VENUE: Midtown Cinema
ADMISSION: $10 ($5 For Midtown Cinema Members)
Adults Only! Film contains explicit content!
Long before films like LOVE, SIMON and CALL ME BY YOUR NAME became common fare at the multiplex, the only places gay men could see their lives and lusts depicted on screen with any degree of honesty was at their local all-male adult cinema. From coming out stories to romances, melodramas to camp comedies, the hundreds of films churned out by the gay adult film industry throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s were a driving force behind the spread of gay culture and constitute a largely forgotten cinematic document of the era — films that were often shot in actual queer spaces, starred the people who frequented them, and then played back in movie theaters that doubled as safe communal spaces for members of the community.
ASK ANY BUDDY is a feature-length video companion to the Artforum ‘Best of 2018’ Instagram feed of the same name. The piece uses fragments from 126 theatrical feature films spanning the years 1968-1986 to create a kaleidoscopic snapshot of urban gay life in the era — or at least how it looked in the movies.
From casual tearoom cruising to actual police raids, ASK ANY BUDDY uses rare footage shot at dozens of real bathhouses, bars, movie theaters, pride parades and legendary hotspots like New York’s West Side Piers to explore both the sex film genre’s unique blend of fantasy and reality and its role in documenting a subculture that was just starting to come into visibility in the years immediately following the Stonewall Riots. The piece uses explicit (but not gratuitous!) footage to accurately depict the social practices of the time and the types of activities that actually went on at these locations.
ASK ANY BUDDY was created by Evan Purchell, a film historian whose work on the subject has led to collaborations with Dark Entries Records, Dirty Looks, and Vinegar Syndrome. He is currently conducting research for an upcoming book on the history of the gay adult film industry.
"Purchell has compiled the ultimate photo album, full of moving snapshots of what gay culture—from cruising to cuddling, from smoking to sucking, from letter writing to leather wearing—looked like in the 60s, 70s, and 80s." - Juan Barquin, Dim the House Lights