Pics, Pics & More Pics... Life's a Beach

By Will Seagers

 

Will Seagers with camera on Men's Hairstylist magazine cover

With camera on the Oct. 1975 cover of Men's Hairstylist Magazine

 

In keeping with the season, I have another photo spread blog for you. Beaches, beaches and more beaches in many corners of the country and outside, too!

This first photo was from the trade magazine Men's Hairstylist. It was shot by a prominent N.Y.C. Fashion photographer. And, my hair was clipped for the occasion by the legendary coiffeur of the time, Sabu. You see, I was in front of and behind the lens. Nothing to do with the beach, but it was coincidentally the Nikon I used in a lot of these shots.

Starting off at a very early age and living in the northern part of New Jersey, my family (parents/aunts & uncles) would shuttle the kiddies down to the "shore" on sultry hot summer days. Pic #1 is of Asbury Park. It was famous, festive and usually loaded with city escapees like me.

 

Ashbury Park, New Jersey
The beach at Asbury Park. Not from the 50s when I first went!

 

In 1963, my parents bought a house in West Deal located in Monmouth County about three miles from the beaches of N.J. This second pic is of the (evolved) Elberon Beach Club. When my family had a membership there, it was quite a bit simpler... but, still a great day at the beach!

 

Elberon Beach Club
Although a lot more glam than when I went in the 60s, a great beach and pool!

 

About four years later, my parents got the itch to move to the lovely shore community of Spring Lake about 15 miles south of W. Deal. It was a well-to-do community with a rich history. Picture #3 shows one of the remaining sprawling Victorian hotels left from the turn of the 20th century - The Essex and Sussex Hotel. Typical of the Jersey shore communities, one had to have a membership and badge to get on the beach or to the pool houses.

 

The Essex and Sussex Hotel
Where I spent my high school years - Spring Lake, N.J.
 

Fast forward to the early 70s and we have moi around the age of 21 clad in one of my first Speedos (striped to boot!), Picture #4. Although this pic was taken at the lovely guest house resort Arcos Blancos just south of San Juan's Condado area in Ocean Park, I was not posed near the wonderful pool or very entertaining bar for which they were famous. Actually, I think I had just finished a trick with the owner, again!

 

Will Seagers at Arcos Blancos, San Juan
Fresh off the Condado Beach of San Juan!
 

Now, the next sets of pictures refer back to the old question: which came first - the chicken or the egg? In this case it was both!

In the late 70s, I was shuttling frequently between my new home in San Francisco and my prior home in NYC... let's make that Fire Island! A simple headshot, Picture #5 was taken on the beach in The Pines... probably during a work break. For three years, I worked for John Whyte's Boatel as waiter, bartender and life guard. Pic #6 shows my lifeguarding domain. This pic was taken from the top deck of the Boatel to which the pool belonged. Pic #7 welcomes you into the private harbor, which was just down the boardwalk from Mr. Whyte's Blue Whale, where the grand institution of the "Tea Dance" was held every afternoon around 4. Pic #8 Shows another institution in The Pines for the muscle boys and those who aspired to be - Merrill's Gym. It was his back deck and boy did it get packed right after the beach and just before Tea Dance... guys getting their pre- Tea Dance pump! And, pic #9 shows how everything on that beach was beautiful... from the boys right down to the not-so-normal sand castles!

 

Will Seagers headshot at a Fire Island beach

Relaxing at the beach after my lifeguarding at the Pines' Boatel pool.

 

Boatel aerial shot
A nice aerial shot of my “domain" taken from the top deck of the Boatel!
 
s Fire Island Pines sign
Once you’ve been there you’ll never forget - Fire Island!
 
Fire Island gym images
The first “gym” on Fire Island - Merril’s Gym - where the boys would get a quick pump before showing up at Tea Dance!
 
Fire Island beach photos
There are no ordinary sand castles on Fire Island!
 

On the professional side of photography, I was proud to be selected for Pic #10, taken by the photo/artist Tom Bianchi, which appeared in his photo book, Fire Island Pines. Another man of many talents (DJ and photographer to mention just two), Henry Winslow, snapped a very impressionistic photo of me fresh out of the shower at my hosts Dr. Bob Oliveri's bayside Fire Island home in Pic #11.

 

Tom Bianchi photo of Will Seagers from his Fire Island Pines book
From the Tom Bianchi photo book, Fire Island Pines!
 
Henry Winslow photo of Will Seagers
One of my favorite “artsy” photos, taken by the multi talented Henry Winslow. Fresh off the beach and fresh out of the shower.
 

