But in the s, homophobia was the norm, leading many actors, actresses, and musicians to keep their sexual orientation secret. It wasn't until the seventies that the Gay Liberation movement started to fight for gay rights all over the world. Despite the stigma, there were a few famous people who were openly gay in the sixties. This list of gay celebrities who were out in the s is ranked by fame and popularity. Andy Warhol tops our list.
Horsfall thought it probably was and set up his campaigning group, which would play an important role in demonstrating to politicians that Gay sixties wasn't merely the preoccupation of a metropolitan coterie. In the early days, they tell me, living together was a dangerous business. For all that the law was draconian, it was also unenforceable. It is hard to judge at this distance, although the experience Gag recent years suggests there is a lot to be said for moving swiftly to consolidate positions gained, as Stonewall has done in sweeping on from Section 28 to civil partnership to protections Gay sixties sexual orientation legislation. Perhaps it was presumptuous to think Gay sixties would integrate and become part of society. Spread the word. Keep me logged in. It is punishable by Door county private island homes years in prison.
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Thank God! He also presented, I felt, a very sixtied impression of New York City gay life in the few years just prior to the Gay sixties. I think he started a year or so after we began living together, though I don't believe it was Miley cyrus showing her nude self case of cause and effect. I found a Gay sixties of the Times that had a small article - on a far inside page, as I recall. There was Gay sixties big difference, though. I'd had no strong curiosity about grass, but I Gay sixties it — just not be a wet blanket — and zip, nothing happened. Straight white young people seemed to want to keep their music, literally, in the head. I chased the guy up the street, but didn't catch him. The Candlelight Lounge's customers were white Americans and Hispanics. Rather than attempting to elect its own candidates, the Liberal party generally sought to influence the candidate choice of the major parties by promises of support or nonsupport. Dallesandro was hailed as a "natural" and "charismatic. There were Edwardian suits, and Nehru jackets, and like many of the sitxies styles the cut was extremely fitted. The decor was 's whorehouse - red flocked wallpaper with brass and phony crystal light fixtures. A little Britaney pussy pics was cool, but they had seat belts on their asses. However, that interpretation doesn't fit the history of gay New York as easily.
It was a battered old thing and, in many respects, shabby.
- II 's.
- Roper Gives a Blowjob.
But in the s, homophobia was the norm, leading many actors, actresses, and musicians to keep their sexual orientation secret. It wasn't until the seventies that the Gay Liberation movement started to fight for gay rights all over the world. Despite the stigma, there were a few famous people who were openly gay in the sixties.
This list of gay celebrities who were out in the s is ranked by fame and popularity. Andy Warhol tops our list. Artist Andy Warhol was openly gay long before it was accepted in mainstream culture. His art, musical influences, and open lifestyle still serve as inspiration to people all over the world. Hairspray and Polyester director John Waters says he has been openly gay since he was 10 years old when he first saw Elvis Presley.
Featuring movie stars and famous women, this list has it all. Age: Dec. Age: Birthplace: Sicily, Italy. While other celebs like Rock Hudson and Montgomery Clift were widely suspected of being secretly gay , these open celebs bravely paved the way for homosexual actors today. Andy Warhol. John Waters. Lindsey Vonn Loves and Hookups. Salvatore Mineo, Sr.
That they were intended to entertain there was no doubt, but — jeez! The fact that the same ugly straight faces repeatedly drifted in and out of the bars in the gay scene made it credible. Police violence at the Democratic convention in Chicago and at Columbia University worsened the climate. This did have the unintended effect of disguising my incipient baldness in a way, as now my scalp was visible all over. At the same time, Ken met new gay friends working at the Center, and became involved in a summer-long affair with Steve who had had a lover for a few years , who was also working in Saratoga for the summer. This was a major turning point in the relationship. But sometime in '66 or early '67 I noticed a "suspicious looking" place.
Ken's job was doing publicity and public relations for a group of national touring companies of Broadway shows. This meant that he went on long-distance trips for two or three weeks every now and then. It was while he was on one of those trips in the early part of the following year that I discovered a gay bar in the neighborhood, the Candlelight Lounge.
And a few months later I went down to the Village with Aaron and his gang of friends to a new dance place called the Stonewall. Soon I picked up a trick in the neighborhood place, and then another - and Ken on his trips did the same, I learned later. We both maintained the attitude that this conduct was wrong, and both took pains to conceal it from the other, and both saw these promiscuous adventures when they came to light as threatening betrayals.
There was one big difference, though. Ken's tricks were one-off events out of town; whereas, mine were people I and we could very likely run into in the neighborhood. And since these guys were associated with my extra-curricular sex, it seemed impossible to bring them into our shared life without creating a lot of ill will between us.
Thus, as a couple we socialized with some of his old friends, and some of my old friends, but my new friends, who were becoming a growing part of my life were not in the picture — at least not in our picture as a couple. One of these guys was Earl, the sexually hypertrophied "Redneck" who I had connected with that early spring morning on Central Park West just before I had met Ken. Not long after Ken and I started living together I stopped into the corner drugstore on the NW corner of Broadway and 72nd, and when I took my purchase from the LP bargain bin up to the cash register - the first Mommas and Papa's recording, the one with Monday, Monday - there he was.
