Episodes

  • This week on the podcast, we’re celebrating the release of Altered Innocence’s new Blu-ray release of Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.’s seminal PASSING STRANGERS and FORBIDDEN LETTERS by taking a look at his 1984 film, DADDY DEAREST. The third and final film in Bressan’s self-described ‘personal/porno trilogy,’ DADDY DEAREST tells the story of Edward Thompson, a gay porn director with artistic aspirations who finds his personal life and private fantasies bleeding into the production of his latest film. One of Bressan’s most ambitious explorations of fantasy, memory, and reality, DADDY DEAREST is a hidden gem waiting to be rediscovered and a fitting conclusion to a gay film trilogy unlike any other.

    There’s a lot to talk about with this one and over the course of the episode we’ll use several early screenplay drafts to trace the development of the film and its core themes, explore the way it (perhaps misleadingly) exploits the then-nascent Daddy phenomenon, and place it in context with the rest of Bressan’s filmography.

  • This week on the podcast, we wrap up our month in Paris with the film that trailers described as being “the gayest… Frenchest… French gay porn film which will fill your heart’s desire,” Jean Estienne’s 1978 romantic drama, ET... DIEU CRÉA LES HOMMES ("AND... GOD CREATED MEN). The first feature-length effort by a poster artist and filmmaker whose previous film was banned for “degrading the human spirit,” ET... DIEU CRÉA LES HOMMES is an unheralded lost masterpiece of French gay cinema.

    Over the course of this episode, we’ll dig a little deeper into the French gay film scene of the late 1970s, explore the erotic possibilities of a landline phone, and celebrate an early Fistmas in April.

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  • Bienvenue! This month on the podcast we’re going international by taking a look at two films shot and set in gay Paree. Up first is Peter de Rome’s 1974 romantic comedy, ADAM & YVES. If you know the film, it’s probably for at least one of two reasons: that it was Peter de Rome’s first feature-length narrative film or that it technically includes Greta Garbo’s final screen appearance — yes, really. What the film actually captures is something between a pas de deux and a folie à deux — is it a grand romance or it shared delusion? —played as a guessing game of seemingly endless film and cultural references.

    As an Ask Any Buddy first, we’ll be hearing from filmmaker Peter de Rome himself through interviews recorded during the production of the 2014 documentary, PETER DE ROME: GRANDFATHER OF GAY PORN. We also discuss the troubles he and Jack Deveau encountered making the film in France, its groundbreaking all-Black orgy, and how this film is remarkably, the first international gay hardcore feature.

  • The lines between reality, art, and fantasy all blur together this week on the podcast as we take a look at one-and-done director Enrico Montenegro’s FORBIDDEN PORTRAITS. Sebastian is a Montreal-based artist whose expertise is drawing male erotica. When he randomly receives an envelope of nudes from an adoring fan in New York, Sebastian immediately becomes obsessed with this enigmatic figure who, of course, forgot to leave a return address. His subsequent erotic fantasies and reveries lead him to the nocturnal erotic labyrinths of the Village in search of his muse, John Bolton (played by Bosch Wagner). Will he find his man?

    A playful, horny, and mature adult film influenced by the work of Arthur J. Bressan, Jr., FORBIDDEN PORTRAITS has unfortunately languished in obscurity for decades, unavailable on home video since the 1980s, with no 16mm prints confirmed to exist. We’re happy to discuss the film’s plot in detail and bring to light some information on the mysterious director Enrico Montenegro, who was associated with fellow filmmaker Joe Gage.

    In this episode we’ll discuss the true star of this film: the sketched portraits (and hands) of Robert W. Richards, the famous NYC commercial artist whose art and writing was a fixture in several gay publications at the time, including Honcho and Stallion. We also profile one of the genre’s few real-life couples – Roy Garrett and Bob Shane – who indulge in what can only be described as the purest form of boyfriend sex. We also touch upon the anal acrobatics of star Bosch Wagner and also ponder why the film’s main credited performers are otherwise unknowns.

