Today I had the chance to finally watch GAY SEX IN THE 70s -- a hypnotic documentary exploring the NYC scene through the 1970s and into the early/mid 80s.
Although not part of the 1970s sexual revolution, I stepped onto the Sexual dance floor during its final hour and watched the beat slowly fade away and along with it the carefree atmosphere that was the gay community that had, just a few years earlier, welcomed me with open arms.
So, I popped this DVD in, not knowing just what to expect. I know the Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival had screened it last year; but I was unable to see it ... everywhere I went afterwards, people kept asking me if I had seen it ... now I understand why.
This documentary really explores the emotions behind the sexual liberation that the gay male community experienced in the 70s. Instead of just documenting what happened, it gets the story first hand from those that were there - and helps the viewer understand the process the community was experiencing; why we exploded so fast and also the common thread between the network of friends in the 70s and how those networks helped form the activist movement in the 1980s, specifically surrounding the AIDS pandemic.
For me - it was comforting to see video and film of some of the clubs and bars I used to go to back then... I felt like I was watching family videos, since in many ways this WAS my family. The bars, the Village, the piers. Nights at The Saint and weekends at Saint Marks Baths. They even featured The Anvil - a place I went to quite often ... in fact, I still have the keychain they gave out at the club's entrance!
Here's the trailer for GAY SEX IN THE 70s
Watching this documentary opened a flood of personal memories - at the end, they interview kids (i.e. 25 or so) today about 'The 70s' and it's interesting to hear their comments while the credits roll. Afterwards, the screen goes black - then comes back to one of the men who shared their story through the documentary.
The director is off camera and asks him, so what do you miss most about the 70s? To which he pauses - looks into the camera - and says 'My friends. I miss my friends the most.'
I lost it - partly because it was a touching moment, but mostly because I totally get what he's saying. Ever since the bottom fell out in my world back then, I don't think I ever recovered. I've shifted from having a deep meaningful circle of friends to being completely absorbed by my career and side projects. Not because I need to be, but because I choose to be. I've developed such a fear of bonding with someone that, when not out and about, I keep to myself most the time. Most of my friends today understand that - and know that's just the way it is.
Sometimes I wonder.