While Earl's mule-like endowment was impossible to miss, his personality loomed as large upon renewed encounters. He had been born in the southern Appalachians, and left the holler that was home sometime in his teens; over the years he had moved from place to place up through the southern lowlands to the Virginia Tidewater country, until finally he and a lover made the big jump to New York City. He was in his mid-thirties, with a face that looked like it was chopped out of wood with an axe - homely as the proverbial hedge fence, and he stood well over six foot, all bone and sinew.
He was a fascinating guy, and for all of his rough-hewn exterior, he was a thoughtful and affectionate person. Earl was not someone whom I would have expected to meet in New York. Actually Earl was not someone I might reasonably have expected to meet anywhere in my life, not just in New York, but one of the greatest pluses I've found in being gay is the tremendous variety of people that I have met and shared my life with.
Judging from what I observed in the lives of straight people in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, gay men - despite sometimes having many of the typical American prejudices and preferences in regard to social class, race and religion - usually, as a matter of course, included a far wider variety of people into their social and sexual lives. While New York gay life was not a Liberal PC Utopia in the late Sixties, the majority of the bars I went to had mixed crowds though how mixed varied, of course , and informal social gatherings outside of the bars, as I remember them at this time, often included Hispanic guys of various skin colors , though few or no blacks.
Of course there were gay white gay men who fastidiously "stuck to their own kind," however, on the Upper West Side and in the Village too, I don't think that was the predominant lifestyle. Guys who were seriously under-educated or in some cases just plain not too bright often had a tough row to hoe.
It may have been in Psychology Today , which was having a lot of success as a new publication. I made some check marks on it and underlinings, and then threw it in a drawer to read again later. When I did come across it again, I discovered that Ken had seen it in the meantime, and he had made his own tick marks and written some comments. As a result, we had some awkward but helpful talks about the extra-curricular sex in our relationship. Despite the deceit about sex, and consequent ill feeling that would flare up as a result, our relationship on the whole was a pleasant and cooperative one.
We decided to give the New York City Opera a try at one point, and bought tickets for the fall season - neither of us were even remotely opera buffs, and I think I had only seen one or two performances at the Amato Opera on the Bowery. It turned out to be something we both grew to enjoy — though we weren't made to be "opera queens" — and we ended up subscribing for fall and spring seasons for three years.
We used to go down to the Village to eat out on Saturday nights, usually to the Five Oaks on Grove Street, down a long flight of stairs into the basement. It was a small place with a passionately dedicated clientele, a good share of it gay men and women. The decor was 's whorehouse - red flocked wallpaper with brass and phony crystal light fixtures. The very Mona herself reigned from a back table, a portly woman with peroxided hair, who wore beaded floor-length dresses.
And then as Columbus Avenue began to gentrify commercially we went to the Red Baron in our own neighborhood too - unfortunately gentrification did not bring with it any Marie Blakes, nor even a Mona. By Ken had a plum of a new job working for a top show business public relations firm, and in the spring he was working with Gore Vidal, who had a new play opening on Broadway. In late spring he began work for one of their major new clients, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center located in an old spa town near Albany.
This was a major turning point in the relationship. He was away for about three and a half months, during which time my neighborhood sexual and social life bloomed. At the same time, Ken met new gay friends working at the Center, and became involved in a summer-long affair with Steve who had had a lover for a few years , who was also working in Saratoga for the summer. Following that summer Steve from Saratoga and his lover, George, visited the city several times a year and stayed with us.
They were bright and congenial guys, and the four of us became friends. I went up there for one weekend. Ken smoked marijuana once in awhile. I think he started a year or so after we began living together, though I don't believe it was a case of cause and effect. I'd had no strong curiosity about grass, but I tried it — just not be a wet blanket — and zip, nothing happened. This weekend we smoked before having sex. Afterwards Ken asked, as he had in the past, whether I'd gotten high.
I mumbled something non-committal, and then added, "but sex seemed to take so looooong! He laughed, "You finally got high. I blew grass regularly for the next twenty years. Despite the glories of Timothy Leary's gospel of "turn on, tune in and drop out" as propagated by the Hippies in the latter part of the 60's, I was not attracted by the idea of hallucinating.
I did, however, try Angel Dust somewhere around , I guess, and had a very weird, but not frightening, experience; and then I tried it a second time and it was practically a non-event. But the bad press on "dust" and some anecdotes that came my way convinced me that I'd just been lucky, and I never did it again. As a result Ken had various foreign friends who visited us a couple of times a year.
Gracious entertaining at home from Fellini's Satyricon , Living with Ken gave me my first taste of domesticity and a conventional social life since moving to New York. The idea of an apartment as "home base" now really had an emphasis on home. Although being the Upper West Side there was still a "police lock" on the door as well as the regular one. A Pines boardwalk. For a couple of summers we took a vacation in the Fire Island Pines for a week, renting on a Sunday through Friday basis from a friend Ken's.
Staying there was a much different experience from my two visits to the Grove, which I hadn't been to for two or three years now. And there seemed to be far less frantic, non-stop drinking going on. However, while men such as Jerry Herman, the creator of several hit Broadway musicals, and Calvin Klein, the clothing designer, had impressive homes there, many places were rented to groups of far less affluent gay men who took shares in a house for the summer. She was, the night we saw her, not having any serious voice problems, and she gave an assured, confident performance — these were things she could not always deliver toward the end of her career.
