Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 7:30pm
Michael Thomas's Meat Rack
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
Michael Thomas, 16mm, 1968, 70 mins
A hybrid of Warholian midnight movie and Doris Wishman-esque sexploitation picture, Michael Thomas’s softcore rarity Meat Rack was originally produced and released by Sherpix, the company that brought underground films like Lonesome Cowboys, Pink Narcissus, and Invocation of My Demon Brother to a nationwide circuit of art house theaters. The film concerns an ostensibly straight married man who starts turning tricks on the sleazy streets of San Francisco, and it was shot almost entirely on location in the city’s by-the-hour hotels, adult theaters, gay bars, and bathhouses. With real-life go-go boys, female impersonators, and leathermen as its supporting cast, it serves as a rich subcultural document. Working against the grain of a screenplay filled with Boys in the Band-style self-loathing, Meat Rack’s then-21-year-old director saw the film as an opportunity to portray San Francisco’s increasingly vibrant gay demimonde; after this, his only film, Thomas would later go on to co-found Strand Releasing, one of the most important American independent distributors and a central force behind the New Queer Cinema of the 1990s. The strange tension displayed in Meat Rack—between its tortured protagonist, struggling with the vagaries of his own desires, and the burgeoning sexual freedoms of the city he finds himself in—now reveals itself as the emblematic conflict of a film about a community on the eve of liberation.
Tickets - $7, available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.
Archival print courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive.