The
            gay film genre of the 1960s and 1970s was a kind of educational cinema
            verite that taught newly uncloseted primitive audiences the new ways to
            self-fashion gay identity and have more exotic sex. The Gage Brothers shot
            primers of masculine-identified eros.
               Most gay movies of the 1970s were scripted silent films with music
            added. Not until the advent of the video camera did silent gay cinema
            find it could talk; but by then it had nothing to say except the unscripted
            “Yeah. Uh-huh. Give it to me. I’m gonna cum!”
               That decade’s cinema silence is one reason the 1970s is often misin-
            terpreted by latter-day revisionists who don’t “get” the Titanic 70s and
            the original-recipe sexual revolution before it was turned into gay politics.
            They wonder about us survivors whose memory of the 1970s is akin to
            William Wordsworth who wrote of the joys of the French Revolution:
            “Bliss was it that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.”

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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