24-hour porn theater sesión continua teaser
24-hour porn theater sesión continua teaser

A 24-Hour Queer Porn Theater Is Coming to Los Angeles, But for One Day Only

From midnight on Friday, Sept. 14, to midnight on Saturday, Sept. 15, L.A. residents can enjoy 24 hours worth of vintage gay, lesbian and bisexual porn at Sesión Continua, a 24-hour porn theater project inside the 36-seat Son of Semele theater in historic Filipinotown. The event is the fourth of its kind hosted by Dirty Looks Inc., a queer film, video and performance platform seeking to illuminate queer history for filmmakers, film lovers and porn fans alike.

Bradford Nordeen, the Creative Director and Founder of Dirty Looks Inc. tells Hornet that porn theaters used to be more commonplace in large U.S. cities before the age of home video, “family-friendly” city initiatives and the internet. Early gay pornography before the 1980s was the first form of gay self-representation in film, and (ahem) came before the ’90s wave of gay porn and indie films that made same-sex desire more publicly visible.

“People used to duck into a theater not because of what title was playing, necessarily, but because it was the place to go,” Nordeen says. “Online it becomes more about ‘I want this guy who does that,’ which is more about language than physical interactions.”

He adds, “People didn’t identify as a top or bottom until the 1980s. And that’s kind of unfathomable now as we go around determining every potential trick with a list of qualifiers.”

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Some of the films being shown at this year’s Sesión Continua, the 24-hour porn project

For this year’s 24-hour porn theater project, Dirty Looks Inc. worked with the distribution company Vinegar Syndrome to select porn shot in and around Los Angeles, creating a seven-hour loop of the largest collection of 16mm gay hardcore film screened in L.A. since the late 1980s.

“I think we finally accomplished a goal of bringing a pretty wide array of bodies onto the screen this year,” says Nordeen. “Because of it we’ve got blaxploitation, a lesbian love triangle, a smut documentary, a Native American western — that’s not totally cringeworthy — and a lost murder mystery.”

These films differ from the modern-day sex videos available on porn tube sites in that they’re often cinematically shot and experimental.

In choosing this year’s lineup, Nordeen has seen weird horror movies, an anti-Vietnam war porno and a 40-minute film (being screened this year) about an older tailor who makes clothes for gay men but doesn’t allow himself to love. It has an obligatory sex scene in the middle of it — which was probably included just to get funding — but Nordeen calls it “heartbreaking and sweet.”

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The poster for this year’s Sesión Continua 24-hour porn theater

Old timey 24-hour porn theaters used to show art films to help pad their round-the-clock screenings, and so does Sesión Continua. Sometimes these films astound viewers, bringing them to applause; other times they just confuse and frustrate people because they’re not porn.

As a result, Nordeen says, Sesión Continua operates as a social space somewhere between a 24-hour porn theater and an art space.

Sometimes people get turned on and start making out or even masturbating during the screenings. But most of all, Nordeen says, “I’m happy providing a platform for people to expand their ideas around the function, purpose and potential for sex and cinema.”

Find more info on Sesión Continua, the 24-hour porn theater coming to L.A., here.