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Ask Any Buddy (2020)

A video mashup that uses fragments from over 125 gay adult films to create a kaleidoscopic snapshot of urban gay life in the years following the Stonewall Riots - or at least how it looked in the movies.


Evan Purchell


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Credited cast:
Peter Berlin ... (archive footage)
Rick Cassidy Rick Cassidy ... (archive footage)
Casey Donovan Casey Donovan ... (archive footage)
Harvey Milk ... Self (archive footage)
Al Parker Al Parker ... (archive footage)
Jack Wrangler Jack Wrangler ... (archive footage)


ASK ANY BUDDY is a feature-length video companion to the Artforum 'Best of 2018' Instagram feed of the same name. The piece uses fragments from 126 theatrical feature films spanning the years 1968-1986 to create a kaleidoscopic snapshot of urban gay life in the era - or at least how it looked in the movies. From casual tearoom cruising to actual police raids, ASK ANY BUDDY uses rare footage shot at dozens of real bathhouses, bars, movie theaters, pride parades and legendary hotspots like New York's Hudson Piers to explore both the sex film genre's unique blend of fantasy and reality and its role in documenting a subculture that was just starting to come into visibility in the years immediately preceding and following the Stonewall Riots. The piece uses explicit (but not gratuitous!) hardcore footage to accurately depict the social practices and activities that actually went on at these locations. ASK ANY BUDDY was compiled by Evan Purchell, a film historian whose work on the subject ... Written by Evan Purchell

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Compilation of gay hardcore from 70s/80s is a record of a vanished society

Evan Purchell is a film historian who previously assembled print ads for "classic era" (1970s-1980s) gay porn on an Instagram feed called "askanybuddy". The same title is used for a podcast in which Purchell exhibits a phenomenal knowledge of the gay porn personnel at work, mainly in the US, during this period. This film is a companion piece to the podcast consisting of extracts from 126 films from Purchell's collection. They include the work of most of the great auteurs of the period (Fred Halsted, Jack Deveau, Peter de Rome, Joe Gage, etc.) but most of the films themselves will be unknown to today's audiences. They were officially unavailable in territories where porn was illegal, notably the UK. Almost all have a sense of artistry and indeed social history. Shots were grabbed at gay events and in gay bars (one allegedly during a police raid) and there are references to heroes (Harvey Milk) and villains (Anita Bryant). But primarily "Ask Any Buddy" is a record of the ways in which gay men met pre-Internet: cruising, parties, sex cinemas, saunas. Almost all the locations are gone, almost all the performers and directors are dead. With no apparent previous film experience (this is his first credit on IMDb) Purchell has edited with a good deal of creativity, managing some striking juxtapositions. But even 80 minutes will be too much for those with only a passing interest in the subject matter. For aficionados here is a reminder of "adult films" that had plots, expected their performers to deliver dialogue (contrary to belief many porn models had drama training), and were often inspired by the work of the giants of Hollywood and Europe. Truly another world. Many viewers will be inspired to track down the films themselves. They're available on sites like xHamster, Tube Porn Classic and This Vid. Caveat emptor! Prints are sometimes poor dubs and incomplete.

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Release Date:

24 August 2020 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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