A Gay Porn Theater Returns To New York—But Only For 24 Hours

A popup cinema is bringing back a bit of New York sleaze.

New York has cleaned up its act since its seedy 1970s heyday, but the Big Apple is getting dirty again—for one night only—with a popup gay porn theater in Brooklyn.

Starting just before midnight tonight, Dirty Look’s “Sesión Continua” will screen queer adult flicks for 24 hours at Video Revival, a film nonprofit in Crown Heights.

Dirty Looks

The program draws largely from pre-VHS porn movies, but there’s little in the way of an organized schedule—a nod to the sleazy porn palaces that one dotted Times Square. Dirty Looks founder Bradford Nordeen recalls visiting the Bijou theater in Chicago in 2014, shortly before it closed. (The Gaiety, New York’s last dirty cinema, shuttered in 2005.)

“You walked in. There was no listing of what title was being shown,” Nordeen told ARTnews. “You just saw what was playing.”

Dirty Looks

He hopes to recreate the frisson the queer community’s lost with gentrification, assimilation and hookup apps. Before the advent of Will and Grace or Moonlight, he explains, these sticky cinemas were the only place to see any part of LGBT life on screen.

“They became the main approachable commercial format that queer people could use to document their life,” says Nordeen. “It was a cinema that filled the screen for an inordinate amount of time with various bodies engaging in beauty. This is where they saw themselves on screen.”

He began “Sesión Continua” in L.A. two years ago with the help of porn historian Joe Rubin and a queer film preservation group called Curse of Cherifa. In New York, Dirty Looks has produced “On Location,” billed as “queer interventions in New York City spaces,” including art galleries, the Eagle leather bar, and even a nondescript motel on the West Side.

The roster for tonight is still TBA, but Nordeen tells ARTnews it includes a raunchy Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, vintage lezspoitation, and “the Hellraiser of gay porn.”

“There shouldn’t be a minute where someone walks into this theater and feels bored.”

 

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