BAD BOYS SCHOOL

By Josh Eliot

 

My beautiful home state of Rhode Island, “Little Rhodie” as we affectionately call it, is famous for its sandy shores and seaside Colonial towns. It is most known for its capitol Providence and, attached by a bridge, the islands of Jamestown and Newport. Newport prides itself on starting the very first jazz festival, America’s Cup, and the Gilded Age Mansions such as The Breakers. With over 400 miles of coastline, it features an amazing “Cliff Walk” that ventures past the backyards of these enormous “summer homes” originally owned by America’s wealthiest families including the Vanderbilt’s, the Astor’s and the Morgan’s. Taylor Swift purchased and occupies an 11,000 square foot mansion on Watch Hill, a nearby beach community in Rhode Island. There is a lot of beauty in this small seaside state, the smallest state in the country in fact, one that you can literally drive across in 45 minutes to an hour. If you do take that drive, just beware that not everything in the state of Rhode Island is as welcoming or inviting. In fact, there is quite a dark and scary side to some of the state’s history.

This is my second out of three Halloween-inspired blogs I am writing this month. Today I will focus on a few of the places that literally made my blood run cold as a child and teenager. Now, of course this is a blog for Bijou World, so I’ll try to squeeze in the occasional blowjob with facial cum shot along the way!

 

SOCKANOSSET


The Sockanosset Training School for Boys, affectionately known to all Rhode Islanders as “The Bad Boys School,” opened in the late 1800s. It was part of a “state farm” which included an asylum for the insane, an adult prison and a state almshouse. The gothic looking dormitory cottages were built in 1881 to 1895. The approach to dealing with “Wayward Boys” was to offer them structure and discipline through labor-intensive work such as farming, construction and shoveling coal from a small coal mine on the property. There are many stories about the headmaster abusing his powers and submitting the boys to mental and physical punishments. When our family would drive past the Bad Boys School, my mother would never miss an opportunity to tell us that we would be sent there if we didn’t behave ourselves. Something dozens of mothers and fathers across the state used as leverage to keep their kids on the straight and narrow. This certainly worked for my brother and me, as Sockanosset was terrifying from the outside. I can’t imagine what it was like inside! In disrepair for many years and due to lack of funding, it closed down in 1985 and sat there vacant for over two decades.

 

Sockanosset building and classroom, historical photos

Sockanosset building and classroom, historical photos

 

Before moving to California to attend film school, I took a lot of pictures of the building and grounds knowing one day I would somehow find a way to make a movie about this place. As you can see from the pictures, it was definitely the thing that nightmares are made of, and stories of spirits haunting the grounds were rampant. Years later when Chi Chi and I were assigned Powertool 2, I considered using my photos as the exterior shots of the prison, but when I saw how “vanilla” the script was coming I struck that idea. If production with Catalina Video had continued past 2006, I’m sure I would have eventually found a way to make the movie Bad Boys School, probably with an S&M or Leather twist to it. I’ve been accused many times of making movies that don’t necessarily fit into the porno movie mold. Hey, what can I say, I was a young horror movie buff who just happened to have complete control (mostly) on the projects I wanted to direct. With Thrill Me!, it was: “Dead bodies and porn don’t mix!” Well, you know what? I made it mix! In Night of the Living Bi-Dolls, it was: “Are you nuts? Zombies are not sexy!” Well you know what? I made it sexy and it won Best Bisexual Picture that year! For Single White Male, it was: “A criminally insane lead is not a proper subject for a Catalina Feature!” (a Scott Masters quote). Well, you know what? Rob Cryston won Best Actor at the Gay Video Guide Awards that year and I picked up Best Screenplay.

 

Rob Cryston in Josh Eliot's Single White Male

Rob Cryston in Josh Eliot's Single White Male

 

So why wouldn’t I do a Bad Boys School movie some day?! The image on the faux lobby card below was a must; no matter what the box cover looked like, that shot had to be there. Says it all, don’t you think?