The evening was marred by the interruption of one of her cult crazies. He stood up in the first row of the balcony just as she was getting ready to begin a number and called out These occurrences weren't unusual at her concerts, and she had made trading remarks with these fans part of her concert shtick. Garland's response was, "Loooove your outfit," with a perfect bitch-queen imitation. Lots of laughter.
Garland signaled the conductor, the orchestra struck up and she went on with the show. Judy Garland at the Palace ' They starred in their show, Garland in hers. Judy Garland died two years later, June , of what was ruled an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. Her funeral was private, but prior to that thousands of people lined up for hours to pay their respects.
Frank Sinatra said, "She was the greatest. The rest of us will be forgotten - never Judy. Our relationship became heavier on the friendship end than the romantic-sexual one, and in early we decided not to continue the sexual part of it. In March I became one of the last staff members laid off by Baldridge as they went through a decline in business due to bad economic conditions and factors in the educational field.
It had been a great place to work, and I missed it and the people there. Ken had started his own PR firm with a straight, female associate, and I went to work for them. Working for eight hours a day, and then coming home and sitting through a rerun during the evening got to feel like I was spending a twelve-hour day chained to a sewing machine in a sweatshop. Enough already! January '72, to save my sanity and Ken's life, I moved to a studio apartment on the corner of West 80 th St.
As far as I knew there were no gay bars on the Upper West Side. But sometime in '66 or early '67 I noticed a "suspicious looking" place. It was called Milano's, and was across from Verdi Square near the northeast corner of Amsterdam and 72 nd. There was nothing special about it to notice really, and I'd probably passed it a lot.
But one day as I walked by I happened to glance at the window. There was a guy sitting there and he locked eyes immediately, and stayed glued to my eyeballs until I looked away. The bad news was he looked like someone you'd be able to hire to knife your rich grandmother. I decided that maybe the place got some rough trade as customers. Verdi Square had the well-earned reputation for being a gathering place for low life, and was one of several spots on Broadway nicknamed "Needle Park.
Someone, and it may have been Ken, told me there was a gay bar a little further up Amsterdam Avenue. Whoever it was, I remember that they thought it was a truly lousy place. The street lighting was still only slightly brighter than a coal mine, and Amsterdam was a consistently dumpy part of the neighborhood.
I wasn't sure how I liked the idea of checking it out alone at night in the event it turned out to be anything as uninviting as the other place. I found it one night at mid-block on the east side of the avenue, between 75 th and 74 th. The first time I didn't even go in. Though I could see a couple of men at the end of the bar, I could hardly make them out the place was so dark I walked past a couple of times. No one came in or out.
Uh-uh, I chickened out. But it may have been the next night that I went back to reconnoiter again. Good lord, even worse. But, then I saw someone, or maybe a couple of someones, going in or out, and decided they looked gay - yeah, do it. The place was called the Candlelight Lounge back then, today it's just the Candle Bar. I was going there by February '67 — so my first visit might have been late the year before. The bar had been operating as a gay bar before I started going there, which means — I think — that it might be the oldest continuously operating gay bar in New York City.
When it was drawing a noticeable minority of gay customers in the 60's it kept up a steady campaign of trying to get rid of them; so, until the Sip-in it's not appropriate, to my way of thinking, to consider it a gay bar. The present Candle looked much different inside than it does now. The actual bar space was smaller as well. There was a bar with stools on the left side as you entered and enough room for an aisle to the back.
The place got wider at the end of the bar. There was a juke box on the right and a mechanical shuffle board game. The shuffle board game was obnoxiously loud and intrusive in such a small space. There were booths with tables against both walls, and the middle of the room was crowded with tables and chairs. The tables were covered with red cloths. There was a men's room behind this on the left, and an unused kitchen on the right.
It was clear from the buzz of conversation that a lot of them knew each other, and I wasn't very comfortable as I got the feeling that I was one of the few people there alone. However, I did go back — it was too convenient not to, a ten minute walk away. Stonewall and the Snake Pit both had good music and dancing. In '71 I was still going down to the Triangle and the Zodiac - and there was an after-hours place on Christopher, called Christopher's End.
The worried little gentleman I'd seen sitting in the window was known as "Sweet William. His duties appeared to weigh heavily on him. The bartenders treated him with a kind of jocular deference. And after a time quite a few of the customers were greeting him as he wandered through the place, which seemed to delight him. It had become clear, I guess, that he was essentially just putting in his time.
It had become equally clear that his reticence and unhappy appearance might have been due to terminal boredom. Rumor had it that not only was he straight, but Albanian as well, with only a nodding acquaintance with English. The real owners were allegedly a Greek-American family who owned a restaurant on the Jersey shore of the Hudson. And, indeed, there was a very brief period when a middle-aged Greek man and his young, attractive son appeared and took a hand at tending bar.
Despite doing their best to be friendly, neither they nor the customers were truly comfortable, and they disappeared The bar's owners were now said to be a couple known as Sonny and Jenny. Sonny Tobin, according to an unkind reference at one time or another in one of the tabloids, had been a minor figure in the waterfront rackets. Jenny would go on — alone, Sonny having died - to be the reputed owner in future years of several other gay bars in the neighborhood, and for this she got her own snide reference in the press sometime in the early 70's I can remember having a conversation with him once about the New York bars I went to in '59, but the ones he looked back on fondly were the Cork Club and Artie's from the early Fifties.
