The Wheels of Steel

 

By Will Seagers
 

Will Seagers at J&R Music World, NYC

Me at J&R Music World, downtown NYC, after purchasing my 2nd pair of 1200 Wheels of Steel!

 

Through many of the blogs that I have written, I have alluded to my love affair with dance music and mixing that dance music. It is time for a tighter focus on that.

Through my late teens and early twenties as my porn career was starting to happen, there was another sexual form that was taking shape, as well - Dance and Dance Music. To equate this to sex might sound like hyperbole. But, that's the way it felt to my body and mind. To a large extent, the way a man moved had a lot to do with how he turned me on. You could just see the sex in the movements! Without that - it just left me flat!

Doing my "internship" for all of this in the greater NYC Metropolitan area, there was a city energy that came through the music. I was quite comfortable letting the City DJs wind me through their nightly fare of music in total trust. It wasn't until I moved to San Francisco that I felt a need to participate in generating some of that energy myself.

I missed some of the late night New York urban sexuality in the music I was hearing in S.F. So, I actually decided to put a mixing system together at home and start making some tapes of what I missed. To my surprise and pleasure, I had a small cassette tape business rolling in no time.

Part of my musical history was living and working on Fire Island for three seasons. Some of the best music and best DJs in the world played there. It was there in 1978 that I made a friend who was also working on The Island, Michael. We really hit it off and became dance and fuck buddies. Oh, and we both played the tambourines... a popular addition to many dance floors of the day! At the end of the season he moved to S.F., too.

Long story short. Michael had the same feeling about S.F. His background was in finance and raising funds. He soon went about gather friends together with the prospect of creating a whole new night club, "Dreamland." The very first meeting of these people happened in my small living room with blueprints spread across my mirror topped coffee table. (Of course being the late 70s, that table got a whole different workout after the blueprints! lol)

So the club became a beautiful reality very soon after. It occupied one of the many vacant warehouses in the district. I came on board as basically a cheerleader and I occasionally did the lights, too.

As fate would have it, Michael heard one of my cassette tapes. He contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in playing for the club. I was ecstatic! My debut was the Easter Sunday Tea Dance of 1980. I had never played a floor that large, so my mixing was a bit rough. But, I reveled in the squeals and screams of joy that came from the music I played, regardless. That started it.

I wasn't crazy about playing all-nighters. So, I started to play in the bars in the Castro Section of S.F. That was a comfortable fit! I will never forget my first few Saturday night shifts at The Badlands. I literally got that crowd to screaming, too!

I remained there for four years with lots of great nights, afternoons and memories in general. But, being visited by such stars as Sylvester was one of my favorite events! I loved his attitude. He would think nothing of hurling himself through that packed bar to the back where I was in the DJ booth. He would always bring a new song he was working on... and I would instantly work it in... usually not missing a beat! He loved that. He also used me in one of his videos. Although I didn't sing or dance... I was a hulk in the background!

 

Sylverster at a late '70s San Francisco Gay Day Parade

Sylvester at a late '70s S.F. Gay Day Parade!

 

Last but not least was my spinning at Moby Dick Bar, just down the street from The Badlands. Another wonderful Michael, the manager of Moby Dick, asked me to pinch hit one night – and that night was New Year's Eve. I rose to the occasion and remained there 'til I left S.F. two years later. I really loved that bar and its clientele. They were musically open to the offbeat (but tasty) musical fare that I offered. I am so glad that was my last stop.

In the thirty plus years since I have "Played Out," I have maintained a mixing console at home. And, from time to time, I will make a CD mix for a friend. It always feels good to be behind the "Wheels of Steel" again... for that steamy feeling!

Thank you to Will Seagers for use of his photos.


Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy
The Ecstasy and the Agony
Fitness and Fantasy: The Early Gyms
Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun: My Story of Sun Worship and Where It Got Me
Becoming Invisible
The Reverse Story of Dorian Gray
Pin Money
One Organ Leads to Another! Part 1

 

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LGBTQ Rights are Human Rights

 

posted by Madame Bubby

As the Supreme Court hears seminal cases that may determine the right of LGBTQ persons to work and live without discrmination, I found this quote in a recent article on the first time LGBTQ persons spoke at the Democratic National convention. McGovern was a Democratic candidate, and in the Catholic Democratic households I grew up in, he was our candidate. But of course I was growing up without any knowledge of persons who did not love heteronormatively.
 

Madeline Davis
Image Source: qweencity.com

Madeline Davis, a pioneering lesbian activist who was a cofounder of the Mattachine Society and one of the first university professors to offer classes about lesbians, made this speech:

"My name is Madeline Davis. I am an elected delegate from the 37th Congressional District, Buffalo, New York. I am a woman. I am a lesbian. We are the minority of minorities. We belong to every race and creed, both sexes, every economic and social level, every nationality and religion. We live in large cities and in small towns, but we are the untouchables in American society. We have suffered the gamut of oppression, from being totally ignored or ridiculed, to having our heads smashed and our blood spilled in the street. Now we are coming out of our closets and onto the convention floor to tell you, the delegates, and to tell all gay people throughout America that we are here to put an end to our fears – our fears that people will know us for who we are – that they will shun and revile us, fire us from our jobs, reject us from our families, evict us from our homes, beat us and jail us. And for what? Because we have chosen to love each other."

What is particularly telling about this speech, from those heady early days of gay liberation, is that the content is still frighteningly relevant. Everything she has claimed LGBTQ persons suffer, essentially, a social death, is still occurring, even with laws that have been created, at the bare minimum, to allow, yes just allow, LGBTQ persons to subsist in our country. Subsist, but not enjoy, the freedoms most Americans have long taken for granted.

The fact that the cases the Supreme Court is hearing now still starkly reveal that placing one's human rights in the hands of other humans shows that freedom and human dignity do indeed hang on a thread. The rainbow flag and the United States flag are literally fragile and it just takes one match to burn them.
 

Rainbow flag flying with an American flag
Image Source: NBC News

LGBTQ persons can get married; they can tweet from their phones. But these freedoms are dead ends unless everyone embraces with a full heart, and not just understands from a distance, that no one is safe until everyone is safe to live as whole persons who can love without fear.

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20,000 Men

posted by Madame Bubby

Gay director Joel Schumacher in a recent interview that he has slept with 10,000 to 20,000 men (well, that's not too specific a figure, but who can really keep count unless you are carrying around a “little black book” at all times).

Ok, let's do the math. Now, Joel is 79. He claims he started fooling around sexually at age 11. Thus, using the 20,000 maximum, he would have to have had sex five times a day for 55 years. Maybe some days he had more sex than others; I am thinking perhaps he may have attended orgies Friday and Saturday, giving him some weekday nights “off.”
 

Joel Schumacher
Joel Schumacher (Source: queerty.com)

In the interview, Schumacher does tie this sexual history back to the 1970s, where, according to much evidence, some of it anecdotal, a lot of gay sex was going on. The bathhouses were veritable sex palaces and even advertised as such. One person I know said that his memory of being gay in the seventies in Chicago meant readily available sex. And not just in bathhouses and movie theaters and bars. Everywhere. A cruise in a gas station would end up in sex in the gas station bathroom or the bushes next to the parking lot.
 

Gas station bathroom cruisin/sex from Grease Monkeys
Gas station bathroom cruising/sex from Jagaur's Grease Monkeys (1978)

Thus, even if 10,000, the low estimate (again, how would one really know?) could be close to the truth, if one counts every single sexual encounter, and I am making the assumption that not every encounter involved penetration, maybe.

In an attempt to place this, let's just say, “prolific” sex life in perspective, “Now a lot of gay people are getting married, they’re adopting, or they’re having children,” Schumacher said later in the interview. “There wasn’t any of that when I was young. If you went into a gay bar and there were 200 men in there, and you said, ‘Okay, who wants to have a little house with a white picket fence, and a dog, and a child, raise your hands,’ or ‘Who wants to get laid tonight?’ The concept of a lovely suburban life or raising children was not a high concept.”
 