 

Faux lobby card for Bad Boys School
Faux lobby card for Bad Boys School

 

LADD SCHOOL


Now, let me get back to what I was saying about the criminally insane! The Boys Asylum - Ladd School - really does take a top prize for one of Rhode Island’s most haunted. Founded in 1908 by Joseph P. Ladd and originally called “The Rhode Island School for the Feeble Minded,” this caring and loving facility carried out cruel treatments like shock therapy, ice-bath therapy and lobotomies. The boys dormitory filled up in 1909 and a girls dorm was erected. Consisting of 10 buildings on 331 desolate acres, it also featured padded cells, operating rooms, a morgue and crematorium; more like an overcrowded prison where the occupants slept head to foot with only nine inches of separation between beds. Most were committed to life sentences, often never having committed crimes. Women were confined until menopause or death and sometimes sterilized for extramarital affairs or having a child out of wedlock. Known in modern day as Ladd School, it continued to function as a facility until 1986. Sitting vacant and isolated before this hell hole was finally demolished in 2013, the property was a hot, white hot, spot for paranormal activity.

 

Ladd School historical images and news article

Ladd School historical images and news article

 

Here is an excerpt from The Pawtucket Paranormal Society from a day trip to the property before it was razed:

“As we got close to the place, I began to feel a strange feeling settling into my gut. I can not say that I knew straight away this place was causing it, but I had a feeling. We drove onto the property and the feeling grew so much stronger, like there was a veil we passed through. We began to pass old, dilapidated, boarded up buildings, when a wave of sadness washed over me. I began to feel the hatred that seeped from the very ground we drove on. We stopped a few times so I could take pictures of the buildings, when I began to hear the whisper of many voices, all young and seeming to plead for mercy. When we came to the Fogerty Building, it felt like all the bad pooled in one place. The whispers grew stronger, they wanted to be released from the hell that bounded them. We came to what was left of one of the playgrounds. All that remained was a rusted, twisted swing set with one swing remaining. Dawn (team leader) did not want to get out of the car because [as] she stated to me later... she had the feeling of being watched. When I got close to the swing set, I heard a young girl asking me to follow her. I approached the swing… I had to feel it. I had to know how many sad souls sat upon it. When I got close to it, I heard the child say, 'Mine, mine, mine.' I proceeded to touch it. When I did, I immediately felt pain go up my right side and across my chest. It felt like I was being burned. This place is a tumor on the face of the earth.”

This report was just one in a long line. In previous instances, various investigators noted: a low moaning sound haunts the basement; blasts of wind can be felt and noises of footsteps and shattering chains can be heard; an ethereal figure haunts the halls; the walls bleed. A horde of “orbs” were caught on film, as well as a peculiar dark figure. One investigator’s camera slipped from her hand and, when she picked it up, it was slapped from her hand again. In the morgue, noises of a little girl can be heard as well as the sound of heavy footsteps. On the second floor, there were voices of people talking, things getting thrown and people screaming for help or weeping.

The list goes on and on, but I won’t. You know why? Because I don’t want a fucking thing to do with this place! I have no wish, desire, craving or itch to make Ladd School a movie. Nope. Nada. That is a bridge too far… even for me! Oh, you know what? I’ve just noticed that I never got to that blow job. Apologies. I promise it will be included in my third and final Halloween blog this season. It’s called Vampire's Grave, and it’s named after a real place located a short distance from the “actual” Conjuring house, which is also in Rhode Island.

I’ll add the BJ to that one!

 

Bio of Josh Eliot:

At the age of 25 in 1987, Josh Eliot was hired by Catalina Video by John Travis (Brentwood Video) and Scott Masters (Nova Video). Travis trained Eliot on his style of videography and mentored him on the art of directing. Josh directed his first movie, Runaways, in 1987. By 2009 when Josh parted ways with Catalina Video, he'd produced and directed hundreds of features and won numerous awards for Best Screenplay, Videography, Editing, and Directing. He was entered into the GayVN Hall of fame in 2002. 

