Originally published at SpoutBlog:
Lauren Wissot recommends five films for celebrating Stonewall in sexual style.
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Are you a supporter of gay marriage?
“I know nothing about it. I don’t follow that.”
Why doesn’t it interest you?
“The same reason heterosexual marriage doesn’t seem to interest me.”
–From “Questions for Gore Vidal” in “The New York Times Magazine,” 6/15/08.
Amen, sister. One of the perks of being queer is that you’re not expected to engage in unnatural acts like high school proms and monogamy. So in honor of the hedonistic right to our own guilt-free, queer Mardi Gras, here are some subversive suggestions that will get you in the mood and take you back to that more innocent, less commercial “Over The Rainbow” time.
For vintage gay porn nothing beats George Butler’s “Pumping Iron” (1977) – and not just because the governor of California unapologetically indulges in a big fat phallic joint straight to the camera. Ostensibly a smackdown between pre-Governator Schwarzenegger and pre-Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno, captured in a pre-reality show documentary about the pro-bodybuilding path to Mr. Olympia (with a less compelling side storyline involving amateurs like white hat Mike Katz and bad dude Ken Waller on the road to Mr. Universe), the rivalry suffers at the huge mitts of Arnie who’s just too damn good-naturedly charismatic to play Butler’s baddie. (Nice guy The Rock, a more versatile actor than The Gov, was way more convincing playing the sexy sadist in the ring during his WWF days.) No matter. For muscle pigs “Pumping Iron” is a must – the ultimate in bulging gluttony. Like massively inflated tits, these juiced up bods are so disgusting as to be perversely erotic. (Note to The Gov: whenever you tire of that little plaything Maria I’m here for the rubdown.)
Boys, boys, boys – name your western. “The Wild Bunch,” “Red River”…as many critics of the hype surrounding “Brokeback Mountain” rightly pointed out, that film was merely stating the obvious. I’m going to go with Howard Hawks’ “Red River” (1948) just because Monty Clift is hotter than Ernest Borgnine (okay, so William Holden is in Peckinpah’s outlaw-bonding flick, too, but still, who wants to jack off to Bill Holden with Ernest Borgnine in the room?) That Clift was gay in real life is almost beside the point. He’s a fantastically feral embodiment of longing, of unquenched desire so palpable as to transcend the screen, his inevitable showdown with The Duke – who put the “man” in Marlboro Man – a substitute for orgasmic release.
For all my dyke sisters, genderqueer and bi in-betweeners there’s delicious dish “Myra Breckinridge” (1970). Raquel Welch’s ambitious Miss Myra is the precursor to Tim Curry’s Frankenfurter, with both actors playing gender and sexuality ambiguous characters seducing naïve young lovers with equal panache. Pin-up queen Welch, who would be sexy slinking around in a brown paper bag, especially sizzles in that notorious, star-spangled superhero costume, strapping on a dildo to go at dumb stud Rusty (a tasty Roger Herron). Plus she gets to seduce ingénue Farrah Fawcett’s Mary Ann while (my personal transgender heroine!) Mae West – who can make an audience blush just with her swagger – playing the predatory talent agent Leticia Van Allen, trains her lusty eye on a chorus line of beefcake, including a young Tom Selleck. How much more sex appeal can one movie pack? No rainbow butt plug required.
William Friedkin’s “Cruising” (1980). You really thought spotlight addict Pacino would pass up the chance to shake his ass in tight leather pants? Post-“Serpico” Pacino plays undercover cop Steve Burns pursuing a serial killer stalking players in NYC’s gay S&M scene (where, of course, officers with handcuffs are hot!) Who needs great art when you’ve got a camp fest like this?
But if you are craving great art after a long, hot sweaty parade there’s always John Schlesinger’s “Midnight Cowboy” (1969). Sultry all-American boy Jon Voight plays the original gay-for-pay hustler back when Times Square trannies weren’t confined to the musical version of “Hairspray.” Dustin Hoffman’s viciously needy Ratso Rizzo is now cinematic legend, plus the film was released the same year as the Stonewall Riots. We’re here! We’re queer! We’re walking here!