Back in town. For those who couldn't make it out to The Island, there was quite a nice consolation prize... The Christopher Street Pier. With the ruins of a former pier warehouse, lots of shenanigans went on... if the police were not in the vicinity! It's very truly yours sitting there for all to see in Pic #12. This was one of my first print work assignments for Man's Image Studios of New York. Barely legible along the left border of this picture is an autograph and message to my soon-to-be partner Tommy.

 

Will Seagers in Man's Image photo at Christopher Street Pier
At another “beach” in New York, the former Christopher St. Pier, I posed for an early Man's Image Studio photo shoot. That pier served valiantly as the local beach for the West Village.
 

Now, for the California portion of bi-coastal summer living! San Gregorio, located about an hour south of San Francisco, offered the quintessential "mountains meet the beach" west coast venue. Like Fire Island, it was clothing optional. That option was rarely chosen! Pic #13 shows the long and picturesque beach/mountain vista. Here again, in Pic #14, the no clothes option was taken! It was important to remember just how cold that Pacific Ocean water could be. Let's just say it had a shrinking effect! Many beach goers never set a toe in it!

 

San Gregorio nude beach
San Gregorio, just an hour south of San Francisco, was almost the perfect nude gay beach - except for ball-shrinking cold Pacific water!
 
Will Seagers at a nude beach
Quick in and quick out of those icy waters!
 

The other main area of interest just north of San Francisco was the Russian River Resort area. Pic #15 show me with both Tommy and my friend Roger in or near the river's edge. Both of these guys share a May 22nd birthday! Pic #16 shows the original and and playfully manipulated versions of me in the Russian River enjoying its perfect temperature. (Manipulation was courtesy of my buddy and talented DJ George Ferren!) Pic #17 was perfect at showing how "chance encounters" could happen at any time along those river banks!

 

Will Seagers with Tommy and Roger at the Russian River
Double take! My Tommy and I and my dear friend Roger (both May 22nd boys!) here frolicking or about to at the River!
 
Will Seagers, Russian River, 1976
Fast forwarding to 1976 and another “beach”… the infamous Russian River!
 
Russian River social life
“Social Life” was good along the Russian River banks… Random meeting abounded!
 

After losing my partner Tommy in 1989, I decided to reshape my life and move back to the east coast. Of course, this meant looking for a new beach to call home. In very short order, I discovered (another) very popular clothing optional beach at the northern tip of New Jersey's Monmouth County - Sandy Hook. Shy as I am, here we have another "here's looking at you" nudist shot - Pic #18. The calm and much warmer Atlantic was a treat for the unclad body! Socializing was easy at this beach, as the atmosphere was quite relaxed. Appearing with a beach buddy in Pic #19, the relaxed attitude is rather apparent. And for a final beach picture, me enjoying a drink at the Waikiki Sheraton in Pic #20.

 

Will Seagers at a nude beach
Yep! Another nude beach. This time it's NJ's Sandy Hook! After my return to the East Coast in the 90s this became my default summer home.
 
Will Seagers and friend at Sandy Hook beach
More fun and socializing on the Sandy Hook Beach. Names are withheld to protect the innocent!
 
Will having a drink at a Hawaii beach
Having a drink at the Waikiki Sheraton.
 

I truly miss the beautiful beaches, whether they be oceans or rivers. Those days are all in the past. My past few years have been filled with skin cancer related issues. My final photo, #21, is just last August - recovering from Mohs procedure #10. All of those glorious sunny beach days came with a price. I wish to share with all of my Bijou family a simple warning: The Sun is not your friend.

 

Will healing after a recent Mohs procedure
One last recent picture illustrating what happens after a life of chasing the Sun. My skin cancer surgeon and I are on a first name basis!
 

Thank you to Will Seagers for use of his photos.

 

Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted careers and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model, film performer, and DJ, just to name a few. 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.

