Gay Sex in the 1970s: “The most libertine period that the Western world has known since Rome.”
March 14, 6.30–8.00pm, Room 9204, The Graduate Center, CUNY
A showing of Joseph Lovett’s 2006 documentary “Gay Sex in the 1970s” which explores the important role that “promiscuous” sexual activity played during the seventies and how through it gay men explored their sexuality and how it helped gay men to bond. Meet the director and some of the men in the film: Joseph Lovett, director of Gay Sex in the Seventies and others.
Suggested readings: Andrew Holleran, “Notes on Promiscuity,” from Ground Zero (William Morrow & Company, 1988); Edward Delph, “The Erotic Oases,” pp. 19–34, from Edward William Delph, The Silent Community (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1978).
Pornographic Filmmakers Document the Gay Male Sexual Subculture of the 1970s
March 21, 6.30–8.00pm, Room 9204, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Soon after Stonewall a group of early gay porn filmmakers shot porn films that documented gay sexual culture: men having sex in porn theaters, bathhouses, the subways, and the piers. See clips from these films. Whit Strub, the editor of Porn Chic and the Sex Wars and Jeffrey Escoffier, author of Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore will discuss these important “archival and historical documents” of sexuality.
Suggested reading: Jeffrey Escoffier, “Sex in the Seventies: Gay Porn Cinema as an Archive in the History of Sexuality,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 26, no. 1 (January 2017): 88–113.
At the Gaiety: Strippers, Hookers and Others
March 28, 6.30–8.00pm, Room 9204, The Graduate Center, CUNY
When the Gaiety Theater, just off Times Square, closed in 2005 it had been a gay burlesque theater for almost 30 years. Pioneer pornographer, Jack Deveau’s last film, Times Square Strip, was shot there. Come see clips from the film and meet porn stars Rod Barry, Will Clark, Aaron Tanner and other performers who had danced at the Gaiety over the years. Kalle Westerling will introduce and moderate.
Suggested Reading: Richard Tewksbury, “A Dramaturgical Analysis of Male Strippers,” The Journal of Men’s Studies 2, no. 4 (May 1994): 325–342; Jeffrey Escoffier, “Porn Star/Stripper/Escort – Economic and Sexual Dynamics in a Sex Work Career,” Journal of Homosexuality 53, no 1–2 (2007): 173–200; Joseph R. G. DeMarco, “Power and Control in Gay Strip Clubs,” Journal of Homosexuality 53, no. 1–2 (2007): 111–127; Elizabeth Redden, “Stripping His Way to a Ph.D.,” Inside Higher Ed, June 23, 2008.
The Great Porn Theaters of New York: Adonis Memories
April 4, 6.30–8.00pm, Room 9205, The Graduate Center, CUNY
New York had at least 40 porn theaters where soft-core and hardcore porn—straight and gay films—played, and where gay sex frequently took place. The Adonis was one of the grandest and one of the last to close in 1989. This session will see excerpts from the documentary production of the Adonis Memories. Original cast members and playwright Alan Bounville will perform excerpts and discuss what happened at the Adonis—which one former visitor characterized as a “fuck palace” and an “Odeon of cum.”
Suggested reading: “Lost Adult Theaters of New York: Then and Now,” The Rialto Report (Blog), May 8, 2016; Samuel R. Delany, pp. 1–18 from Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (New York: New York University Press, 1999); Andrew Holleran, “Ground Zero,” from Ground Zero (New York: William Morrow & Company, 1988).
Closing the Bathhouses and the Rise of the Commercial Sex Party
April 18, 6.30–8.00pm, Room 9204, The Graduate Center, CUNY
The promiscuity of the gay male sexual subculture was widely blamed for the spread of HIV and in 1985 the NYC Health Department closed most of the bathhouses in New York, soon private commercial sex parties took the place of bathhouses and other public sex venues. Guest speaker: Etienne Meunier, Columbia University.
Suggested reading: Douglas Crimp, “How to Have Promiscuity in an Epidemic,” from AIDS: Cultural Analysis, Cultural Activism, edited by Douglas Crimp (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988), 237–270; Etienne Meunier, “No Attitude, No Standing Around: The Organization of Social and Sexual Interaction at a Gay Male Private Sex Party in New York City,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 43, no. 4 (May 2014): 685–695.