Gay Porn Pop-Up Theater Sesion Continua Channels Los Angeles in the Pre-VHS Era – California News

Gay Porn Pop-Up Theater Sesion Continua Channels Los Angeles in the Pre-VHS Era – California News

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Bradford Nordeen and Clara Lopez Menendez outside Machine Project for a previous Sesión Continua

Courtesy Dirty Looks

Before the advent of home video, porn movie houses were as much a part of L.A.’s landscape as indie movie theaters are today, and arguably more essential to a way of life. Gay porn theaters in particular — such as the Park in Westlake or the Coronet in Beverly Grove — became safe spaces and meeting places; men could cruise or leisurely take in an erotic film, and do so without fear of judgment or persecution. In a July L.A. Times piece about L.A.’s last two pornographic theaters (which I recommend reading in its entirety), Carolina Miranda spoke to industry advocate and documentary filmmaker Mike Stabile, who explained, “They weren’t just theater spaces. … You could go in and have these experiences and they were anonymous. … Being a young gay man, it’s tremendously nerve-racking, but there was something about the theater that is closed off from the rest of the world.”

Today, Studs in WeHo is the only surviving dedicated gay porn theater (the Tiki in East Hollywood shows a wider variety of adult genres), but for 24 hours this weekend, the scene will be twice as robust. Beginning at midnight on Friday, Aug. 4, NYC-based queer film collective Dirty Looks will host Sesión Continua, a “mixtape” of gay erotica and hardcore produced mostly in the pre–home video era, at Son of Semele in Westlake. In the 36-seat theater, they’ll replicate the experience of watching porn in a group setting in the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s; a few of the films are even set in porn theaters, loci of eroticism as they were….

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