Tag Archives: 1980s

Remembering Gay Adult Film Star Joey Stefano (January 1, 1968 – November 21, 1994)

Remembering Gay Adult Film Star Joey Stefano (January 1, 1968 – November 21, 1994)

Joey Stefano, (1968-1994) was an extremely popular American gay pornographic actor who was one of the most well-known performers of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Born Nicholas Anthony Iacona Jr., Stefano grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania and grew up in a strict Roman Catholic family.

After the death of his father at age 15,  Joey began using drugs and was eventually sent to rehab for six months. After rehab, he tried to become a model and built a portfolio. In 1989, he met a gay porn actor named Tony Davis who helped him enter into the gay adult film industry.

Stefano’s rise to fame was rapid, and he quickly gained a reputation for his good looks, toned physique, and sexual charisma. He appeared in over 35 films during his brief career, including “The Big Switch,” “In Your Wildest Dreams,” and “The Look of a Man.”

During his lifetime, he was the subject of rumors regarding his relationships with prominent entertainment industry figures who were known to be gay. Stefano discussed an alleged series of “dates” with David Geffen, who at one point implored Stefano to quit using drugs.[After the videotaped interview appeared on Rick X’s show, OutWeek Magazine “outed” Geffen,[who went on to announce his homosexuality at an AIDS fundraiser.

Despite his success, Stefano did not save his earnings and relapsed into drug and alcohol abuse., Contrary to rumors he was never officially diagnosed as HIV+ by any medical professionals.[

Stefano struggled with drug addiction to the very end which ultimately led to his death in 1994 at the young age of 26. He was found dead in a Hollywood motel room, and the cause of death was determined to be a drug overdose.

Stefano’s legacy in the gay adult film industry and the community is significant. His tragic death also serves as a reminder of the toll that addiction can take on individuals and communities.

Gay History: Remembering NYC's "Ice Palace 57" Gay Disco (1977 - 1985)

Gay History: Remembering NYC’s “Ice Palace 57” Gay Disco (1977 – 1985)

Not to be confused with Fire Island’s Ice Palace of course.

Ice Palace 57 was a gay discotheque located in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood that operated from 1977 to 1985. The club was a popular destination for the gay men in the community during a time when being openly gay was not widely accepted.

The club was founded by two brothers, Anthony and Michael Joffe, who were inspired by the disco movement that was sweeping the city in the late 1970s. They wanted to create a space that would be welcoming to gay men and allies, and they succeeded in doing so..

Located on West 57th Street in Manhattan, Ice Palace 57 faced many challenges during its eight-year run. The club was located in an area that was known for its high crime rate, and the owners had to take measures to ensure the safety of their patrons. They hired security guards and installed metal detectors at the entrance to the club. the club became a symbol of the city’s vibrant gay community and a safe haven for those who wanted to dance and express themselves freely.

The interior of Ice Palace 57 was designed to be a spectacle. The club’s interior was designed to resemble an ice palace, with walls made of white, glittering tiles and floors covered in white carpeting. The lighting was dim, with disco balls and strobe lights providing a pulsating and energetic atmosphere. The bar was located in the center of the club, with a large dance floor surrounding it. On either side of the dance floor were seating areas, where people could take a break from dancing and socialize with friends. The club’s sound system was state-of-the-art for the time, with speakers strategically placed throughout the room to create an immersive audio experience.

Ice Palace 57 was known for its music, which was a mix of disco, funk, and soul. The club had a roster of talented DJs who knew how to get the crowd moving. Some of the most famous DJs to play at Ice Palace 57 included Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, and David Morales.

One of the unique features of Ice Palace 57 was its drag shows. The club had a stage where drag queens would perform, entertaining the crowd with their outrageous costumes and over-the-top personalities. These shows were a major draw for the club, and many people came specifically to see the performers. Performers included: Lady Bunny, RuPaul, and Lypsinka. One of the most famous drag queens to perform at Ice Palace 57 was Divine, who went on to become a cult figure.