  • This week on the podcast, we explore one of the strangest and most outrageous gay films of the 1970s: Red Drayton’s HOLLYWOOD COWBOY. With a cast and crew assembled from filmmaker Pat Rocco’s fan club SPREE, HOLLYWOOD COWBOY feels like both an undiscovered midnight movie and a hardcore variation on the troupe’s original gay-themed stage plays. Joey Daniels stars as the eponymous Cowboy, the proverbial new kid in town who quickly finds himself thrust into Los Angeles’s seamy pornographic underbelly shortly after stepping off the bus from Texas. A chance bar brawl leads him to the benevolent Pops, a former filmmaker whose career ended in dark scandal. As the two form a platonic bond, Cowboy sets off on a quixotic mission to avenge his disgraced elderly friend and help him make one last movie. Will he succeed?

    In this episode we’ll uncover the likely identity of the mysterious one-and-done filmmaker Red Drayton — and find out how this film was truly a family affair. We also touch on the longevity of Pat Rocco’s fan club, revisit the idiosyncratic court-reporter-turned-filmmaker David Allen and his equally-bonkers THE LIGHT FROM THE SECOND STORY WINDOW, and also note the influence of John Schlesinger’s MIDNIGHT COWBOY on the genre.

    This week on the podcast, we explore one of the strangest and most outrageous gay films of the 1970s: Red Drayton’s HOLLYWOOD COWBOY. With a cast and crew assembled from filmmaker Pat Rocco’s fan club SPREE, HOLLYWOOD COWBOY feels like both an undiscovered midnight movie and a hardcore variation on the troupe’s original gay-themed stage plays. Joey Daniels stars as the eponymous Cowboy, the proverbial new kid in town who quickly finds himself thrust into Los Angeles’s seamy pornographic underbelly shortly after stepping off the bus from Texas. A chance bar brawl leads him to the benevolent Pops, a former filmmaker whose career ended in dark scandal. As the two form a platonic bond, Cowboy sets off on a quixotic mission to avenge his disgraced elderly friend and help him make one last movie. Will he succeed?

    In this episode we’ll uncover the likely identity of the mysterious one-and-done filmmaker Red Drayton — and find out how this film was truly a family affair. We also touch on the longevity of Pat Rocco’s fan club, revisit the idiosyncratic court-reporter-turned-filmmaker David Allen and his equally-bonkers THE LIGHT FROM THE SECOND STORY WINDOW, and also note the influence of John Schlesinger’s MIDNIGHT COWBOY on the genre.

  • When Tom DeSimone’s CATCHING UP begins, two lovers are in crisis. The older man, Frank, tells his younger partner Dennis that their relationship has grown stagnant after a mere three months of living together. Frank’s solution? Spice things up by opening their relationship! At first outraged by this suggestion, the doe-eyed, yet well-hung Dennis (Keith Anthoni, here in his screen debut) rises up to the challenge by throwing himself into a journey of sexual maturation and, well, CATCHING UP. From cruisey movie theater balconies to kinky personals, the romantic comedy-drama of CATCHING UP manages to resonate with relationship issues and tropes still common today.

    Critically lauded at the time of its release, CATCHING UP was a watershed film for filmmaker Tom DeSimone. Its success allowed him to finally make the jump beyond pornography — and the stigma that went with it — into more legitimate mainstream films. In this episode, we focus on this, as well as DeSimone’s relationship with Hand in Hand’s Jack Deveau, and the unlikely college education of one of the film’s beefcake stars. We also mull over why the film has been somewhat forgotten over the years, especially compared to some of DeSimone’s other work.

  • Somewhere between RASHOMON and a telenovela, Jack Deveau’s FIRE ISLAND FEVER does what many of us wish we could at this time of year: launch from mid-winter chills to summertime splendor. Featuring a supporting cast of New York gay entertainment grand dames, FIRE ISLAND FEVER takes us to the scandals of Cherry Grove, as well as the men who came to the seaside village to find themselves. Our story not only follows the travails of tumultuous couple and beach house renters Ron and Rick, but also the temporary lovers they take up out of spite along the way—as well as a third roommate who may or may not have had an acid-induced romantic experience with a portrait he imagined into being.

    While maybe not one of Hand In Hand’s best-known features, FIRE ISLAND FEVER offers a comedic and engrossing glimpse at a true gay getaway. (And, at the very least, it’s worth comparing the bustling, zeitgeist-y, cliquish portrayal of Fire Island that Deveau provides in this film to the outdoorsy, nearly pastoral depiction Wakefield Poole offered just a few years prior!) In this episode, we discuss this film’s place within Hand In Hand’s trilogy tribute to Fire Island, consider the obscure film knowledge and campy wordplay peppered in throughout, and wonder whether the movie’s truly mind-boggling amount of plot also covered up for some performance fatigue. We also appreciate AAB staple and genuine thespian Garry Hunt, theorize about the film’s confusing marketing campaign, and remember another classic director’s Fire Island series.

