Happy Pride month everyone!
Keeping LGBT history alive is an important part of Pride and so I want to direct you to a documentary I made in 2009 that only recently came back online:The Rise & Fall of the Hottest Gay Magazines Ever.
The film was assembled with the cooperation of the kind folks at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, where I filmed rare archival materials.
Watch the movie now:
This short-form doc explores the history of the taboo-busting (and very sexy) gay man’s magazines Mandate, Honcho, Inches, and Playguy—and the adult publishing pioneer and straight ally behind them, George Mavety.
Mavety, a Canadian textbook salesman turned NYC naughty magazine magnate, began as almost an East Coast Larry Flynt. However, this “self-identified straight man…[with] 13 or 14 children” looked around his Manhattan neighborhood in the early 1970s and recognized demand for an entirely different kind of specialty magazine—one targeted toward gay men who, along with their trans and lesbian compatriots, were rising up and claiming their civil rights post-Stonewall.
Mandate, started in 1975, was Mavety’s gay flagship publication. It was titularly a money-making magazine, though in later years when Mavety’s straight titles like Juggs and Leg Show carried his company’s profits, Mavety refused to shut down the gay titles. “This is where I started—I owe it to the community,” he said.
Our documentary narrator is Dian Hanson, sexy book editor and “Queen of Smut” at perhaps the world’s most daring art book publisher, Taschen. Dian was one of Mavety’s top lieutenants and worked on Mandate, Inches as well as edited the historic Leg Show (an adult magazine for submissive males where women were on top and in-charge).
Larry Flynt introduced me to Dian and I worked with her on Flynt’s Leg Show clone, Leg World (similarly targeted at male leg lovers and trampling fans).
Dian Hanson was kind enough to sit down with me at Taschen HQ in the historic Crossroads of the World building on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood for this video.
“[Mavety’s] office was a gay theme park,” recalls Dian Hanson. “I remember when notice went around: ‘Shorts must cover your buttocks and testicles completely.'”
According to Hanson, Mavety “started [Mandate and the other queer titles] for a gay audience because no one else had the balls to do it.” Times were changing, you see, but the industry was not keeping up.
“With male full-frontal nudity becoming legal, Mavety expected to see an all-male high quality adult magazine along the lines of Playboy—but that never appeared,” Hanson explains. “So he created one.”
Hanson speaks of Mavety’s allyship in glowing terms: “I never respected a boss until I met George Mavety. To see all those disparate people at his funeral [in 2000]—politicians, priests, rabbis—up there crying for the death of a pornographer… it was unprecedented.”
Special thanks to archivist Richard Hulser, who appears in my documentary, and the staff of ONE Archive for their commitment to preserving LGBT history.
Stay tuned—more to come!
Full credits from Vimeo:
Mandate, Honcho, Inches, Playguy… classic gay titles from one-man gay publishing powerhouse, George Mavety. Mavety’s vision was to elevate gay adult content—pictures and words—to the cultural level of Playboy. An LGBT ally until his death, Mavety is an unsung hero of the great gay awakening of 1970s and ’80s culture.
Director / producer Sean Carnage traces the history of these incredible publications.
Filmed at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California.
Starring Taschen Sexy Books Division Editor, Dian Hanson. Edited by Craig Fields.
Filmed at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California.
Originally released in 2009.