And the other one, who became a friend in the early Seventies, was Larry. He was very tall and thin, with a kind of theatrically homely face, and a dry, but outrageous wit.
The day bartender was a lesbian named Maureen, or Moe. She would sometimes drop in during the early evening, though she rarely stayed long, being far too savvy not to know that women weren't good for business.
I can only remember one female customer, who appeared for a brief period of weeks in the early evening sometimes. She was an older straight woman who worked as a bartender somewhere, and she told me she picked the Candlelight because she could drink there without men trying to hit on her.
Very infrequently guys might bring in a female friend to the bar, but everyone knew that an extended visit was a royal road to unpopularity with the other customers.
However, my first impression that the bar was a place where a lot of the people knew each other was right. This part of the Upper West Side was still dingy or worse, and no one was likely to come up there purposely to cruise in a bar, which meant the clientele remained a crowd of local guys. The atmosphere and energy of the place were low, curiously reminiscent of how I remembered many New York bars being in '59 - and this was seven years later. The music provoked some foot tapping or a little head bobbing.
And some of the music was the actually the same - certainly the same genre and artists - as what I heard when I first arrived in the city. Later, as the neighborhood improved and the gay population increased, other bars opened. These were still the places a guy could go to find someone to paint his apartment, locate an inexpensive dentist, get an apartment cleaner, a mover, a resume written, etc. The Candlelight Lounge's customers were white Americans and Hispanics.
My recollection is that a consistent quarter of the crowd was Hispanic Cuban and Puerto Rican mainly , though that proportion could go much higher on weekend nights. This was a change from previous places I'd hung out in, where I'd been unaware of Hispanics as being a large part of the crowd.
There were only a very few blacks who came to the bar. The guys mixed and used the space with no regard for ethnicity. Cliques of friends were often composed of American and Hispanic guys, and the circles of bar acquaintances were completely mixed. Ethnicity didn't seem to play the slightest part in who tricked with who, and it may be that the tricking was actually the origin of the easy-going mixed socializing.
Nowadays the show would probably be skewered as racist - or totally non-PC, at least - but it was a harmless send-up of the old Jeanette MacDonald — Nelson Eddy romantic cornball movies of the Thirties and Forties. There are two American Indian characters in the cast, and at one point — we were sitting in a front row — I was unnerved to realize that one of them had his eyes glued on me.
And in a later scene it happened again. A few days after one of my friends, who knew the actors, told me, "Oh, so-and-so was interested in you And that was that. He saw me, and clearly recognized me. And this time that was not just that. The next night I was in the bar, an acquaintance who'd been standing next to me at the time said, "Jesus, that guy had some ego the way he introduced himself.
You would've of thought he'd had the lead in Sweet Charity! After a couple of years by I knew enough people in the Candlelight that I was going there regularly to hang out with the friends I'd met, as much as for the sexual opportunities — though these were rarely lacking, and rarely declined. The bulk of the customers were guys in their twenties or early thirties, with a very much smaller number being in their forties.
Many of the guys had office clerical jobs, some had technical skills, and - typical of the Upper West Side population in general, I think - there were a fair number of customers connected with theater or the arts.
Years later he had become a major figure in NYC cultural life and television. The Belleclaire. Like Larry, Don and I had done in the Tiltin' Hilton, these guys lived two and three together in order to make even these seedy accommodations affordable.
That all-important gay bar shrine in the Candlelight Lounge, the juke box, sucked. And it sucked big time. It contained an undistinguished menu of pop and rock with a very small dash of Motown. New songs that showed up were dying by the time they arrived — and in some cases should have died before. There was no Latin music on it either, despite the Hispanic patrons, but this always was the case in any Manhattan gay bars I went to over the years.
Perhaps there were Hispanic gay bars farther uptown on the West Side, but I do not recall ever hearing of any. This was not a jukebox you could have put into Stonewall or Kellers during the late Sixties.
Despite grousing by the customers, the jukebox improved with the enthusiasm of a would-be suicide. The bartenders, Earl and Larry, parried complaints without actually giving out any information about the source of the problem at first, and if Denny, the head bartender, had anything to say on the topic he must have said it very quietly.
And as the manager he was able to muzzle the juke box. I do remember when one Aretha Franklin song showed up - Chain of Fools , I think it was - and I poured coins into the box.
It must have driven him mad. He probably wished I'd get hit by a truck on my way to the bar. But the doyen of NYC gay bars is scheduled to do its final trick on June 22, to close its doors for the last time.
There were two places that people went to eat after the bar closed at 4 a. The Dorilton. One was the Ham and Eggs restaurant on the east side of Broadway at 71st. My recollection is that it occupied the corner commercial space of the Dorilton apartments, an outrageous Second Empire tart of a building fallen on evil days, which had it been a person could only have been Zola's courtesan, Nana.
They sat at the counter space nearest the door — when they sat at all - but were usually running back and forth to the street. They spent a lot of time on the pay phone, and parading back and forth along the curb in front of the place - like tawdry, street-walking versions of Zola's magnificent whore. The lucky ones might meet a john and get whisked away in a car.
As I recall, the place closed not long after I started going to the Candlelight Lounge. It was the stereotypical greasy spoon coffee shop staffed by a bunch of middle aged and older Greek immigrant men, and was complete with a few small icons taped to the kitchen wall.