  • Wakefield Poole’s Boys in the Sand wasn’t the first gay porn film, nor was it star Casey Donovan’s screen debut. It wasn’t even the first gay film to be be shot on Fire Island. But its runaway success and crossover appeal marked a turning point in the nation’s growing gay consciousness and collective pornographic fantasy — not to mention establishing Wakefield Poole as one of the leading figures of the new movement. That said, BOYS IN THE SAND holds up as a lush, heady, and yes, fully versatile romp through the salt-breeze, sand-bar idyll of Fire Island, that gay oasis just a couple of hours away from Manhattan.

    Over the course of this week’s episode, we’ll take a look at the unlikely career trajectories and chance circumstances that led Wakefield Poole and Casey Donovan into the adult film world — and each other. We’ll also dispel some myths about the film’s production and explore the groundbreaking marketing and distribution campaign that fueled a genuine groundswell of intrigue and fascination. By the end of the show, you’ll understand while we still seem to be reckoning with the impact of BOYS IN THE SAND five decades after its original release.

  • Guess who’s back? The podcast returns for a special holiday Fistmas treat, with one of the roughest films we’ve covered: Roger Earl’s BORN TO RAISE HELL. Filmed with an unflinching documentary feel, Earl’s film comes with a disclaimer that it is 'based on a psychological study of a sadomasochistic relationship between adult men.' Quite an understatement for a film that features golden showers, ruddy beaten asses, alligator clamps, and — yes — brutal fisting. We’ll go in-depth on the Brazilian leather icon and star sadist, Val Martin; discuss the cyclical influence of Fred Halsted and Earl; and learn why the film is banned from screening in L.A. to this very day.

    And speaking of L.A., we also take a deep dive into one of the most notorious chapters in the city's queer history: a 1976 charity "slave auction" that resulted in the arrest of 40 leathermen, including many of the principal cast and crew of BORN TO RAISE HELL, Fred Halsted, and the staff of Drummer magazine. We cover the raid from its initial discovery via a postal inspection informant to detailed reports of the auction to its the accused’s lengthy legal battle.

    This is a corker of an episode — sit back, grab a recycled beer, rest your legs on a willing sub, and listen!

  • Happy Halloween, everyone! We wanted to cap off Spooky Season with a true classic—and so we’re covering one of the most beloved films in the adult male genre. FALCONHEAD II throws us back into Michael Zen’s haunting realm of narcissistic self love, but with a few key twists. We’re no longer in a trippy 70’s atmosphere but, instead, a foreboding 80’s new wave space, complete with lush dark synths. We follow Derek as he’s thrown into a journey literally to hell and back, one replete with tempting cherry twinks, bearded brides, dick twins, and tattooed love boys.

    In this episode, we dive into what led Zen to make this sequel nearly a decade after the original, as well as the ways FALCONHEAD II builds off of the Orpheus myth to explore gay narcissism in new ways. After discussing distinctive tattoos and the tabloid notoriety of the titular actor, we consider whether we personally prefer the first or second chapter of the Falconhead myth. Regardless of which one we like more, both movies are truly artistic—and truly hot—classics that you should scout out.

    And while you’re still in the Halloween spirit, make sure to check out the rest of our Spooky Season selections from this year and last year! (It turns out ghost dick and haunted hole was more popular a sub-genre that we thought.) You’ll get to hear our coverage of not only the first FALCONHEAD, but also several other gems, such as the psychedelic doppelgänger tale THE DESTROYING ANGEL, the bizarrely darling GAYRACULA—and our *free* bonus on SEX DEMON.

    Happy listening—and watch out for fangs.

  • Spooky Season is in full force with this week’s episode: Linus Terri’s horny phantom melodrama WE’LL MEET AGAIN! Don’t worry if you’re more of a Care Bear than a horror hound, since this movie has more in common with an episode of GHOST WHISPERER than Terri’s previous work, the recently-discussed SEX DEMON. (Which, make sure you check out that episode if you want a fuller story on the precocious Terri’s winding and wondrous career.)

