Porn Pioneer Wakefield Poole Plays Dirty in New Doc
I wasn’t around the first time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a bi-curious hippie with a lit joint.
Jim Tushinski, the director of the excellent Peter Berlin documentary, That Man is still in production on Dirty Poole, about porn pioneer Wakefield Poole but it looks great and was worth showing to a bunch of degenerates accustomed to fast-forwarding and scrubber bars.
Gay porn has always been divided into two industries– one dedicated to long-form ‘features’ which exhibited theatrically, the other into one-scene ‘loops,’ which were sold through mail-order. ‘Loops’ are what we’re most familiar with these days — they began as short 8mm reels and evolved into the scene-based internet clips (cf. Randy Blue, Corbin Fisher or OnTheHunt.com) while features have almost disappeared (the modern day decedent is multi-disc DVD — like Raging Stallion’s Focus/Refocus or Michael Lucas’s La Dolce Vita).
Loops have been around longer, but it was features, like Wakefield Poole’s Boys in the Sand which brought critical attention to the gay porn industry and which fought critical free speech battles for the gay community. Like Fred Halstead’s “LA Plays Itself” (now part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection), Poole’s early films (Clips from “The Bijou” below) — were reviewed in Variety and the New York Times, and were one of the first ways that gay men could see themselves in a non-tragic light. Features, in many ways, were themselves documentaries of gay men’s lives in the years that followed Stonewall.
Does it hold up? Can you still get off to it? In order to raise enough money to finish the documentary, Tushinski has remastered the original Poole porn movies and offering a remastered DVD of The Bijou to those who donate to the project. (C’mon, it’s a recession. Help a brother out.)