Fred Halsted (1941-1989) pushes gay porn movies beyond their transgressive, political, and experimental boundaries, breaking all the rules of propriety and all artistic norms. Nothing predisposed this son of a farm hand and a movie set constructor to this career. He grew up in California and quickly moved to Los Angeles. Having studied botanics, he worked as a gardener for Vincent Price and Joey Heatherton, before becoming successful with a tree nursery business. In 1972, during the gay porn boom, Fred Halsted opens the show with the incredible L.A Plays Itself, a self-portrait & porno coming out movie that showed his obsession for destruction, melding extreme representations of sexuality with a criticism of the "stinking" Los Angeles, a city where growing urbanism announced the destruction of nature. Rejected by critics, it nevertheless received plaudits from Arrabal or Burroughs: the latter would then love to shoot a hardcore version of Wild Boys with him. This first blast also marks the beginning of a long collaboration with Joseph Yale, the man of his life. They will manage together the magazine Package and open a sex club named Halsted's, in Silverlake. But at the beginning of the 80s, success wanes, and Halsted falls prey to substance addictions. He will never get over his companion's death from AIDS in 1986. After a brief stint as an escort boy, he took his own life in 1989.

Made in 1972, his two masterpieces The Sex Garage and L.A. Plays Itself are the only gay porn movies to have joined the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. His films are still getting accolades by many contemporary art venues and some more mainstream events.

Fred Halsted, a herald of transgression, fusing life and art, shines by his formal and sexual radicality, claiming himself to be a pervert before being gay, and affirming that "sadism is more fundamental to his personality than homosexuality". In this creative freedom where cinema is revolutionary, we can well see where the admiration that Gaspar Noé or Bruce LaBruce have for him comes from: deconstructed narratives; collisions of flesh and image; transfigured by a hypnotic soundtrack, disruptive and digressive editing, bodies are grasped and mistreated, while images of post-Kennedy America are intertwined with intimacy, like another kind of topographic and political pornography. Poetry is fucking obscenity. All mechanics running amok in a visual and auditory orgy of cocks rising towards death and of desolate landscapes. What if Fred Halsted was the inventor of metaphysical porn?

Erotikus : a history of the gay movie

Erotikus : a history of the gay movie

Tom DeSimone
USA
Documentary, X-rated

14-09-2021 21H15
18-09-2021 21H45
L.A. plays itself

L.A. plays itself (New print)

(L.A. plays itself)
Fred Halsted
USA
X-rated

16-09-2021 21H30
19-09-2021 21H45
Sextool

Sextool (New print)

(Sextool)
Fred Halsted
USA
X-rated

16-09-2021 21H30
19-09-2021 21H45
The sex garage

The sex garage (New print)

(The sex garage)
Fred Halsted
USA
X-rated

14-09-2021 21H15
18-09-2021 21H45
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