    Over the course of the episode, we discuss how subtle details in adult films can reflect major shifts in the study of gay history, impeccably framed dance sequences, and the usefulness of downer endings. (Don’t worry, there’s also ghost dick.)

    We also have a special treat for you: excerpts from our interview with WE’LL MEET AGAIN star Marc Paris! Marc graciously told us how he got involved with the film, connecting a lot of dots for us about the New York dancer scene in the process. He also told us about his life in theatre after the movies—and how you sometimes you can’t really shake off the past.

    If you are in the L.A. area, make sure to get your tickets for Terri’s unearthed classic, SEX DEMON. It is being screened for the first time in four decades at Dynasty Typewriter, thanks to our friends at Dirty Looks. Even better: Evan is going to be at this screening! Grab a seat and prepare for a truly exhilarating time.

  • Happy Spooky Season, everyone! In the spirit of being more treat than trick, we’re releasing this bonus episode to everyone!

    And boy, do we have a treat for you: we’re discussing the previously-lost possession film SEX DEMON. Truly more interesting than THE EXORCIST—it knows when to actually be funny and scary—and building off the suppressed demonic classic ABBY, SEX DEMON has not been seen for forty years. That is, until now: our host Evan came across this holy grail in the middle of sourcing and preserving dozens of other gay adult classics. Without spoiling this treasure, we discuss the film’s precocious director, his many lives in entertainment, and the film’s interesting take on sexual possession and May-September romance.

    Now, as people return to the theaters, we’re finding places to screen SEX DEMON. If you live in New York City or L.A., great news: we have screenings in your cities at the end of the month! Tune in to see where you can find this gay horror thriller.

    PLUS: We have excerpts from our interview with Vinegar Syndrome co-founder Joe Rubin. Joe talked with us about the challenges of preserving adult films, the differences in vintage hetero and all-male film, and the need to truly support the archival work you enjoy.

    None of this would be possible—finding rare films, preserving and digitizing prints, heavy research and consistent production—without your support. If you like our work and want to keep seeing it—as well as get amazing perks like these bonus episodes—please join our Patreon, and please spread the word. (And thanks to all of you who already do.) You make this possible.

  • Have we got a surprise for you this week, listeners! On this episode, we discuss Hand in Hand’s ode to itself GOOD HOT STUFF. Part cheeky documentary, part meta-history, and part outright salvage job, GOOD HOT STUFF takes us through the young studio’s early artistic successes and previews its raunchy upcoming creations. Along the way, we meet an adorable narrator with an incredibly thick mid-Atlantic drawl, see some of the men who made magic behind the scenes through editing and scoring—and see an excerpt from an unfinished Scheherazade ripoff with a patently wacky backstory.

    But that’s not all: we also have a conversation with author and filmmaker William E. Jones about GOOD HOT STUFF! The movie played a pivotal role in his previous novel 'I’m Open to Anything'—and we discuss where his and his protagonist’s relation to the film differ. We also have a chance to discuss with Jones regionalism in porn, his enduring fascination with Fred Halsted, and his latest novel 'I Should Have Known Better' (now available through We Heard You Like Books Press or many other retailers).

    Tune in and learn what makes this film much more than a clip package or a cheap ripoff of THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!—but, instead, a hot and artistic production in its own right.

  • What happens when a short story becomes a classic movie, which then becomes a radio play, and then a Broadway musical, and then a campy drag parody featuring the beefy one-time owner of the Gold’s Gym empire? You get Ray Harrison and the GGRC’s 1972 film ALL ABOUT ALICE.

    This week, we’re celebrating the American Genre Film Archive’s upcoming blu-ray collection of films by the GGRC—a Los Angeles gay social club that began making a series of increasingly elaborate drag parodies for fun on weekends in the early 1960s. These are truly hidden gems of queer cinema, especially the very rarely-screened ALL ABOUT ALICE, which was both the group’s most ambitious effort and its final film.

    Over the course of this episode, we talk about the difficulty in camping a camp classic, how quickly audience demand for hardcore solidified, and the joy of making art just to give your friends a few laughs. (Plus: the cross-generational bodybuilder appeal of Dakota.)

    ‘WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? and the Films of the Gay Girls Riding Club’ is due out later this month from the American Genre Film Archive and is currently available for pre-order at vinegarsyndrome.com.

