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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Liberation Porn

Liberation Porn

(p.164) Four Liberation Porn
Coming Together

Ryan Powell

University of Chicago Press

This chapter looks at a strand of seventies gay hardcore porn films that operated as a site for gay liberation politics and philosophy. It considers how elements such as music, spatiality, and performance are organized within utopian frameworks meant to elaborate the sociosexual potentials of gay liberation, premised on new ways of situating popular hardcore sex tropes in relation to couple, group and public formation. The chapter shows how hardcore tropes such as the come shot and what Linda Williams has called “maximum visibility” are further mediated to work within a gay liberationist ethos that emphasizes polymorphous perversity, the socializing capacities of non-monogamy, and activities that eschew divisions between public and private space. This chapter also considers how the cinematic spaces of gay hardcore and actual spaces, such as the porn theater and the bathhouse, may operate in homologous relation to one another in how they orchestrate sociosexual activities. It explores Boys in the Sand (1971) within the context of both black power and gay liberation movement activities of the early 1970s, alongside the diptych L.A. Plays Itself/Sex Garage (1972), the agitprop of Jean-Claude Van Itallie’s “The Office” from American Cream (1972), and Joe Gage’s popular “Working Man Trilogy” (1976-79).

Keywords:   hardcore, black power, gay liberation, maximum visiblility, polymorphous perversity, Joe Gage, Fred Halsted, Jean-Claude Van Itallie, Wakefield Poole, Peter de Rome, Boys in the Sand

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