Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore

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Running Press, May 26, 2009 - Performing Arts - 368 pages
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Hardcore porn—both the straight and gay varieties—entered mainstream American culture in the 1970s as the sexual revolution swept away many of the cultural inhibitions and legal restraints on explicit sexual expression. The first porn movie ever to be reviewed by Variety, the entertainment industry's leading trade journal, was Wakefield Poole's Boys in the Sand (1971), a sexually-explicit gay movie shot on Fire Island with a budget of 4000. Moviegoers, celebrities and critics—both gay and straight—flocked to see Boys in the Sand when it opened in mainstream movie theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Within a year, Deep Throat, a heterosexual hardcore feature opened to rave reviews and a huge box office—exceeding that of many mainstream Hollywood features.

Almost all of those involved in making “commercial” gay pornographic movies began as amateurs in a field that had virtually never existed before, either as art or commerce. Many of their “underground” predecessors had repeatedly suffered arrest and other forms of legal harassment. There was no developed gay market and any films made commercially were shown in adult x-rated theaters. After the Stonewall riots and the emergence of the gay liberation movement in 1969, a number of entrepreneurs began to make gay adult movies for the new mail order market. The gay porn film industry grew dramatically during the next thirty years and transformed the way men—gay men in particular—conceived of masculinity and their sexuality. Bigger Than Life tells that story.

 

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This is well worth reading if you are all interested in the history of gay life since Stonewall and the causes and effects of the sexual revolution of the 1960's and 1970's. I wish the editor had done ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction 1
1
Passports to Fantasy
9
Blue 11
11
Beefcake in Babylon 47
47
Paradise and the City of Orgies 89
89
Porn Capital of America 117
117
The Real and the Fantastic 147
147
Death and Desire
175
Porn Noir 227
227
Sexual Spectacle
253
The Perfect Orgy 255
255
Star Power 289
289
Lost in Fantasy 325
325
The End of Gay Hardcore Films 345
345
INDEX 349
349
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 365
365

Sex in the Ruins 177
177
Real Men and Superstars 205
205
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 367
367
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About the author (2009)

Jeffrey Escoffier has written on sexuality, gay history, music, and dance. His most recent book is Sexual Revolution, an anthology of the most important political and critical writing from the 1960s and 70s about sex. Booklist hailed it as “a definitive review of the most influential writing [on sexuality] of the last half-century,” and the Library Journal called it “the definitive anthology on the sexual revolution.” Jeffrey has worked as a developmental editor and a literary agent. He currently works and lives in New York City.

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