George Ferren, a close friend of Will's frequently mentioned in his blogs, was a major figure in the San Francisco music scene in the '70s/'80s. His current music is available for your pleasure on Soundcloud: BY GEORGE

 

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
The Wheels of Steel
Feast and Famine: The 1970s to the 1980s
An Alphabet Soup of Powders and Pills
Merry Christmas (and Getting Re-Organized)
Now and Then
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: The Badlands
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: Moby Dick Bar
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: "Just Another Stroll Down the Castro!"
Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: Hamburger Mary's
Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: Long Live the Stud!
Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: Club Life..."Hit me with your Rhythm Stick!”
A "Split Ticket" - SoMa/Folsom and The Haight!
Back to Basics: "Staying Vanilla in a Flavorful Culture!"
A Little Secret
"I love a Parade!" Recollections of the 1977 S.F. Gay Pride Parade

 

 

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trident1000
Hi, Will! Wishing you speedy healing. "What's an SPF?" when Hawaiian Tropics Deep Tanning Oil doubles as lube? All the best, ... Read More
Wednesday, 05 July 2023 21:27
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Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: THE FOLSOM STREET FAIR

By Josh Eliot

 

The Folsom Street South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco was the gritty contrast to the famed Castro District, especially in the 1970’s and 1980’s. When the Castro had its annual Street Fair, the crowd was eclectic, including men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Dancing, and sometimes flashing, drag queens, street performers, snake charmers, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and country & western groups who would suddenly break into a square dance in the middle of the street, forcing the crowd to separate. There were Dunk-A-Hunk booths, face and body painting, numerous food tents and the Gay Men’s Chorus staking claim to the plaza in front of Hibernia Bank to belt out some show tunes.

 

Castro Street Fair, 1980s

Castro Street Fair, 1980s

 

You would see large groups of partygoers hanging out the windows of their flats and overcrowding the fire escapes and overhangs on the apartment buildings above Star Pharmacy, Valley Pride Market and Market Liquors. The bars, of course, were packed to the brim with large crowds surrounding the doors. The Main Stage was on Market Street and the corner of Castro and featured performances by artists like Sylvester, comedians like Ellen DeGeneres and Danny Williams as well as local and somewhat well-known bands. The whole event was just slightly over the top and refreshingly not overly political.

The Folsom Street Fair, by contrast, was a full-on South of Market “sexperience.” Some would call it sleazy, others would say it was the ultimate middle finger to society. It was a bit of both. If you’ve read Will Seagers' last two blogs, Diving Into SoMA/Folsom: Hamburger Mary's and Long Live the Stud!, you’ve already got a first hand account of some hot spots in the neighborhood. Spanning the blocks on Folsom from 8th to 13th streets and splintering off between Howard and Harrison streets, there was quite a large area for bad behavior to take place. To say that Folsom street really brought the grit is a major under-statement. I think the first rule of thumb we learned was don’t even think about showing up without putting on a cock ring, because you would definitely not be in the majority. You would always expect to see bare asses in chaps, tits galore, random whipping displays, hoods, ball gags, leather jockstraps, and chains, but a street fair wouldn’t go by without some shocking outfit or action that you never saw coming!

 

Folsom Street Fair

Folsom Street Fair

 

Whereas the Castro fairgoers would separate to let the square dancers dance, the Folsom fairgoers would crowd in and form an impenetrable circle to shield the circle jerk or blow job that spontaneously started happening in the middle of the road, keeping out anyone who was looking to stop it. I don’t know if all that happens these days but it was very commonplace in the 1980s. I remember going into one bar and seeing someone squatting on top of a cigarette machine while getting rimmed. Dore Alley sat smack dab in the middle of the street fair map and surprisingly it looked much different in the light. Dore Alley and close by Ringold Alley were notorious “last chance” cruise spots for bar patrons once they closed at 2am.

In 2014, Mike Skiff’s (videographer and director for Catalina Video under Mark Jensen) documentary Folsom Forever was released by Breaking Glass Pictures. I was so proud to see what he had accomplished after we all parted ways when Catalina Video was sold to Channel 1 Releasing in 2007. I recently viewed the movie on TUBI, the free streaming service, which documented the behind the scenes actions and adventures of the fair organizers and volunteers. The Folsom Street Fair organizers' self-proclaimed mission statement reads, in part, as follows:

“Folsom Street is committed to cultivating a safe, open and inclusive environment for kink, leather and alternative sexuality. We are dedicated to sexual liberation and the right to pleasure as a crucial part of the whole liberation movement. Folsom Street is an explicitly anti-racist organization and we are committed to decolonizing our practices.”