It was probably the greasiest food I've ever eaten — and "breakfast" was usually two big cheeseburgers served on Kaiser rolls with a mountain of home fries and a milkshake. The head counterman was Chris, a very tall, skinny, craggy-faced older man with a loud voice and bristling manner.
At this hour he usually wore an expression that looked like he was ready to bite someone's head off, and he slammed the dishes down on the table or sometimes spun them down the counter. In fact, he was a very cool number. But Chris dealt with it with something roughly akin to the forbearance of a seasoned playschool teacher. The expression hadn't been coined yet, but "Chris Rules" was the name of the game. When there was bad behavior, Chris shouted at the top of his lungs and stepped in and quashed the problem.
One night I saw him roar at a bunch of straight troublemakers, and then he pulled out a cleaver he kept under the counter in what was clearly a move to begin summary executions. Straight late night drinkers from the neighborhood and night shift workers who stopped in regularly pretty much ignored the gay guys and their hullabaloo.
But strangers could get freaked. Unfortunately, the strangers were often groups of black guys or several black couples on their way uptown from an evening in Midtown. This, I think, exacerbated the situation — tension between blacks and whites was rising in urban areas.
If they started coming on with loud anti-gay remarks, then Chris would intervene and the black guys could become very threatening — my take was that they deeply resented a white man coming down on them for ranking on a bunch of faggots, and saw it in terms of racism, white siding with white.
And then there was Chris's manner of taking orders and serving customers, which certainly must have set any stranger on edge first thing. Fortunately, if the Greeks called the cops, the police car seemed to practically spring up out the concrete. I wouldn't be surprised if the cops were well aware of Chris's iron rule and handy cleaver they did stop in for coffee themselves , and they probably knew if there was a call it was potentially serious. Such, was post-bar dining elegance on the late Sixties Upper West Side.
The Brasserie it was not. During the day "the Greeks" got some of the same gay guys for customers, and though Chris could never have been called Mr. Charm, he was friendly with his gay customers from the early morning hours.
When did he sleep I used to wonder. And in their own special categories, were the Beatles and the Stones. Come fly with me, Alison Steele, the Nightbird Alison Steele, the Nightbird.
The first night she was on, Steele opened with some poetry she had written, Andean indigenous music, and the Moody Blues' Nights in White Satin. Jimmy Hendrix's song Nightbird Flying was his tribute. While WNEW had the reputation as the stations for "heads," Alison Steele had for a few years no lack of gay listeners. However, I am not aware that she ever acknowledged that even at a later point in her long career.
She was already slotted in as the new Judy. But the chinkachinkchinkchink rattlesnake roll of the tambourine and the punchy, driving lyrics of black music kept right on coming through. Though certainly not on WNEW! Redding's recordings caught the attention of gay men, which was a significant departure in a subculture that had traditionally prized mainly female singers - and in days past, the weepier and torchier, the better.
But there were enough white gay men now who had taken to black urban music in their teens that they brought about a major innovation in the musical tastes of the gay world, one equal in its own subculture to that which occurred in the early Fifties when white American teenagers had embraced Rhythm 'n' Blues and left the ballads and novelty songs of the white Hit Parade behind. The world of the Sixties was shaking -- in many ways. Despite their undoubted greatness, the likes of Judy Garland, Sarah Vaughan and a constellation of other stars, nor the music of the New York cabaret scene and Broadway, didn't -- and probably couldn't -- accommodate the energy and assertiveness, the grit, joy and exuberance of current gay life.
Certainly not in New York. A not especially noteworthy performer for Columbia, she had moved to Atlantic records, and teamed with the Muscle Shoals studios' rhythm section she unleashed a fiery, soulful sound that gave another dimension to black pop music. She was a national sensation, and her music electrified gay men. Just why is demonstrated by another powerful song from Franklin's album, Aretha Now. Think think think think think think think think think think think think.
You better think think think about what you're trying to do to me. Yeah, think Think, think! Let your mind go, let yourself be free Oh freedom freedom , freedom freedom , freedom, yeah freedom Freedom freedom , freedom freedom ,.
The music starts in high gear and stays there - like an excerpted run from a gospel song - the instruments sustain an urgent support for Aretha's intense delivery of what is half anthem, half rebuke It's one hell of a lot grit and defiance and soaring passion packed into slightly over two minutes. And it could be appropriated with a virtually perfect fit by gay listeners, which is why it stayed on the juke boxes of gay bars well into the Seventies. Gay liberation shares with at least one religious denomination the distinction of being a movement sprung from the human crotch, not the head.
It is about the body -- the visceral, the hormonal, the guts, the sweat, the smell, the feel Any other issues proceed from this. Yet, it is only because sex is initiated and continued by the two men that there is a story! However, such is the fear of gay sex and the power of homophobia that the film was gelded by denial. So much for "progress" in the post-AIDS glbt world. Rock — Mick Jagger and the Stones' borrowings from American blacks notwithstanding - did not have an ass.
Perhaps Ike and Tina Turner had something like that in mind when one of their albums featured close-up headshots of the two of them painted in white-face makeup and chowing down on giant slices of watermelon. I remember a ride home from the suburbs in with five other young Baldridge people packed into a company car, and getting an object lesson in the big split taking place in popular music.
The Beatles had just come out with a new song, which the DJ on the car radio was repeating every five or ten minutes — and each time everyone including me would cheer and sit there nodding their heads in time with the music, like a car full of bobble birds. The DJ was repeating it too, though not nearly as frequently - which put me off, but nobody else.
