70s Gay Subculture and Gay Semiotics
A photographer named Hal Fisher published a book in 1977 called Gay Semiotics, which focused on what it was like to be gay in San Francisco back then. I missed all that and I’ve always been curious about it. I only know what I’ve heard through older gay friends.
The most basic definition of semiotics is “the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.” I studied a lot of this in a graduate course I took once called “Communications and Literature.” If you want to read more about semiotics for background info, you can check this out.
Here’s more about how semiotics played a role in 70s gay subculture. It’s an excerpt from the book.
Handkerchiefs signify behavioral tendencies through both color and placement. A blue handkerchief placed in the right hip pocket serves notice that the wearer desires to play the passive role during sexual intercourse. Conversely, a blue handkerchief placed in the left hip pocket indicates that the wearer will assume the active or traditional male role during sexual contact. The blue handkerchief is commonly used in the treatment of nasal congestion and in some cases holds no meaning in regard to sexual preferences.
Red handkerchiefs are used as signifiers for behavior that is often regarded as deviant or abnormal. A red handkerchief located in the right hip pocket implies that the wearer takes the passive role in anal/hand insertion. A red handkerchief placed in the left hip pocket suggests that the wearer plays the active role in anal/hand insertion. Red handkerchiefs are also employed in the treatment of nasal discharge and in some cases may have no significance in regard to sexual contact.
You can read more about this here, with photos. It’s fascinating material and it’s a huge part of gay history. They get into a great deal, including poppers. If you’re writing or reading gay erotic romance and you don’t know what poppers are, you really should enlighten yourself with this article.
The comments are even more fascinating.
“Shared Rooms” New Gay Production
Here’s a piece about a new gay production titled, Shared Rooms.
Shared Rooms, the latest holiday-themed production from writer-director Rob Williams (Make The Yuletide Gay, etc.) is out this week. The film unspools a trio of gay tales entirely shot in the gay Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, including one that has earned notoriety on the LGBTQ film festival circuit.
I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment. There’s more here.
There’s a trailer that didn’t really do much for me. If you don’t like the characters in the trailer, it’s not much of an incentive to see the movie. Two people who already left comments seem to agree with me.
Aaron Rhodes’ Biggest Turn Ons
This is fairly harmless. It won’t change your life, but it’s entertaining in a, “like,” way that requires very little thought at all. And he is cute. I think it’s interesting that this is how some segments of gay culture have evolved as compared to the book I mentioned above, Gay Semiotics.
These are a few of Aaron Rhodes’ favorite things, as revealed in a new YouTube video. (Twin bro Austin’s away in Denver, so he’s going solo this time, m’kay?)
This one’s all about the video, which you can view here.
The comments are mixed. I still find it interesting that these people find any audience at all on the Internet…but they do.