Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 7:30pm
Wakefield Poole's Take One

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Take One, Wakefield Poole, 1977, digital projection, 80 mins

“After Wakefield Poole’s movies, mine are unnecessary and a little naive, don’t you think?” - Andy Warhol

This past August, the legendary Nob Hill Theatre in San Francisco shut its doors after a fifty year run. In the late 1960s, the former jazz club became one of the first American cinemas to present a regular program of gay adult films, serving the city’s burgeoning queer population, who reportedly lined up around the block to catch the latest releases. The Nob Hill famously featured erotic dancers in the theater, and eventually added video booths, a maze, and other attractions. When it closed at summer’s end, it was the world’s oldest male strip club, and one of the last landmarks from the days when San Francisco was the “Smut Capital of the World.”

To honor the Nob Hill’s history, Light Industry presents a rare screening of Wakefield Poole’s quasi-documentary Take One—seen here in a new restoration—which used the venue as both a primary shooting location as well as the site of its premiere. Arguably the most metacinematic gay porn film ever made, Take One built upon the developments of Poole’s earlier efforts, like the psychedelic odyssey of Bijou and his landmark debut Boys in the Sand, which helped inaugurate the idiom of the guy-on-guy feature.

For most of the 1960s, underground films frequently portrayed homosexual themes, though rarely any real gay sex. By decade's end, true hardcore loops began screening at rundown art houses in major cities. Produced cheaply and anonymously, the sleazy stags propelled an aesthetically-offended Poole into action. “I saw this horrible movie,” remembers Poole, “and I said to my friend, ‘This is the worst, ugliest movie I've ever seen! Somebody oughta be able to do something better than this.’” Poole's notion was to combine the lyrical moods of Jean Cocteau and Kenneth Anger with all-male hardcore action—a taboo that Warhol, Pat Rocco, and Jean Genet had approached, asymptotically, but never quite breached.

Wakefield Poole on the making of Take One:

“I wanted to do a documentary about San Francisco gay men and their sexuality, something real but still with some fantasy to it...I wanted to do a ‘docufantasy,’ envisioning it as very Robert Altman with a Nashville-type feel and editing. The film would document the whole process of making the movie, right up to the premiere, which would also be in the film. Take One would be the title.

It was simple, yet complex in its approach. I wanted to make every cast member’s sexual fantasy real...

We did an ‘autoerotic’ section where Nick actually inserts himself into the exhaust rings of the side of the car. He runs his tongue around the rings, slides naked over the hood, and eventually has an orgasm on the steering wheel.

Glenn, a bartender, had leather fantasies, so we did a multimedia scene using all his fetishes. And Philip and Bill were lovers who only wanted to see themselves fuck on film. That was an easy one.

Richard Locke’s fantasy was to fuck his lover on the roof of their cabin in the desert. We did that too, in a scene that evokes the desert of Georgia O’Keefe in pastels and pinks.

Sal Guange was a strange local dancer. He was untrained but danced naked with abandon. We opened the film with him performing on the stage of the Nob Hill Theatre. The screen dissolves from his interview into a scene in which we’re actually shooting his segment. I tried to really fuck up the sense of time in the film...

The film’s last section deals with the cast members watching their movie in the Nob Hill Theatre. As they view it from different places in the theater, each fantasizes about having sex with another member of the cast, a sort of separated orgy. When the screening ends they all exit the theater while I’m in the lobby, still filming the movie...

We premiered Take One at the Nob Hill and received the best reviews I ever got. ‘Poole is the Neiman Marcus of the porn film world!’, wrote George Robert in the Bay Area Reporter. ‘Poole is back BIG!’, said Jon Roberts from In Heat. ‘Go see this film. You’ll never be the same, and after seeing it, you wouldn’t want to be!’, Michael Schmitz wrote in Calendar. We didn’t receive one negative review...

The film was a love letter to the Nob Hill Theatre. It was the finest gay theater in the world, and I wanted people all over the country to see and know that somewhere gays were treated like first-class citizens."

Tickets - $8, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.