Friday, June 28, 2002

gay pride

So, sometime after I turned 18, but before I was legally allowed to drink (21) and go to gay bars, I started going to the gay porno theatre in Chicago called The Bijou. While I certainly took part in the various sexual goings-on, I spent much much more time in the dark theatre, watching the various films, sometimes multiple times in one night. I spent a lot of time contemplating life, the big questions like "will anyone ever love me?", and the small ones like "is that guy groping himself over there looking in my direction?" And getting some kind of reassurance by watching these unapologetic gay men on the big screen, my heroes Jack Wrangler, Al Parker, Richard Locke, etc., having sex with other men. One of the main reasons I fell in love with the Joe Gage films was that he had this kind of "pop masculinity" as he once called it, in his work - not just a variety of natural looking bodies, but his men were easy-going, who took life, and sex, in stride. And then, as I've shown here before, (but I love this clip from L.A. Tool & Die), the little bits of playful, easy-going gay pride, although not explicity stated in those terms, that shows up in his work, as well. The scene in El Paso Wrecking Corp. when the homophobe in the bar calls Fred Halsted a faggot, and Richard Locke non-chalantly says "Smile when you say that, Mister" is another example of how these films helped me have a healthy, sex-positive, and for lack of a better word, "proud" outlook.