 

You can read Josh Eliot's previous blogs for Bijou here:

Coming out of my WET SHORTS
FRANK ROSS, The Boss
Our CALIGULA Moment
That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!
DREAMLAND: The Other Place
A Salty Fuck in Saugatuck
Somebody, Call a FLUFFER!
The Late Great JOHN TRAVIS, My POWERTOOL Mentor
(Un)Easy Riders
7 Years with Colt Model MARK RUTTER
Super NOVA
Whatever Happened to NEELY O’HARA?
Is That AL PARKER In Your Photo?
DOWN BY LAW: My $1,000,000 Mistake
We Waited 8hrs for a Cum Shot... Is That a World Record?
Don't Wear "Short Shorts" on the #38 Geary to LANDS END
How Straight Are You Really?
BEHIND THE (not so) GREEN DOOR
The BOOM BOOM Room
CATCHING UP with Tom DeSimone
Everybody’s FREE to FEEL GOOD
SCANDAL at the Coral Sands Motel
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: The Castro Theatre
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: The Midnight Sun
RSVP: 2 Weeks Working on a Gay Cruise Ship
VOYAGER of the Damned
I'M NOT A LESBIAN DIRECTOR
Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: THE FOLSOM STREET FAIR
Diving into SoMa/Folsom: A TALE OF TWO STUDS
BALL BROTH
My 1992 “Porn Set” Diary
Out of Print
There’s a Gloryhole WHERE??!
LUNCH HOUR: When the Big Boys Eat
IN and OUT and All ABOUT
UNDER the COVERs with Tom Steele
8 Is Enough on Sunsex Blvd
Steve Rambo & Will Seagers For Breakfast
The Many Faces of Adult Film Star SHARON KANE
The ALL-MAN Magazine Interview: The Man Behind Catalina Video
Captain Psychopath

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DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: The Midnight Sun

By Josh Eliot

 

My roommates and I lived at 19th and Castro for many years starting in 1984 when I was 22. The neighborhood had everything we needed. Between Market and 18th, just across from the Castro Theatre, was Marcello’s Pizza where they sell pizza by the slice to a non-stop line from opening to closing time. Two doors down was Louie’s Barber Shop which was always filled with guys checking each other out while they waited for their haircuts. Every three weeks or so I plopped my ass in one of those chairs for a crew cut on the sides while keeping it a bit longer on top, with spiking gel. While I changed my haircut over the years, it always seemed to revert back to that same look.

 

Louie's Barber Shop and Marcello's Pizza

Louie's Barber Shop and Marcello's Pizza

 

Donuts 24 was on the corner of 18th and Castro and was the place to cruise for your last chance hook-up after all the bars let out at 2am. For those truly too horned up to go home, a block away was Collingwood Park which was basically a baseball field with some extra land. Men would line up along the chain link fence, cruising the passersby and sometimes jumping into whatever random car might pull up. It was all a bit dark, murky and desperate, but my roomies and I would end up there from time to time.

 

Donuts 24 and the Patio Cafe

Donuts 24 and the Patio Cafe

 

The infamous Elephant Walk bar was kitty corner from Donuts 24 and became notorious as the place the cops came to when they exacted their revenge for the gays setting City Hall ablaze after the Dan White verdict. Police descended onto the Castro and the Elephant Walk, violently striking the bar patrons who were already filled with complete fury and disdain for the police state and justice system. The gays fought back and set police cars on fire. By the end of the night, dozens of police cars were set ablaze and 20 people were arrested.

We cooked at home a lot, but when we were too lazy we could pop across the street from our flat to the Canton Bistro for Chinese takeout. My roommates were: Alvonne, a student at San Francisco State University, Paul, a waiter at the Patio Café on Castro, and Brian, who did odd jobs like mover, waiter, bar back and call boy, advertising in local gay classified ads. We spent a lot of time at the Patio Café which had an incredible outdoor setting and a great cheap meal, because Paul would leave most of our ordered items off the bill. My aunt and uncle visited once with my parents so we took them there for lunch. Eating at the table right next to us was porn star Rick Donovan, with his sister I think. The café was buzzing about it so my aunt took the opportunity to swipe the ashtray and salt and pepper shakers while everyone else was transfixed on Donovan. The four of us were inseparable and, because we were in our early 20s, we related mostly to the Midnight Sun Video Bar as our top choice for a local hangout.