Guys in Fair Oaks Bathhouse, 1978
Guys in Fair Oaks Bathhouse, 1978 (Source: Christopher Harrity, The Advocate, June 29, 2014, picture taken by Frank Melleno)

The 1970s was definitely a time of norm breaking, but, going beyond this time period, when being LGBTQ was not a privileged position in society. Schumacher also implies, it's easier to break norms, especially sexual norms, if you are privileged, and he admits he is. And related to privilege, especially economic privilege, he does claim he never did sex work or paid for it, either.

And of course AIDS changed everything, which Schumacher does admit. And so much more as LGBTQ persons embraced essentially conservative structures like serving in the military openly and especially legal marriage.

Thus, I wonder if the real issue here isn't the quantity of the sex partners, that Schumacher is just a gay version of those toxic masculinity boasters like Wilt Chamberlain who also claimed he slept with 20,000 women, or even, who cares?

I think it really is how we interpret the availability of sex in diverse social and cultural contexts. Taking away sexual choice doesn't necessarily make sex less available. And thus, a climate of easily available sexual choices doesn't necessarily mean sex is more available to you. Schumacher found he could act on his sexual identity in the wild 1970s. In his case, the “supply and demand” worked in tandem for him personally. Personally is the key word here. And I think Schumacher was not simply reducing sex or sex acts to numbers or checking off a list. His experience was the experience of many gay men in their personal sexual journeys. And they were finally given the freedom to choose, until AIDS took away that heady freedom. And it was the LGBTQ community that refused to allows persons with AIDS to be treated like numbers and in doing so, survived and thrived like Joel Schumacher has done.

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Tales of the City: I Read It, Finally!

posted by Madame Bubby

Oh wow, this summer has certainly been a summer or reading for me, in addition to the process of assembling many of these blogs into a book format. I guess I am lucky, to enjoy such large amounts of time to sit there and read. For hours.

As usual, I am way behind the trends. I tend to get interested in media after it is popular (for example, I only got interested in Seinfeld in reruns). I've known about Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City for some time, I know there was a miniseries in 1993 based on the books, and now there's one on Netflix (I don't get it, yet). But I just wasn't that interested.

Until a friend loaned me a huge volume that contains the first three novels, Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, and Further Tales of the City. I read all three Sunday night through last night. For someone who reads much dense scholarly material, it was a quick read, and I don't imply it is superficial. It actually read much like a screenplay, and I mean that as a compliment; less is more in the description, and the dialogue shapes the characters and moves along the action.
 

Cover of Maupin's 28 Barbary Lane

The 1978 one, the first one, was most interesting, as it really gave one a slice of the “sex and the city” life in San Francisco during the swinging seventies. The place was certainly comparable in some ways to the “blue bubble” cities (a scary thought in hindsight) of today.
 

Ad for 21st St. Baths, captioned Definitely for the Discriminiating Male
Ad for gay bathhouse in Mission District, definitely for the discriminating male, from: http://www.missionmission.org/2010/09/17/the-21st-street-baths-were-definitely-for-the-discriminating-male/

But it wasn't just LGBTQ persons who flocked to the city like the young ones did in the 1960s to the Summer of Love; they often were persons perhaps a little more daring than Mary Tyler Moore (who ended up in Minneapolis, not exactly the Babylon of Sodom of the 1970s) trying to figure out how to shape an identity that didn't necessarily conform to that of their Greatest and Silent Generation parents, who themselves, especially if they had the money to do so, were swinging themselves in their suburban sprawl.

But by 1978, the Summer of Love had degenerated into drug abuse, Milk had been assassinated, and Anita Bryant was vomiting her orange juice of bigotry on a national level. Liberation had come at a cost, but Maupin explores these times in a range from biting satire to gentle humor to bittersweet melancholy. Ultimately, the tales are about persons caught up in the wildest and even dangerous escapades (Jim Jones did not die at Jonestown? Oh, that's in the the third one I read) but still, somehow, never losing their ability to laugh at themselves.

