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Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore
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Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  45 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Hardcore porn?both the straight and gay varieties?entered mainstream American culture in the 1970s as the sexual revolution swept away many of the cultural inhibitions and legal restraints on explicit sexual expression. The first porn movie ever to be reviewed by "Variety," the entertainment industryOCOs leading trade journal, was Wakefield PooleOCOs "Boys in the Sand" (19 ...more
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Published May 14th 2014 by Running Press Book Publishers (first published May 1st 2009)
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Oct 06, 2011 Ryan added it
Written as a series of interconnected, but also stand-alone, essays, Bigger Than Life is very thorough, but also maddeningly repetitive, explaining some of the same things over and over, and sometimes even reiterating the same stories in several chapters. Also, as it turns out, reading a 350-page book about the history of gay porn isn't all the interesting, particularly when you're as badly in need of an editor as Escoffier is. Typos, and grammatical and spelling errors abounded, seriously, on a ...more
Dan C.
Oct 03, 2009 Dan C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What in the world is a married straight guy doing reading a book about gay porn? Well, it's actually quite simple. It's late 20th century history, it's gay rights-related and the HIV epidemic plays a significant role in its evolution - three things that interest me a great deal.

Overall, the book got bogged down in battles between competing studios and names I did not recognize, but I still found it interesting to read of how different the world actually was even 40 years ago. It is also very tas
Hannah Givens
A little repetitive, and often dry -- surprising, given that in no other history book have so many sex acts been named so often. The main trouble is just that it seems a bit underfunded, from the page design to the editing, and that's more a reflection on the history publishing industry than the author. If you're trying to do research, it collects a good amount of information and points to a lot of sources. I'd love to see a second edition expanding on the new role of the internet in porn, which ...more
Apr 27, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Escoffier’s Bigger Than Life is a “Cliff Notes” history of American gay pornographic films. It takes the reader from a time when “homosexual materials, even those without any sexual content, were considered obscene … showing two males kissing was considered daring” to the “bareback” films of today.

Escoffier shows that gay pornography reflects what is going on at any given time. Before AIDS, porn was a hard-going business, mostly consigned to theaters and catalogs. Escoffier writes, “Anything th
Tim Evanson
The problem with this book is that it's just not very comprehensive. It's more gossipy than historical, and its major focus is on the period from about 1983 to 1997. For anyone interested in the Internet's impact on gay adult film, this book was published too early: It just missed the collapse of DVD-issuing studios (like Falcon and Titan Media) and the rise of "gonzo" adult film (simple scenes of non-plot sex) like Corbin Fisher, Randy Blue, and the like.

The book serves as a somewhat decent pri
Oct 01, 2012 Jeff rated it liked it
This was a fun and interesting read in a guilty-pleasure sort of way. Although I don't feel the least bit guilty. It is, after all, a historical study. Aside from satisfying my hunger for, uh, history, there was a certain sense of nostalgia. Having worked in a, um, "history" store in the mid-90s, there was a section of this book that brought back a lot of memories...
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Jeffrey Escoffier writes on glbtq history, politics, culture, sexuality, music, and dance. One of the founders of OUT/LOOK: National Lesbian and Gay Quarterly, he has published widely. Among his books are American Homo: Community and Perversity and a biography of John Maynard Keynes in the Chelsea House series on the Lives of Notable Gay Men and Lesbians. He co-edited (with Matthew Lore) Mark Morr ...more
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