 

Folsom Forever poster and director, Mike Skiff

Folsom Forever poster and director, Mike Skiff

 

No Folsom Street Fair would be complete without the appearance and contributions of Mr. Markus. Marcus Hernandez, a longtime leather columnist for the Bay Area Reporter, was always front and center throughout the fair and on the Main Stage. Mr. Markus, through his column and international ventures, influenced the leather/BDSM subculture, its ethics, traditions and fundraising efforts. His smart and sarcastic column shone a light on the culture that had long been demonized and suppressed by mainstream gay and straight cultures, generating respect by showing that the leather community was among the most dedicated to their tribe. Even though he passed away in October of 2009 at the age of 77, his voice and message of pride for the LGBT and his beloved leather community reached far beyond San Francisco to like communities internationally. I remember seeing him several times at the International Mr. Leather Contest in Chicago when we shot it to release on DVD. It had been so many years since I heard his distinctive voice across the loud speaker and it brought me right back to those dirty, nasty, fabulous days that my roomies and I let our inhibitions fly at the Folsom Street Fair.

 

Mr. Markus and the Main Stage at Folsom

Mr. Markus and the Main Stage at Folsom

 

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

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(Un)Easy Riders

By Josh Eliot

 

Who doesn’t like a good road trip? Our very first one for the Catalina Crew was when we drove from L.A. to San Francisco in 1992 to shoot a movie called Easy Riders. Randy White and Bill Marlowe headed the cast, and we shot their scene in the downtown flat my producer Scott Masters (Nova Video) rented for us. I lived in San Francisco from 1980 to 1989 until Catalina closed their studio and moved me, with them, back to Los Angeles. Since my producer did not join us on this trip, I took advantage of leaving his watchful eye back in L.A. and cast a bunch of my San Francisco friends as extras in the movie. I would typically turn in a very generic script for Masters to approve and then on shoot days I would bring my real script to set. Nothing malicious, he was just from a different generation and had a hard time seeing my vision on things. The version I showed him did not have the sequence I was shooting with my friends and Randy White. We found an amazing spot with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background and shot the “movie within a movie” scene. A ranger came by and asked us if we had a permit, but when I told him we were students from the Art Institute working on a class project, he said to have a good time and let us continue. My San Francisco friends, the crew and I drank quite a bit the night before on Castro Street and we were all pretty hung over. We were all still in our 20s, and when the producer's away, the kids will play.

 

Josh Eliot and friends with Randy White

Josh Eliot and friends with Randy White

 

From San Francisco, we went to the Russian River in Guerneville (Sonoma County). We checked into the Fifes Resort and the gracious owners told us to do whatever we wanted to as far as filming. We had free roam to film fuck scenes anywhere, any place, any time. Midweek, Chi Chi LaRue drove into town from L.A. with more models for the additional scenes we needed to shoot. Chi Chi worked in the marketing department for Catalina at the time and was not directing yet. I recall she came to get familiar with how we shoot the scenes. The first night, we all ended up at the Rainbow Cattle Company in the middle of Main Street and again we “Tied One On.” The River is very rural and “hillbilly-ish,” but a gay mecca at the same time. A very interesting combination. While walking down Main Street to the restaurant for dinner, Chi Chi was in full drag and acting out. It was like that scene from John Waters' Pink Flamingos where Divine is walking through downtown Baltimore to the song “The Girl Can’t Help It.”

 

Rainbow Cattle and Fifes Russian River

 

Rainbow Cattle and Fifes Russian River

 

The next couple of days, the filming went great, but we were definitely hung over (again!) so it was “slight” torture. I got the idea to write an additional scene featuring Chi Chi as the town drunk wandering through the forest. It was taboo in my producer’s eyes to include a scene like this featuring a drag queen, and trust me, I never stopped hearing about it once he saw it in the final cut. I don’t mean to rag on Scott Masters, as I have such great memories of our time working together and I learned so much from him in the process. I will dedicate an article to him soon. It’s just that he wasn’t exactly flexible and I was still in my rebellious stage, wanting to see how far I could push things.

 

Easy Riders poster and Chi Chi LaRue with Josh Eliot on set

Easy Riders poster and Chi Chi LaRue with Josh Eliot on set

 

Later that night, the cast and crew ended up at the Rusty Nail Bar just outside of town. Chi Chi was ruling the place, as always, and we were all two sheets to the wind. There was this hot guy in a brown pick up truck I spotted when we arrived who was staring me down from across the bar. I had my liquid courage, so I started talking to him. Before I knew it, I was tossing the van keys to Orlando Bello (my 2nd Videographer) so he could drive everyone back to the resort. Suddenly, I was zooming down a dirt road in the passenger seat of that brown pick-up truck. That dirt road turned into something that no longer looked like a road, but still we kept driving. It felt like we were going straight up a mountain and I was being tossed around like a ragdoll. This is where my nerves kicked in. I was very uneasy and thought, oh shit, this guy’s a serial killer and I’ve made a huge mistake. I tried not to freak out, but inside I was tripping. The drive lasted forever when we finally got to level ground. I could tell the elevation was high even through everything outside was pitch black. We passed what looked like a shanty shed, then drove another 500 or so feet, when we came to a stop. It was another shanty looking building. We got out and went inside. It was definitely a homemade shack but it had generator power, some bits of furniture and a TV/VCR with porn tapes lying around. How appropriate! I’m not going to get graphic, but the sex was amazing. This guy was hot and handsome with abs to die for. Well, hopefully not. I realized he was just a hot corn-fed hick with a killer piece, but it wasn’t made of metal, it was between his legs.

