Boyd McDonald Captured a Generation
To the Editor:
Andrew Holleran’s “Lewd” article about pornographer Boyd McDonald sent me to my bedside table. On the bottom shelf behind a crumpled electric heating pad I found McDonald’s Straight to Hell (Nos. 39, 49, 50, 51, 52) and his Cum, Skin, Filth, Cream, Smut, Scum, Meat, Flesh, and Raunch.
I came out in 1972. I was 28, married, with a son. In that year a thousand men from all corners of the country arrived in San Francisco every month to live free. We were a community of strangers bound by our pride in our sexuality. I had an active sex life that that didn’t stop me from occasionally enjoying a delicious erotic moment with one of Boyd’s stories of a farm boy in the big city or a Navy man on leave.
Felice Picano and I were born in the same year, which makes me part of the Picano generation that Holleran alludes to. What characterizes this generation for me is that sex was our god—sex with friends, sex with multiple partners at the baths. My generation believed we could change the world with love. When I arrived in San Francisco, we had ended segregation in the South, we were ending the war in Vietnam, and women were asserting their claims for equality. We thought gay liberation was the next logical step, and once America had achieved gay equality, it would become a just and peaceful nation. But then Reagan was elected and AIDS took my beloved partner of eighteen years.
Like my generation, the Millennials are out to change the world, this time with technology. I wonder if they have our curiosity about sex and our willingness to test its limits, or has technology changed what they’re going through into something else entirely?
Chuck Forester, San Francisco
Not a Precise Précis of Holding the Man
To the Editor:
I love the GLR and look forward to the varied, mostly thoughtful and well-written articles. However, I do not know who does the “Cultural Calendar,” but they couldn’t have gotten it more wrong in describing briefly the film (based on the book of the same name) Holding the Man. John Caleo is the high school (not college) footballer, not Tim Conigrave, and he and Tim begin their long relationship there, not in college, as they are apart during those years, which is a test of their relationship. It’s also where Tim gets infected with HIV, which brings about their tragic end.
I own the DVD of the film and have read the book, so know whereof I speak. Thanks.
Alfred Brown, Berkeley, CA
Due to an editorial error in the Nov.-Dec. 2016 Issue, Raymond-Jean Frontain’s review of John Clum’s biography of Terrence McNally referred to “McNally’s Prelude to a Kiss” (a play by Craig Lucas). McNally’s play is titled Prelude and Liebestod.
Also in the last issue, in the interview with pornographic filmmaker Wakefield Poole, the interviewer stated that Boys in the Sand star Casey Donovan’s real name was “Cal Carver.” It was actually Cal Culver.