I noticed that when it played, the others would start the head bobbin' and then fizzle out with it — it just didn't go downstairs with them. Straight white young people seemed to want to keep their music, literally, in the head. A little soul was cool, but they had seat belts on their asses. Yet I remember a bunch of white gay men in listening to Tina Turner's pulsating "Shake a Tail Feather," and they got out of their chairs to listen - not because they thought it was the national anthem, but because you can't move your bottom half sitting down.
Rock music might have its sex symbols , Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, for example, and it even managed to look like sex sometimes, though usually in the form guitar masturbation.
And no one in the next couple of years would think that Woodstock was taking place in the same world as the Apollo Theater and the Ike and Tina Turner Review — they weren't. Rock did not have a bootie, Rock would never shake its groove thing. Rock did not "get down," and Rock was not about to go near any it that was paired with get down , as in "get down on it!
What had come to be called "soul music" was urban, gritty, defiant, full of sass, challenge and ridicule, and it was emphatically physical. It breathed hard, it growled and when it let go, it yowled. It was ready-made for the emerging gay life. What was now called "Rock" was just on the verge of finding the center of its fan base in the young white males of the suburbs. By the turn of the decade you could have walked into any empty bar in the Village or the Upper West Side, and just by checking the juke box known whether the place was gay or straight.
I used to go out to lunch and drinking after work with the young, straight people I worked with fairly often during these years. We went to bars in the suburb where Baldridge had its office, and to bars popular with young people on the Upper East Side and in the Village.
In retrospect America in the second half of the Sixties is often is presented as something of a three-ring circus — the Hippies, the racial conflict and the growing anti-Vietnam war sentiment - each occupying its discrete ring in the overall razzle-dazzle.
The 6 O'clock News was like an attack of vertigo That conglomeration of groups, gurus, ideas, music events and good times that were clumped together as "Hippie" were having some success enticing Americans into the joys of public nakedness and pre-marital sex and drugs. However, the country was not entirely all soft and runny with L-O-V-E, love. While the cast of Hair was practicing "Let the sun shine in The scale of destruction and violence in Detroit was on a par with that of a war zone.
And Ken and I could look out the window of our apartment, and see the skies lit up with the fire of a burning Newark just across the Hudson — that city was declared to be in "open rebellion. The extent of death, injuries, property destruction and financial loss across the nation had not been this great since the Civil War. The cost in intangible terms was probably greater.
The country was emotionally in turmoil and exhausted, and glad when winter approached. Had we only known what was ahead the entire nation would have stayed in bed with its head under the covers for the entire next year.
In January, during a holiday truce, the Communist forces in Vietnam launched a major surprise offensive against American and South Vietnamese forces on the eve of the Tet lunar New Year celebrations. Embassy was invaded. Tet clearly demonstrated that the optimistic statements U. When the same spokesmen said after the Tet Offensive that the Communists had been badly weakened, they were telling the truth for a change, but they had a lot of trouble persuading anyone to believe them. The cost in North Vietnamese casualties was tremendous but the gambit produced a pivotal media disaster for the White House and the presidency of Lyndon Johnson.
The strategy toppled the American president. It turned the tide of the war. I t was unbelievable when on April 4 th news bulletins announced that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was as gut wrenching as the assassination of JFK, but the follow-up to the president's death had been a period of national unity in mourning. In Washington, the nation's capital, troops protected public buildings as fire destroyed block after block of the city.
The White House was guarded by the army and at one point rioters were within two blocks of it. A pall of smoke hung over familiar national monuments. Washington, DC The racial divisions in America were a bleeding wound again. Leaving my building on February 3 rd of that year I had seen and smelled an omen of what the year held in store all along West 72 nd Street on my way to the subway.
The Lindsay administration and New Yorkers were feeling the effects of yet another strike. This time it was sanitation workers, which meant that the first layer of what were to become ten-foot high mountains of garbage were already accumulating — and would continue to accumulate at the rate of 10, tons per day. Thank God! March 22 nd brought the Yippies' "spring equinox celebration" to Grand Central Station.
The Yippies could be roughly characterized as Hippie-like political provocateurs and showmen. Normally I would have been commuting through Grand Central, but that Friday I got a ride to and from work. Lindsay and New York did better — briefly — at the time of Dr. King's murder in April. John Lindsay displayed an enormous courage and empathy that saved the city from widespread violence.
In the past he walked the streets of Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant when the police were sure riots would break out. He stood eye-to-eye, without bodyguards, on hot nights, with very angry people and calmed them down. John Lindsay walked into Harlem again, on the worst of all days — and the enraged populace held back again. In a time of national calamity, as many, many other urban centers were contemplating acres of smoldering ruins, Lindsay really looked every inch a hero to New Yorkers. The protest ostensibly began over the administration's proposal to build a University gymnasium by clearing nearby black housing, but in an era of protest and defiance demonstrations had become a collegiate entertainment as well.
On April 30th the college administration decided it was not amused and called in the police, who dragged students out of the buildings, beating some who are only passively resisting.
Mounted cops charged through campus striking out at any student in their way. Game time was definitely over. Many faculty were shocked, next day the campus was closed by a strike. It was a debacle in which both students and administration were tarred, but it also drew strong criticism onto the police, whose actions were seen as far too similar to those used by police in the South to beat down black civil rights demonstrators.
