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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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Toward a Gay Mainstream

Toward a Gay Mainstream

(p.117) Three Toward a Gay Mainstream
Coming Together

Ryan Powell

University of Chicago Press

This chapter looks at three independent drama features that sought to make stories about sociosexual cultures organized around male-male desire accessible to larger audiences. It situates this within two contexts: the industrial history of independent cinema in the early to mid 1970s that saw new kinds of film production that straddled the line between major and minor forms of production, and the consolidation of political and social science discourses positioning LGBTQ+ people as a distinct population or demographic. The adaptation of Richard Armory’s novel Song of the Loon (1970) engages with complex paradigms of race, ethnicity and gender through countercultural tropes such as the white performances of “Indianness” and the drug trip as a vehicle for consciousness-raising. Some of My Best Friends Are … (1971) firmly embeds gay sociality within urban iconographies, deploying typologies of race, class, gender and region to figure, even if problematically so, a sense of collective organization. The romantic drama A Very Natural Thing (1974) relies on a heavily racialized version of gay liberation that naturalizes an individualistic whiteness set against a threatening backdrop of sociosexual perversity that is spatialized as part of non-white cultural geographies.

Keywords:   Queer Cinema, Song of the Loon, Some of My Best Friends Are, A Very Natural Thing, Independent Cinema, Whiteness, Mainstream, LGBTQ+ history, Revisionist Western, Boys in the Band

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