In the morning, we woke up, did it again, then he offered me a shower before taking me back to the Fifes Resort. The shower was a bit of walk outside and up a hill, consisting of a cinderblock base and a garden hose that spewed out freezing cold mountain stream water. As I was shivering through my shower, I looked off in the distance and now everything made sense. A field of dreams, if you will. Marijuana growing as far as you could see. I was smack dab In the middle of a pot farm. When I got back to the resort, Orlando was a bit pissed at me because I ditched them all, leaving him to buy the drinks. I told him I would pay him back from the budget. He was happy and said, “So how was it?” I replied, “You tell me,” as I pulled a gallon sized Ziplock bag stuffed with weed out of a brown paper bag. A gift given to me before I left the “farm.” He was thrilled, all was forgiven and we lit up before going to shoot our final scene in the bunkhouse with Tom Farrell and Adam Archer. (The best scene in the movie, I might add.)

The point of all this? Easy Riders went on to win Best Picture at the Grabby Awards in 1993, so I guess being stoned, hung over or tipsy when shooting a porn movie didn’t turn out so bad.

 

Josh Eliot, Jeff, Randy White, Bill Marlowe and Orland on the Easy Riders set

Josh Eliot, Jeff, Randy White, Bill Marlowe and Orlando on the Easy Riders set

 

Thank you to Josh Eliot for use of the photos.

 


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

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The Stereo Maven of Castro Street

By Will Seagers

 

It is sort of funny... but porn got me into Eber Electronics of San Francisco, a long time legendary store for audio and video in the Castro area of SF. I started going there with the little windfalls of cash that I would make from each movie or mag to buy another piece of gear that would make up my home DJ system. So, in a way, my films propelled me into other professions - sales and DJing!

During my many visits to the store I started to notice the differences in the sales techniques in the sales staff. Some were very kind when it was only information that I needed. Others more or less gave me "the broom" when there was no sale in sight. My go-to guy became Harold. Although he was very knowledgeable, it was his wit and humor that really separated him from the rest of the pack. Originally from Brooklyn, I sensed that he was a reincarnated vaudeville comedian! His use of Yiddish to describe certain things and stereo parts would literally have me in stitches! To put it mildly, he had quite a "Shtick!" When my film career started to grow and I was routinely spending more and more with him at the store, the others who had "broomed" me were now lamenting their shortsightedness!

During one visit with Harold, I told him I was interested in working there. Well, it wasn't more than a day or two before Jim, the store manager called me in for an interview... that I aced! I had the privilege to be under Harold's wing for a brief period of time before Harold matriculated into the position of sales rep with one of our vendors at the store. Harold was a real performer. He was infamous for his Saturday afternoons at the store to start live comedy at any given opportunity.

The most infamous of these times that I could remember was when Robin Williams, who lived in the neighborhood at the time, sauntered in through the front door. Little did I know that Harold and Robin knew each other and would burst out into some pretty insane improvs. It was only seconds before Robin and Harold were hurling comic insults across the (packed) main floor. The entire store was roaring! I had to pinch myself... I thought I was at some off Broadway performance or the like. Those were the golden years of San Francisco when you never knew when all hell was going to break loose!

NOW, as to my part: I started there in 1984, right about at the peak of my screen and mag career. People would come in. I would greet them. And to see people's faces, the double takes... I wish I had them on film. Here we were one block away from the Gay crossroads of the world, Castro and 18th Streets. And there was nothing conventional about any of the businesses in this neighborhood. There were several other gay salesmen there... one who remains my friend to this day... Jim. Together, while being friendly and knowledgeable, we artfully dodged (and sometimes we didn't) gropings, exposures and always the stare-downs. We kept our cools and had a blast! Also, it was not uncommon to have a leather couple enter the store... one on a leash and the other with a riding crop!