Police attacking students at Columbia U. The Hippies were becoming the country's security blanket. No matter how you felt about them, their doings as presented in the print media and on TV provided sweet relief from racial warfare, burning cities, war protests and the Vietnam War itself. In fact, letters to the editor suggested that the media might even purposely be giving the Hippies too much publicity in an effort to distract the nation from the tidal wave of discontent.
I believed it was quite possible. Some professional commentators wondered the same in magazines articles. And New York was about to enjoy a big swig of this soporific. It ran from April 29, to July 1, , closing after 1, performances.
It sang of sex and dope, black and white and, in a brief little musical package:. It came across with humor and irony rather than venom, and it applied its anti-war message beguilingly. And the audiences did so enthusiastically, sporting their modish clothes, granny dresses, flower print shirts and love beads and doing the usual Hippie wiggle-and-sway to a medley of the rock score.
Bethesda fountain in Central Park became a gathering place for Hippies, many of them "Weekend Hippies" who trained in from the Long Island suburbs or walked over from West End Avenue with their guitars. Hair , of course, and the ongoing media celebration of anything it could call Hippie, encouraged the scene to grow. The size of the weekend gatherings became worrisome to the city — littering, drugs, the number of people and the wear and tear on the fountain area and the facilities nearby — it looked to have the potential for degrading that area of the park the same way earlier gatherings had at Washington Square.
A group of what l ooks to be weekend hippies. This time the solution was not heavy police patrols and paddy wagons. It was a "Hippie Cop. He became the fountain area's personal cop, strolling around, chatting with the young people and gently encouraging the people to police the space themselves as much as possible.
Later I heard from a trustworthy source that he was gay. A few gay guys I knew from the neighborhood checked out the Bethesda fountain on a couple of Sundays and characterized it as "B and T. Paisley shirt. Male New Yorkers, and certainly gay ones, were carried away in what had been dubbed the "Peacock Revolution. First, it was about Men and boys of all ages were letting it grow long, longer and shoulder length Mod suit Some of the men's clothes drew a line straight back to the "faggy" styles I'd first seen in the Village Squire or Cromwell.
Short rise, hip-hugging pants with no side pockets, which were so tight it looked like they were being eaten by your butthole, were a part of the scene. Aside from the fact that you had to have snake-hips and a small ass to wear them, the legs were so narrow when they first appeared that they did not slide down again when you got up from sitting — creating the impression as you stood there with your legs exposed halfway up your calves that perhaps your butthole was succeeding.
This style quickly acquired bellbottom legs, but that did nothing to camouflage wide hips and a fat ass. Satin shirt British Mod influence had come in with the Beatles. There were Edwardian suits, and Nehru jackets, and like many of the men's styles the cut was extremely fitted.
The Hippie subculture was cannibalized with a vengeance by commercial interests and the resulting products and styles Madison Avenued to death. T he ubiquitous bellbottoms Bellbottoms showed up, and for awhile grew wider and wider until they culminated in the "elephant bells. Only the caftan and some African styles spared out-of-shape, large and just plain fat folks from the indignities of clothes that fit like sausage skins.
And all of this was being embraced by straight guys! If Ken and I went to some straight environment, especially on a weekend night, the crowd could look like a carnival scene — and the radical change in fashions did seem to liven up the atmosphere.
Bellbottoms were prevalent, but aside from some modish shirts, the Peacock Revolution gear was home in the closet, I guess. One factor may have been that this was still only a casual neighborhood bar. What is happening to us. I was at work when I heard the news, everyone was so shocked it was as if the building itself was holding its breath. He died the next day.
Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The widows of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. As the coffin was carried from the cathedral at the end of the service a chorus made up of lead singers from the Metropolitan Opera sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
As Mrs. King stepped out of the building, someone called out to her that the assassin of her husband had just been captured. Robert Kennedy had also been running for the Democratic nomination in the presidential race.
After his victory in California on the day before his death, it looked like he would be the favorite at the convention. The extent to which gay people and gay issues would ultimately play a part in this wasn't imaginable then, of course. Kennedy's assassination left Sen. Eugene McCarthy in the race as an avowed anti-war candidate. The Vietnam War was proving to be such an enormous liability that President Johnson had announced that he was not seeking another term, whereupon, Vice President Hubert Humphrey had announced his candidacy, but did little active campaigning.
Although Humphrey now appeared the favorite for the nomination, because of his support from the institutional structures of the party — which included traditional political bosses and their machines - he was an unpopular choice with many of the anti-war party members, who identified him with Johnson's escalation of the Vietnam War.
Thousands of protestors were in the city, organized by the Yippies and anti-war groups. The media — and the nation - were shocked by television reporting of Chicago police brutally attacking and bludgeoning these people in the streets while the convention went on inside.
Chicago Convention police riot. At the convention Chicago boss, Mayor Richard Daley, displayed a thuggish contempt for all. He was seen on television angrily mouthing obscenities at Senator Abraham Ribicoff, who made a speech to the convention denouncing the excesses of the Chicago police. In the end, the nomination itself was anticlimactic, with Humphrey easily winning the nomination over Eugene McCarthy and Senator George McGovern who served as a stand-in candidate for many of the Kennedy delegates, even though he had not run in a single primary during the campaign.