 

Josh with Castro Street roommates Alvonne, Brian and Paul

Josh with Castro Street roommates Alvonne, Brian and Paul

 

The Midnight Sun was a new concept at the time born from the new and exciting MTV generation. We were there for milestone moments like when Madonna rolled around on the floor while performing "Like a Virgin" at the MTV Awards, gathering anxiously to see premieres of videos from The Talking Heads, The Bangles, Bananarama, The Go-Go’s, Psychedelic Furs, Human League and Queen’s “I Want To Break Free.” Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry was tripping my trigger in those days, especially the Avalon album. There was a waiter friend of Paul’s at The Patio Café who was a dead ringer for a young Bryan Ferry. I tried every trick in the book to peak his interest, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

The Sun was not a place to necessarily brush up on your cruising skills, but more of a gay social scene where we all could form comradery with complete strangers who appreciate music and visuals on the big screen. Charging only $1.75 for a Seagram’s 7 and 7up and $1.25 for Budweisers, the small space was a gold mine for the owners. Literally a standing room only place with ledges for sitting along the side and back wall.

 

The Midnight Sun

The Midnight Sun

 

Wednesday Night was Dynasty night and you needed to get there at least 45 minutes before the show started or you would be stuck outside in line, not getting in until after the show - if you were lucky. Watching Crystal push Alexis into the lily pond for the very first time was the ultimate high. Everyone went wild! I remember seeing the episode on Halloween in 1984 where Alexis is put in jail, after which we hit the packed streets of Castro to take part in all the costumed madness! Dedicated fans didn’t miss a beat as we saw several drag groups with their “Free Alexis” banners! I guess it wasn’t only the Castro that was clicking with Dynasty’s theme that night. You know, I like to rummage through my spouse’s photos (as you might have read in my blog “Is That Al Parker In Your Photo?”) and, lo and behold, there he and his friends were, that same night in West Hollywood… dressed in drag and carrying “Free Alexis” signs!

 

Free Alexis Halloween costumes after Dynasty viewing

Free Alexis Halloween costumes after Dynasty viewing

 

The Midnight Sun’s VJ followed the crowd pleaser cues from the Dynasty clips and regularly showed classic fight scenes. I remember one in particular from The Turning Point with Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine, fighting and pulling each other’s hair on a rooftop! Anne Bancroft’s real name was Anna Maria Italiano and she was cousin to my spouse’s father. Unfortunately I never got to meet her!

The Midnight Sun is still going strong to this day but is now featuring a diverse weekly line-up including: drag shows, go-go boys, karaoke, throwback hits with 2 for 1 drinks and Latinx Thursday Nights. Next time you're in San Francisco, pay them a visit If you find yourself on the corner of 18th and Castro looking for some good clean fun.

 

Midnight Sun current lineup and interior

Midnight Sun current lineup and interior

 

Previous blogs in DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO series:
The Castro Theatre - Josh Eliot
The Badlands - Will Seagers

 

Bio of Josh Eliot:

At the age of 25 in 1987, Josh Eliot was hired by Catalina Video by John Travis (Brentwood Video) and Scott Masters (Nova Video). Travis trained Eliot on his style of videography and mentored him on the art of directing. Josh directed his first movie, Runaways, in 1987. By 2009 when Josh parted ways with Catalina Video, he'd produced and directed hundreds of features and won numerous awards for Best Screenplay, Videography, Editing, and Directing. He was entered into the GayVN Hall of fame in 2002. 

