Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 7pm
Tom DeSimone, Jack Deveau, and Robert Alvarez's Good Hot Stuff

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Introduced by Elizabeth Purchell

Good Hot Stuff, Tom DeSimone, Jack Deveau, and Robert Alvarez, 1975, 16mm, 87 mins

In the golden age of gay theatrical porn, arguably the most acclaimed studio was Hand in Hand Films, a Manhattan-based outfit founded by Jack Deveau, Robert Alvarez, and Jaap Penraat in 1972. According to Deveau, the company was created at the suggestion of his friend Sal Mineo and Deveau’s lover Alvarez, a film editor whose credits included Woodstock and An American Family, and who had appeared as Narcissus in Gregory Markopoulos’s The Illiac Passion.

Pumping out a steady stream of carefully-crafted features on 16mm beginning with Deveau and Penraat’s Left Handed, Hand in Hand soon became known for its daring artistry and documentary realness, producing and distributing auteur-driven titles like Arch Brown’s The Night Before, Tom DeSimone’s Catching Up, and Peter de Rome’s Adam & Yves. The studio even acquired the Lincoln Art Theatre on 57th Street for a few years, where they exhibited both gay and straight movies, including a lucrative months-long run of The Devil in Miss Jones. “At a time when a majority of New York productions were crude and cheaply made,” gay porn archivist Elizabeth Purchell notes, “Hand in Hand’s films immediately stood out due to their lavish production values, emphasis on strong narratives, and the experimental aesthetics brought in by Alvarez’s ties to the city’s underground film scene.”

By 1975, Hand in Hand had enough material and clout to release Good Hot Stuff, an anthology of some of their most accomplished work, wrapped inside a collection of interviews and outtakes that led the gay nightlife rag Michael’s Thing to observe that the film “does for Hand-In-Hand much the same thing as That’s Entertainment did for MGM.” It climaxes with footage shot on the set of James Bidgood’s never-completed Beyond These Doors, a.k.a. Bagdad, originally conceived as the artist’s XXX follow-up to his resplendent underground epic Pink Narcissus.

Narrated on-screen by lithe, long-haired porn star Mark Woodward, Good Hot Stuff is filled with generous behind-the-scenes footage and conversations with Deveau, de Rome and others; together the tone is improvisatory, revolutionary, collective, an appropriate vibe for an art form so new and untested, so grounded and yet utopian. “This isn’t like any other kind of acting,” Woodward recites from scripted lines. “Up to a point it’s pretend, but after the actors are physically turned on it’s for real, it’s people fucking, a documentary as well as a fantasy.”

The film’s influence continued in France, where it was distributed under the title Histoire d’Hommes, a cheeky pun on Histoire d’O. The first gay porno to garner a Gallic release, it handily bested Nashville at the opening box office, and influenced a generation of queer filmmakers there. “Ten years ago gay porno didn’t exist, “ Woodward says towards the film’s end. “Now we’ve started documenting our sexuality so people of the future can see what got us off in the 70s. And we haven’t been at it for very long. So it’s a safe bet to expect the good hot stuff to get even hotter.”

Good Hot Stuff will be screened on a rare 16mm French release print from Purchell’s private collection, followed by a conversation between Purchell and Robert Alvarez.

Elizabeth Purchell is a queer film historian and archivist. Her Instagram project, Ask Any Buddy, explores the gay adult film industry’s role in both the development of queer cinema and the spread of gay culture at large.

Tickets - $8, available at door, cash and cards accepted.