Mayor Richard Daley. It was not all tragedy, however. Gore Vidal and William Buckley one of the first "celebrity," high profile conservative journalists were television commentators at the convention.
Inspired by the proceedings, perhaps, they got into an on-the-air shouting match in which Vidal called Buckley a "neo-crypto-Nazi," and Buckley returned the favor, calling Vidal a "queer. Really , this is national TV. By the end of the year the total number of US soldiers reported killed in Vietnam in was about 14,, the highest number for any year since U.
When Dylan sang that the times were a-changing, e ven the New York Times was a-changing. It decided in that it couldn't stay mad in the face with Gore Vidal forever.
It's reviewer wrote, " Once the word gets round, it will sell like popcorn at a double feature. It seemed as if New Yorkers, and good number Americans in the trans-Hudson outback, couldn't wait to chortle - or gasp - over her tale.
In addition to Myra Breckenridge in the bookstores, Screw newspaper appeared on New York newsstands in ' It was vulgar, funny and raunchy, a mix of explicit sex photos, humor and articles that treated society's sacred cows as game animals.
It also contained a gay column, "The Homosexual Citizen" — a daring departure in those days for a magazine aimed at straights. Senior Citizen, Al Goldstein, on his usual charm offensive, The editor, Al Goldstein, was arrested, as were several blind news dealers! Goldstein next took himself down to Wall Street with a corps of big busted women, who hawked the paper, calling out, "Get your Screw!
Gore Vidal was quoted as saying he preferred it to the Times. Revenge is sweet. Goldstein was straight, but considered homosexuality just another part of the sexual scene. He hired gay people, and in an April issue ran a photo of two guys fucking — the first time such a photo had been in a newsstand publication.
He wrote: "We publish it as an example of the love between two people. I found out decades later that in January New York State Judge Kenneth Keating ruled that even close dancing between homosexuals was legal. This event is something that I have no recollection of whatsoever. I do clearly remember, however, that in the period right after this that dancing was still treated by bars as if it were illegal, i.
I can only guess that perhaps the cops ignored the ruling and that bar operators - wishing to avoid trouble - simply took no chances. In the Exile had dancing, but again the place ran as an unlicensed, after-hours bar, so it still had a doorman, admission fee, etc.
This points up the fact that changes in law enforcement and official attitudes subsequent to the Keating decision and the Sip-in had no effect on gay bars which attempted to operate without the required official NYS liquor license.
What the New York Times characterized in an article in as the "new freedom" in the arts, was a reflection of the many changes percolating through the social, sexual and political realms of American life. Dionysius in '69 produced down in the Village , was an updated version of The Bacchae replete with a conclusion in which the cast writhed in a naked fuck pile covered in gore.
It contained scenes of simulated sex, and what the Times sniffed at as "a number of homosexual and other unorthodox sexual acts. The cast resumed playing with their clothes on while the case pended court. The review Oh, Calcutta! The publicity this generated couldn't have been purchased for a zillion dollars, and the play was a guaranteed smash before it opened. The show's producer, Hilliard Elkins, had last produced the musical Golden Boy, in which a black man made love to a white woman.
There were complaints then about the interracial relationship. The race thing again. But the Fifties definitely were not doing well in the Sixties.
Oh, yes. The police officer who investigated the complaint made against Che! It was Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine. Nineteen sixty-nine was not going to be his year. Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley had opened on Broadway in , and we went to see it early the following year. While I'd listened to its stinging put-down humor quoted with great relish, I'd also heard some people say that it gave a repugnant picture of gay men.
Whatever it was, it was being heralded in terms that indicated the press thought it was the first major play portraying homosexuals in a truthful way. Straights were loving it. A bad sign, if there ever was one. I didn't know what to expect. Bitchy camp dialogue there was aplenty. The actor who played the main character, Michael, looked remarkably like Rob Manahan, the guy I had lived with in the Village as a college student, and the caustic humor — which I did laugh at, with some discomfort — could have been lifted from him and his best friend, Jim.
BITB Broadway cast. On the whole, however, the show was an uncomfortable look back over the shoulder for me. At the end, I applauded the great acting, and I applauded not a little because it was finally over. But I was angry and down because I felt it depicted the world of the Fifties as if it were the present, and typified present-day gay men by an anachronistic clique of pathetic and even vicious individuals. On the way out of the theater, Ken said, "Thank God, it's not like that today.
But we'd gotten Tea and Sympathy and now Boys in the Band. We were definitely not doing something right! It starred Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, and won Oscars for best picture, best director and best screenplay, as well as best actor nominations for the two stars.
The film tells the story of an inept hustler and his would-be manager, following their deepening relationship through the underside of New York. Though the film is harsh and gritty, it shows a relationship of caring and sacrifice.
I think gay viewers, like myself, read a degree of "gayness" potential into the film's characters that may have been unintended by the writers - however, if that is so, it was the appropriation of material a giant step closer to real life male-male situations than the old Hollywood he-and-she chestnuts. Dallesandro was hailed as a "natural" and "charismatic.
The closeted After Dark couldn't get enough of Joe. In the early years the drawings struck me as a cut above the photos I saw, but then the only Colt photos I ever saw at this time were not very professional prints shown to me by someone who worked for French. French had begun the photo sales as an offshoot of the drawings business, the first photos being studies he made for his drawings.
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List of Gay Celebrities Who Were Out in the s
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