NewFest, NYC’s LGBTQ film festival, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this week, starting Wednesday and continuing through the following Tuesday (Oct. 24-30).
NewFest first got started in 1988. At the time, like most gay men and women of that era, I led a double life—by day I was a closeted investment banker, by night (and on weekends and holidays), I spent my time reading gay publications (everything from Honcho to Mandate, but also more lifestyle and culture magazines like the Advocate and Christopher Street) and seeking out low-visibility gay hangouts—bars, discos, Fire Island—places where I could comfortably express my queerness.
I was recently interviewed by Steve Rodrigues, host of “Talk About Gay Sex”, a weekly podcast with 30,000 downloads per month. The episode is 48 minutes long and discusses Capturing Rainbows, my gay history-focused Instagram Page (@bammer47), what it was like to come out and be LGBTQ 40+ years ago, and how vastly our lives have changed in the interim.
I had looked into those blue eyes many times before. When he would jump on me to wake me up whilst still in just his briefs, laughing and pushing his face into mine. Wrestling me to the point that I was unable to move, my eyes would make quick glances over his half naked body. I could feel all of my senses coming to life, but I had no idea what this meant.
2008: I was living at the Russian River and a good friend called me up and said you have to see this astrologer. “He is really cool and accurate, but he has to come to your house to do this reading. He sits at your kitchen table,” he said. It was unusual for Russ to advise this, but I was into it so I invited the guy over. He looked cool and sat at my kitchen table. He began his reading, and most of what I remember—I’ve lost the tape—was he said, “You’ll be moving from here down south.” I figured that was easy enough and I said “Yeah, Palm Springs.” I was at that time thinking of moving to Palm Springs.” No, much further and on the ocean,” he replied. He said a lot of things that now I wish I could remember because his accuracy would later stun me.
1989—I met Marcus Lutsky at Uncle Charlie’s Downtown in NYC in the Spring of 1989. It was a Saturday night and I was on the prowl. It was late. I hadn’t really met anyone yet, mostly because I had been standing around watching music videos and trying to make eye contact with a bartender who I had a big crush on. Coming to my senses that I was never going to bag the bartender, I sniffed around the bar looking for a more promising catch until I saw him—big, blusterous, laughing and commanding the attention of a group of guys around him. Sufficiently drunk, I waited until he had stepped away from his group, and went straight up to him.
Capturing Rainbows member Brian Hutchison can be seen in The Boys in the Band, currently on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in NYC, through August 11. We asked Brian to share a few words about being in the show. The Boys in the Band is an important part of our history. This latest production is truly stunning. We strongly recommend anyone in the NYC area in the next month to see it, if you have the opportunity! – Mike and Tom
Watching The Boys in The Band film in my early thirties was brutal—I’m not even sure I made it the whole way through. It felt so sad, so bleak, so unlike my life up to that point, and I wanted nothing to do with that sort of life. I wasn’t ready for it. I was only able to understand or relate to a couple of the characters: Hank, who had left his wife a few years earlier, and Alan, who was so clearly troubled and in denial about his own feelings, and so unable to move past this and toward a more fulfilling life. I wasn’t fully out at the time and seeing this movie confirmed my fears that this was what my life could become.
1980—I started going to Fire Island in the summer of 1980. My first time, I was invited by friends who’d rented a house on the island that weekend. All I knew about it was that gays had been going there for decades, creating their own little populace that, by that point, had developed into two thriving gay communities, The Pines and Cherry Grove.
My friends had traveled there on Friday night. I couldn’t get off work until Saturday afternoon, so they instructed me to take the Islanders Bus from midtown Manhattan to Sayville and then hop on the ferry to Cherry Grove. They promised to meet me there on the dock. But, just before I left, they called with a change of plans. They had found a better place to stay in The Pines, the other primarily gay community, a mile further down the beach. So, I should take the ferry there instead. Both ferries left from the same dock in Sayville. Having never been to either community, I was a bit confused, but I faithfully memorized the directions of where they said I should go.