One incident in the first novel that happens to the oh so hot straight guy who lives in the wonderful building of Mrs. Anna Madrigal at 28 Barbary Lane (Maupin gives us so many titillating descriptions of him sliding in and out of jeans and various forms of undergear) I found most interesting. Apparently, in San Francisco at that time, “the tubs” or the gay baths weren't the only places to enjoy no strings attached sex. Brian goes to some kind of co-ed bathhoue on Valencia Street. And there was The Party on Monday night, and also that night women were admitted free.
 

Valencia Street, San Francisco in the '70s
Valencia and Market Streets, San Francisco, 1970s, from: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/northern-california/san-francisco/1970s-san-francisco/

He does meet a woman in her private room, (she invites him), but she assumes he is at least bi, and she builds on the fact that most of the guys who go to this bath are bi or gay (but of course!). And I find one ends up feeling sorry for Brian. Yes, he is the heterosexual equivalent of a gay “slut" and he knows it, and he want to get laid, not psychoanalyzed at the baths.

But Maupin's description of the main space is telling, perfectly selective detail, with a real zinger at the end:

There were twice as many men, mingling with the women in a space that seemed strangely reminiscent of a rumpus room in Walnut Creek; rosy-shaded lamps, mis-matched furniture, and a miniature electric train that chugged noisily along a shelf around the perimeter of the room.
A television set mounted on the wall offered Phyllis to the partygoers.
On the opposite wall a movie screen flickered with vintage pornography.
The partygoers were naked, though some of them chose the shelter of a bath towel.
And most of them were watching Phyllis.


Yes, Phyllis, a spin off the Mary Tyler Moore show. Mary's middle-aged friend Phyllis Lindstrom played by Cloris Leachman ends up in San Francisco after her husband dies to start over. And it's got one of the campiest beginnings to any sit com, ever. (Think the big number Hello, Dolly reworked by someone on acid.)
 

Phyllis oepning credits
Phyllis opening credits

But that allusion pretty much says it all about Maupin's take on the topsy-turvy, paradoxical yet also wild and wonderfully campy world that was San Francisco in the late seventies. A world where persons of any orientation could still afford to live in an apartment with a view of the wharfs and where they party with the neighbors and go out to diners at all hours and their landlady tapes a joint to the front door as a welcoming gift.

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Forty Years Ago: Fred Halsted and Jack Wrangler Debuts

Forty Years Ago: Fred Halsted and Jack Wrangler Debuts

In the spring of 1975, states were repealing sodomy laws, though on April 12 the Arizona House passed an emergency measure to ban same-sex marriages, and the Colorado Attorney General ruled such marriages were illegal too.


Despite these setbacks the gay liberation counterculture was in full swing, despite so many setbacks, and the gay porn industry, at that time a major outlet for expressing openly (and often artistically) gay men's sexuality, was flourishing in its film to movie theater format.

 

For example, on April 30, Fred Halsted's film Sextool came out. Its definitely experimental approach - which involved surrealistic imagery, BDSM sex, and disjunctive editing - turned off rather than on many reviewers, but it did get a write up in the mainstream press. Variety actually claimed Halsted was “the Ken Russell of S & M homoerotica.” Bijou's review is here.

On May 19, Jack Stillman made his debut as Jack Wrangler when he performed a striptease on cowboy gear at the Paris Theater in Los Angeles. He was dressed like a cowboy. He took his surname from those cowboy jeans that really show off a cute ass, of course.

 

Later that year, he starred in his first gay porn film, Ranch Dudes, a 15-minute loop where he jacks off his big member in a corral. He must have really been into that cowboy look early in his career. We have remastered an edit of this loop, calling it Cowboy, in our Magnum Griffin 14 compilation.

 

Here at Bijouworld.com and Bijougayporn.com (where both of these titles can be found) we are dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of key artistic mediums that shaped and continue to shape gay sexuality.

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