Ice Palace 57 also faced discrimination from the outside world. The club was frequently raided by the police, who would arrest patrons for “lewd conduct” or other offenses. The owners had to fight back against these attacks, hiring lawyers to defend their club and their patrons in court.

Ultimately, the club’s run came to an end in 1985, when Ice Palace 57 was forced to close due to financial difficulties as the AIDS crisis was began to take a more serious term. But its legacy lives on as a symbol of the gay community’s fight for acceptance, equality, and the right to be fabulous.

Do you have any memories of Ice Palace 57? If so post them in the comments and help keep gay history alive.

New York City: Remembering "The Saint" (1980 - 1988)

Those Were The Days – New York City: Remembering “The Saint” (1980 – 1988)

The Saint (or Saint)was a legendary gay disco that operated in New York City’s East Village from 1980 to 1988. It was founded by entrepreneurs Bruce Mailman and Mark Hetrick, and quickly became one of the most popular and influential clubs in the city’s gay scene. With its cutting-edge music, stylish decor, and commitment to providing a safe and welcoming space for gay men, The Saint embodied the spirit of the era’s underground culture.

 Opened in the old premises of the Fillmore East, a 1926-built, former-theater-turned-classic-rock-and-roll venue of the late 1960s and early 1970s, at 105 Second Avenue at 6th Street.

The club’s name was inspired by the Roman Catholic tradition of saints, which celebrated individuals who had achieved spiritual enlightenment and performed miracles. The Saint’s founders saw their mission as creating a similarly transformative experience for their patrons. They wanted to offer a space where gay men could feel empowered and liberated, free from the social stigma and discrimination that still plagued the community in the 1980s..

Membership packs with floor plans were distributed and before the club opened 2,500 memberships had been sold at $150 each for the first 700 members and for $250 for the rest, with a waiting list established.

Mailman’s other gay venture, the nearby New St. Marks Baths – a gay mecca at the time paid for the nightclub’s renovation cost $4.5 million, being $2 million over budget ($17 million at 2017 prices).

The original opening date was set for July 30, 1980, but construction delays forced a deferral to September 20, 1980, with Alan Dodd as disc jockey.  

One of the most striking features of The Saint was its design.

The circular dance floor (5,000 square feet or 460 square meters) was topped by a perforated planetarium dome. 76 feet (23 meters) in diameter and 38 feet (12 meters) high. In addition to hiding the speakers, the dome served as a spectacular palette for the lighting effects. A circular opening at the top of the dome could be automatically opened and closed to allow a large mirrored disco ball to be lowered into the space.  In the center of the dance floor was a circular light tree constructed on a hydraulic lift. It contained 1,500 lights and as its centerpiece was a rotating, dual Spitz Space System hemisphere star projector, ten times brighter than those used in planetariums.

Another key feature of Saint was its music. The club’s DJs, including the legendary Frankie Knuckles and Robbie Leslie , played a mix of disco, house, and funk that was both danceable and experimental. They were known for their innovative mixing techniques, which created a seamless and hypnotic flow of music that kept the crowd moving all night long.

The Saint also hosted live performances by some of the biggest names in disco and dance music, including Grace Jones, Chaka Khan, Patti LuPone, Eartha Kitt, Divine, Sylvester and many many more.

Directly underneath the dance-floor level was a large lounge with several juice bars. Beer on tap was sometimes served for free to avoid the licensing oversight of the New York State Liquor Authority. Above and outside the dome was what would become the controversial balcony, where patrons could see down to the dance floor, through the scrim of the dome. It was there that men relaxed and could and did indulge in sexual activities. Several times during the year, themed parties such as the “Black Party” and the “White Party”. are considered by most gay historians to be the precursors to the circuit party.

But perhaps the most important aspect of The Saint was its role as a safe space for gay men In an era when homophobia was still rampant, and many gay men felt isolated. The Saint provided a space where they could come together and express themselves freely. The club’s founders were committed to creating environment where gay men could come together and have a good time. Something that is sorely missing in todays community.

