Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 8pm
Two Films by Fred Halsted
Presented by William E. Jones
Born in Long Beach in 1941 and raised all over the state of California, Fred Halsted rarely left his adopted city of Los Angeles. Capturing the city as few other films could, L.A. Plays Itself (1972), Halsted’s first film, has come to be regarded as a classic within the genre of gay porn. Its images of beautiful young men in sylvan Malibu Canyon and boy hustlers on the mean streets of Hollywood gained for Halsted the kind of celebrity than simply isn’t possible today. Fred Halsted never held a regular job; he didn’t teach; he had no gallery representation; he had no agent; he didn’t shoot commercials or advertising campaigns; he didn’t even have a social security number. He made films and performed in them, published a magazine (Package), ran a sex club (Halsted’s), and became a legendary sex radical and provocateur.
Before the theatrical release of L.A. Plays Itself, Halsted made a short film to accompany it, Sex Garage. Most of the film was shot in a garage in the Hollywood Hills in a mere six hours. In black and white and at a running time of 38 minutes, Sex Garage defies genre conventions—as embryonic as they were in the gay porn of 1972—and begins by introducing bisexuality into a gay porn film long before the bisexual genre became fashionable. What follows is half an hour of exuberant filth, including (most famously) an intimate moment between a biker and an exhaust pipe.
Jones will show a reconstructed version of L.A. Plays Itself, formerly available only in a censored form, preceded by Sex Garage. He is currently working on a book about Halsted, to be published by Semiotext(e) in Fall 2009.
William E. Jones grew up in Ohio and now lives and works in Los Angeles. He has made two feature length experimental films, Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), several short videos, and the feature length documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004). His work has been shown at the Cinémathèque française and Musée du Louvre, Paris; International Film Festival Rotterdam; Oberhausen Short Film Festival; Sundance Film Festival; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His films and videos were the subject of a retrospective at Tate Modern, London, in 2005. He was included in the 1993 and 2008 Biennial Exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has published two books: Is It Really So Strange? (2006) and Tearoom (2008). He works in the adult video industry under the name Hudson Wilcox and teaches film history at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena under his own name.
Tickets - $6, available at door.