  • This week on the podcast, we’re exposing ‘the eternal triangle of bi-sexuality’ and all the trials and tribulations that come with trying to have it… BOTH WAYS, directed by Jerry Douglas and released in 1975. Future disco queen Andrea True and Douglas regular Gerald Grant star in this sensitive drama (or is it a comedy?) as a married couple whose loving relationship is torn apart by the husband’s inability to choose between his wife and the blond bodybuilder he’s been seeing on the side. Who will he wind up with, and who will be hurt?

    Over the course of this episode, we’ll discuss Jerry Douglas’s earlier successes in the theatre world and the film’s many connections to his breakthrough play, TUBSTRIP; bisexuality in adult film; and whether or not the film might’ve worked better as a play.

  • This week on the podcast, we’re taking a look a title that many consider to be among the greatest all-male films ever made: Tom DeSimone’s SKIN DEEP. Released in the period after DeSimone’s mainstream slasher classic HELL NIGHT, SKIN DEEP tells the story of Eric, a porno writer who falls for Mark, a hustler he sees on the regular — but is he in love with the character or the man himself? A haunting chamber piece that plays more like a one-handed two-hander than it does a standard adult film, SKIN DEEP is a classic deserving of a wider audience.

    Over the course of this episode, we’ll explore the history of a shooting location that almost serves as a character in and of itself, dig into a whole new crop of superstar performers, and find out how the success of this film led directly to DeSimone’s retirement from the genre.

  • We’re back! This week we’re kicking off our second season by taking in the sights and studs of sunny California with William Higgins’s THE BOYS OF VENICE. Taking the form of a sexual travelogue, THE BOYS OF VENICE was truly a breakthrough film that helped usher in a new look and style that would come to dominate the all-male screen for years to come — and introduce a new stable of superstar performers including Kip Noll, Eric Ryan, Derrick Stanton, and Scott Taylor.

    Over the course of the episode, we’ll dive into William Higgins’ Texan background, discuss the roller disco craze that played heavily into the film’s advertising, and cringe over what has to be one of the most perilous sex scenes of the era — performed entirely on roller skates… you know, as you do.

  • This week on the podcast, we’re getting patriotic — or are we? — with a look at Rob Simple's 1972 film, AMERICAN CREAM. A satirical deconstruction of masculinity told in three unrelated loops, AMERICAN CREAM is among the stranger films to emerge from the early years of the genre.

    Over the course of this episode, we'll talk about the film's roots in experimental theatre, its (not so) mysterious creator, and how it actually managed to kill the power at Carnegie Hall. Also: we celebrate our one-year anniversary, reflecting on what we’ve learned in the 25+ films covered so far.

  • Tanned, sinewy, aloof — a few adjectives that only begin to describe Peter Berlin, the enigmatic star of Ignatio Rutkowski’s 1973 film NIGHTS IN BLACK LEATHER. Described as “combining the camp machismo of the leather set and [Berlin’s] own sense of comedy” by Foxylady magazine, NIGHTS IN BLACK LEATHER takes us on a sexual travelogue of San Francisco with our Teutonic lead star as guide. Dressed to the nines in his trademark taut leather look, Berlin’s romp through honky-tonk S/M bars, the wooded areas of San Francisco, and a party populated with drag queens helped establish the first-timer as a bonafide star.

    In this week’s episode, we discuss the the self-created personality and mythos surrounding Peter Berlin. We also touch on the influence of San Francisco’s S/M scene and Berlin’s own initial apathy towards his debut film.

  • Happy Pride! We’re kicking off June with a double-header: Arch Brown’s LOVE THY NEIGHBOR (1974) and Zachary Youngblood’s CELEBRATION (1978/1982). Although neither of these films may be a classic of the genre, both include vital footage of early Pride parades in New York City and San Francisco, pieces of queer life in 70s that you simply can’t find anywhere else. We consider what makes Pride such a great setting for gay porn, discuss the importance of sound editing in both sex and non-sex scenes — and consider literally two of the most head-scratchingly bizarre sex scenes we’ve ever encountered on film (and that’s saying a lot).

    Towards the end of the episode, our attention turns toward a really enraging recent development: eBay’s decision to end its “Adults Only” section. We talk about how eBay is hiding behind credit card company profits in the name of “protecting consumers,” how this is effectively another act of queer erasure — and what you can do and watch in this revival of the Tipper Gore era.