 

Will Seagers at Eber Electronics, SF

Will Seagers at Eber Electronics, SF

 

I have always loved electronics and have had a penchant for learning technologies, nomenclatures and the like. So, to a lot of the gay community, I became a go-to person for putting together a stereo, home theater or video cameras. I love when my friends on social media still thank me for helping them! I never made a big deal out of it... it was just natural.

Speaking of what came natural... Well, I did a lot of "home installations," too. And you can read all you want into that... it was all true! Lots of mischief ensued. I knew it didn't take rocket science for a client to do a basic TV set-up themselves! Lol. Let's just call this another perk. BTW, that didn't last too long. The owner caught wind of it and brought a halt to all home visits! (Boo!)

I remained on staff until 1990. For the restless type that I was in business, I would call that a long haul! I had a great time... met lots of wonderful people... and repeated the process later in 2000 in Santa Fe, N.M. at another legendary and well known Audio-Video mecca. Things always seem to happen to me in twos! And to think that this was coexisting with DJing and porn!


 

Thank you to Will Seagers for use of his photo.

 


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

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Queering Valentine's Day

posted by Madame Bubby

I've written about “this day” in a couple of past blogs, including this one on our website. Sigh. I even posted a tweet on my personal account that I “had no plans,” passive-aggressively playing for sympathy (or maybe a date?).

An article I came across in a student publication called the Miami Hurricane makes a strong point, almost a manifesto, “the fact that the day went from one about beheading to betrothing is proof that we have the ability to radically transform this day into anything we want. And transform we did.” To some extent, yes. A day commemorating an early Christian martyr was also proclaimed as the day birds began to mate and is now essentially aisles in retail stores filled with items in various shades of red and pink.

 

Valentine's Day aisle

But is that its end: Hallmark, kitschy images of cupids and teddy bears, overworked florists walking on floors covered with stem cuttings, angst about making restaurant reservations in time and buying the perfect gift?

The article I reference above mentions how some campus organizations are making the holiday more gender-inclusive and include queer narratives in its celebration.

It's interesting though, that queer narratives that either code implicitly or explore explicitly romantic relationships (with varying degrees of intimacy) don't subscribe (because they have to) to what is essentially a kitschy bowdlerization of Victorian sensibilities about gender relationships (which were perhaps more idealized than real).

In fact, in the heady days of LGBTQ liberation in the 1970s (essentially the product of social changes that began in the 1960s), an era that rejected aesthetically (and culturally to some extent) the “hearts and flowers/moon and June” sentimentality of previous eras, gay erotic filmmakers produced work that probes tensions in romantic, intimate relationships on so many levels. Marginalization in this case, as with much groundbreaking art, becomes the space and time to bend and even break conventional social boundaries.

For example, in Andrew Herbert's Song of the Loon, in the 19th century, Ephraim, a white man, has left his lover and taken up with a trapper, Cyrus. Ephraim wants to settle down to an outdoors life of bliss as the object of affection of only one man, but Cyrus knows that Ephraim isn't dealing with his own, or his lover's, emotions on a realistic level. He takes Ephraim to an old Native American medicine man, who imparts the wisdom of the ages to the young blond buck (through words and hallucinogenic visions): Sex and love are not one and the same.
 

Images from Song of the Loon
Song of the Loon (1969)

And in Tom DeSimone's The Idol, an young athlete's (played by Kevin Redding) struggles with coming to terms with his sexual orientation shows how sexual activity and intimate relationships are not mutually exclusive. In fact, no “one” person ends up being the ideal/idol in this film for its protagonist.
 

Images from The Idol
The Idol (1979)

Steve Scott's Track Meet parallels the story of The Idol, focusing on a young track star's (played by Gavin Geoffrey) tension in coming out and accepting himself. Romance, strength, affection, and lovemaking are explored by Gavin as he discovers himself and the world of gay sex.
 

Images from Track Meet
Track Meet (1976)

What's interesting is the coming out narrative present in these films, because of how its complex psychosocial dynamic of fear and repression but, more significantly, self-discovery and self-acceptance, and, ultimately, liberation, subverts the cloying and also creatively bland Valentine's Day sensibility.

Yes, of course, times have changed, but I do wonder if more LGBTQ-themed Hallmark Valentine's Day cards is the blessed fruit of liberation. The struggle of the past should have taught LGBTQ persons to expect more; that the hearts and flowers are transitory and superficial, and that the end is not finding the “One,” but the glorious and at the same time heartbreaking day-to-day challenge of loving him/her/they.

For highlights from more of our romance-oriented films, also check out this video on our YouTube channel.

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