Tragically, Saint’s run was cut short by the AIDS epidemic, which devastated the LGBTQ+ community in the 1980s. Mailman and Hetrick both died of AIDS-related complications, and the club’s closure was a devastating blow to the community. But Saint’s legacy lived on, both in the memories of those who had danced there and in the impact it had on the culture of New York City’s gay community.

The Saint closed permanently on April 30, 1988.

*Dedicated to Kevin Beck

Pioneering "Old Reliable" Founder  David Hurles Has Died at the Age of 78

Pioneering “Old Reliable” Founder  David Hurles Has Died at the Age of 78

If you like bad bad bad bad boys. You would have LOVED Old Reliable.

David Randolph Hurles (September 12, 1944 – April 12, 2023) was an American gay pornographer, whose one-man company, run from a private mailbox, was called Old Reliable Tape and Picture Company. His work, produced primarily in the 1970s and 1980s, falls into three categories: photographs, audio tapes, and videotapes. Hurles’ models were typically ex-convicts, hustlers, drifters, and ne’er do wells and we loved it.

Hurles ahead of his time Hurles was dedicated to creating a safe and ethical working environment for his performers, and he insisted on full consent and clear communication between all parties involved in his films.

Hurles  first published pictures appeared in Drummer, 21 (January 1978); because no other commercial gay magazine would print them. But they would print his mail order ads for a price.

In 1990, Hurles issued a catalogue of his Old Reliable material, a guide to nearly five hundred men and the hundreds of original Old Reliable Video Tapes, as well as the audio cassettes and photos in which the men appear.

 As put by admirer John Waters, “David likes psychos. Nude ones. Money-hungry drug addicts with big dicks. Rage-filled robbers without rubbers. And of course, convicts.” Many of them were dangerous—he wanted them to be, that was a key part of their attractiveness for him[—but part of David’s skill, which no one since has duplicated, was being able to manage them so that they would perform as instructed and not attack him. However, Hurles also said: “There have been several thousand models. When they are not in prison, or very married, it has been my practice to stay in touch with many of them, often over decades. They are my friends.” On another occasion he said that one of the hardest parts of his job was not getting caught up in the miserable live.

Hurles printed his pictures in his own darkroom, and filled all orders single-handedly. He was also an advocate for the freedom of artistic expression and fought against censorship in the film industry. Hurles was often at odds with mainstream media and the authorities, and he faced numerous legal battles over the years.

An accident in 1990 led to the gradual loss of eyesight in one eye. Shortly thereafter, the arrival of pornography on the Internet destroyed most of the market for Hurles’ material, at the same time that AIDS (and drugs) killed many models and potential models. “I know where a great many of them [my models] are. Six feet under”. His company folded, and he lived on welfare and food stamps. In 2008 he had a massive stroke, and until recently “is the most popular resident of a state-funded nursing home in East Hollywood”.

The Bob Mizer Foundation, a not-for-profit organization “dedicated to the promotion and preservation of progressive and controversial photography”, paid tribute to Hurles and described his work as “pioneering:The Bob Mizer Foundation extends its condolences to Dian Hanson [friend and manager of Hurles’ estate], to David Hurles’ friends and family, and to his fans,” the foundation said in a statement.

Dalvid Hurles impact on the adult ay film industry and the alternative film movement cannot be overstated, and his work remains a testament to the power of artistic expression and the importance of pushing boundaries.

Check out the offerings and David Hurles work at BijouWorld – NSWF

#FlashbackFriday - WATCH: Pan Am Training Video: "This is MY Galley" (1980's)

#FlashbackFriday – WATCH: Pan Am Training Video: “This is MY Galley” (1980’s)

Filmed inside the aircraft mockup training classroom at the Pan Am Flight Academy in Miami, Florida. This video was played during purser training on how to handle difficult situations and diffusing workplace conflict. Starring Pan Am’s own Cheri Leonhart, Linda Reynolds, and Joan Nell Bernstein.

Whatever you do. Don’t mess with Linda!