In 1973, Boyd McDonald virtually invented queer zine culture with Straight to Hell, the no-holds-barred circle jerk of reader-written true tales of men’s real sexual adventures in– as Bernard Welt puts it in “One Man’s Meat”—“the unacknowledged corners of life where repression is not lifted, but exploded to bits . . . In the world of STH, every barracks shower is an orgy room; every Boy Scout jamboree is a festival of sexual initiation; every conservative politician and clergyman pays male hustlers for sex. Everything men do to bond or compete in sports, war, and politics is a sublimation of, if not a substitute for, homosexual desire.” Gore Vidal, Allen Ginsberg, Tennessee Williams, and Christopher Isherwood all proclaimed themselves fans and admirers.
McDonald proposed that pornography usually promotes mainstream ideology that stigmatizes gay sex even as it charges admission for it—while the publication of the truth of sexual life liberates desire from the pressure to justify, excuse, or normalize.
Straight To Hell slideshow is a 2018 NY Queer Zine Fair event taking place during the fair in the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division. The event is FREE.
Billy Miller, STH’s editor since 1989, joins critic Bernard Welt, storyteller extraordinaire Grady Turner, and Kevin Allison, creator of the ground-breaking RISK!Podcast, for a discussion of how sharing the truth of our lives really does set us free.
Kevin Allison is the author of RISK! True Stories People Never Thought They’d Dare To Share (Hachette, 2018), based on the wildly popular podcast. Grady Turner is an arts writer, inaugural curator of the Museum of Sex, and Moth-winning storyteller who produced Bare! True Stories of Sex, Desire and Romance. Bernard Welt is the author of Mythomania: Fantasies, Fables, and Sheer Lies in Contemporary American Popular Art. Billy Miller is an artist and independent curator, and the editor of Straight to Hell.