The cinema scene of the late 1970s and early 80s had endured something of an assault by Hollywood-inflamed homophobia (see mostly forgotten films like The Choirboys, Windows and Partners for examples… or don’t).
In hindsight, it makes total sense that William Friedkin’s Cruising – based on the synopsis alone and a perfectly reasonable concern for how the LGBT community would be depicted – inspired picketing and boycotts before it was even completed. The story of a sexually-confused serial killer picking off promiscuous, leather-clad hunks – not to mention a straight police officer whose mere exposure to gay nightlife leads to what could be interpreted by the uninformed masses as a potential “conversion” – didn’t sit well with activists of the day (even helmed, for better or worse, by the guy who brought The Boys in the Band to the big screen).
From award-winning director Jake Jaxson comes The Stillest Hour, a twisted new take on the psycho-sexual thriller that explores the power of perception and reality. Norman (Will Wikle) is a highly committed psychotherapist in New York City whose life, whether he knows it or not, has been reduced to a cyclical pattern of idealistic perfection and strict personal routines. His professionalism and obsessive habits are soon tested when one of his clients, a headstrong and independent artist (Colby Keller) details – through a series of sexually provocative sessions – a budding relationship with an impressionable millennial (Levi Karter) who appears to be stalking him. When Norman becomes captivated by this power play, the tables are flipped as the boy soon becomes involved in the personal lives of both men.
Artist and indie game developer Robert Yang has created a marvelously unique and delightfully explicit new online cruising universe. The Tearoom is “a (free) historical public bathroom simulator about anxiety, police surveillance and sucking off another dude’s gun.” His mission statement is something to behold.
In 1962, the Mansfield, Ohio police department setup a hidden surveillance camera behind a two-way mirror, and secretly filmed dudes having sex with dudes in a public bathroom. The police used the film footage to imprison them for a year or more under Ohio’s sodomy laws. Robert used this dark period in LGBT history as the basis of his new game.