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Coming TogetherThe Cinematic Elaboration of Gay Male Life, 1945-1979$
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Ryan Powell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226634234

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226634401.001.0001

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The Cinematic Authoring of Gay Life

The Cinematic Authoring of Gay Life

(p.64) Two The Cinematic Authoring of Gay Life
Coming Together

Ryan Powell

University of Chicago Press

Between the late 1960s and the mid 1970s, films about male-male desire were, for the first time, produced for film programs and circulation in theatres across the U.S. This chapter argues that filmmakers, promoters, critics, audiences, and media activists all played a vital role in using authorship as a figurative paradigm through which to encourage affiliation with collective gay life at a moment when the term gay was becoming strongly associated with processes of gay liberation. Pink Narcissus (1971) utilized figures of homosexual anonymity, both authorial and social, within a progressive gay discourse that recast voyeurism as socializing: men sharing in the practice of gazing at other men. Luminous Procuress (1971), starring San Francisco drag collective the Cockettes, fostered a sensual, disorienting experience of sex and gender dissidence that joined audience and creators. The films of Peter de Rome organized spatiality to eschew the logic of the closet, instead showing male-desiring men such as de Rome circulating across an array of iconic and everyday locales. The prolific work of Pat Rocco and the many clubs, troupes, film productions and other social activities organized under his name extended a gay liberationist ethos of expansion that emphasized the vitality of everyday spaces.

Keywords:   Queer Cinema, Gay Cinema, Independent Cinema, Pink Narcissus, Cockettes, Peter de Rome, Pat Rocco, Gay Libertation, Film History, LGBTQ+ History

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