In Coming Together, Ryan Powell captures the social and political vitality of the first wave of movies made by, for, and about male-desiring men in the United States between World War II and the 1980s. From the underground films of Kenneth Anger and the Gay Girls Riding Club to the gay liberation-era hardcore films and domestic dramas of Joe Gage and James Bidgood, Powell illuminates how central filmmaking and exhibition were to gay socializing and worldmaking. Unearthing scores of films and a trove of film-related ephemera, Coming Together persuasively unsettles popular histories that center Stonewall as a ground zero for gay liberation and visibility. Powell asks how this generation of movie-making—which defiantly challenged legal and cultural norms around sexuality and gender—provided, and may still provide, meaningful models for living.
Ryan Powell is assistant professor of Cinema and Media Studies at The Media School, Indiana University, where he is also affiliated faculty with the departments of Gender Studies, American Studies, and The Culutral Studies Program. His research and teaching interests span film and video historiography; minor and microcinemas; audiovisual media in socio-sexual culture; queer theory, history and politics; cultural geography (with a focus on non and anti-metropolitan modalities); intersections between industrial and non-industrial cinema; spatiality and representation; and independent, underground and experimental cultural production and performance.