 

You can read Josh Eliot's previous blogs for Bijou here:

Coming out of my WET SHORTS
FRANK ROSS, The Boss
Our CALIGULA Moment
That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!
DREAMLAND: The Other Place
A Salty Fuck in Saugatuck
Somebody, Call a FLUFFER!
The Late Great JOHN TRAVIS, My POWERTOOL Mentor
(Un)Easy Riders
7 Years with Colt Model MARK RUTTER
Super NOVA
Whatever Happened to NEELY O’HARA?
Is That AL PARKER In Your Photo?
DOWN BY LAW: My $1,000,000 Mistake
We Waited 8hrs for a Cum Shot... Is That a World Record?
Don't Wear "Short Shorts" on the #38 Geary to LANDS END
How Straight Are You Really?
BEHIND THE (not so) GREEN DOOR
The BOOM BOOM Room
CATCHING UP with Tom DeSimone
Everybody’s FREE to FEEL GOOD
SCANDAL at the Coral Sands Motel
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: The Castro Theatre

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I Love a Gay Halloween Parade!

posted by Madame Bubby

Yes, it's coming up, the unofficial LGBTQ holiday, Halloween! I was looking online for more information about Halloween events going on next week, and I noticed that the famous Greenwich Village, New York City Halloween parade is now in its 46th year.

Pretty amazing, if one thinks what year it was 46 years ago: 1973. Thus, celebrating Halloween was part and parcel of the then young and militant gay liberation movement.

I remember seeing from a distance many years ago Chicago's own LGBTQ Halloween parade on Halsted Steet, and now the event has become “Haunted Halsted Halloweek and Parade,” running from Saturday, October 26 to the great day itself this year, and the day of the parade, Thursday, October 31.

Why am I essentially advertising the above events? Because I think, in tandem, Bijou Video provides its own parade of Halloween porn movies you can enjoy anywhere and throughout the entire year. In fact, I would even say Bijou is carrying on the legacy of directors and producers and actors who originated the genre of Halloween porn or horror porn.

Here are some of our films of that genre:

The anthology Scared Stiff features scenes from some of the titles described below, plus others like Gayracula and Four in Hand.
 

Scared Stiff box cover

Vintage Gayracula ad

Four in Hand still
Image from Four in Hand

Night of the Occultist, a Jaguar film from 1973 (year of the first Village Hallloween parade!) directed by Kenneth Andrews, is certainly overall quite “trippy,” but the major Halloweeneseque scene in this campy yet also complex film is an ancient Egyptian ritual, a sacrifice to Osiris, the judge of the dead (he serves as the gatekeeper between life, death, and the afterlife), which involves gay sex in an temple.
 

Night of the Occultist still
Image from Night of the Occultist

A Ghost of a Chance, also from 1973, features some ghostly sex with a deceased boyfriend, but the overall story is not just about the crossing of the seemingly insurmountable boundary between death and life, but about how sex with multiple partners itself is a way of liberation from imposed boundaries.
 

A Ghost of a Chance stills
Images from A Ghost of a Chance

Strictly Forbidden, a Hand in Hand film from 1974 directed by Jack Deveau, reimagines the ancient trope of a statues coming to life as the main character enjoys sexual contact with many in a Parisian museum.
 

Strictly Forbidden stills
Images from Strictly Forbidden

Falconhead, a complex, profound film from 1977 directed by Michael Zen, plays with some archetypal images such as mirrors and falcons as several men undergo rituals of initiation that involve mysterious, ambiguously violent interactions.
 

Falconhead stills
Images from Falconhead

And, perhaps the true depths of the genre occurs in Peter de Rome's The Destroying Angel, which combines religion, psychedelic drugs, sex, and violence in one amazing conflagration as a young priest abandons his vocation and plunges into what is really the depths of himself he had previously repressed.
 

The Destroying Angel stills
Images from The Destroying Angel

What's interesting and significant about these films is that, yes, they are related to Halloween, but not in the conventionally “spooky,” explicit way.

By wrestling with the endlessly mysterious and fascinating conjunctions between sex, death, religion, and violence, they really end up targeting the deep, primal roots of the holiday, something LGBTQ persons, themselves cultural boundary-crossers, can connect with intimately.

It's a day when boundaries dissipate, masks and costumes make us aware that persons are not all what they seem, and somehow we end up experiencing on various levels death and life becoming one.

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