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When Larry Craig Was 17

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on May 14, 2008 2:12PM

Our favorite movie at last year's REELING was V.O. by William E. Jones, which takes non-hardcore, "linking" sequences from vintage gay porn and juxtaposes them with the soundtracks of various classic foreign art films. As we wrote at the time, "The collision is a revelation, by turns hilarious and moving. By leaving out all the actual sex from the original porn, what we are left with is a strikingly ethnographic mosaic of a vanished world."

2008_5larrycraig.jpg The uncanny feeling that comes from peering into a vanished world is in full force in Jones' newest video, Tearoom, which screens on Sunday at WHITE LIGHT CINEMA. The 56-minute work, which was selected for the 2008 Whitney Biennial, is made up of actual footage shot in 1962 by undercover officers in a Mansfield, Ohio public men's room. The cameraman filmed patrons through a hidden two-way mirror and the footage was later used as evidence in sodomy trials. At the time, being convicted of the crime carried a minimum one-year prison sentence.

Jones has explained that he "decided to present the footage with a minimum of intervention [as a] radical example of film presented 'as found' for the purpose of circulating historical images that have otherwise been suppressed." He'll be at both screenings, with copies of the companion book, which contains many historical texts relating to the Mansfield cases, as well as over 100 frame enlargements from the video. Full details here.