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Gene Barnes, “Thank God I’m Gay” (1989/90), super8 on digital video, 5:30min. (Courtesy Kelly Marie Martin)

Gene Barnes, aka Portia Manson, began publishing the queer porn zine Hippie Dick! in the early ’90s, unleashing a fearless and exuberant queer vision onto the world. The collaged and photocopied zine celebrated a hairy, faerie queer community reminiscent of shaggy ’70s pioneers the Cockettes, combined with a DIY punk sensibility inspired by the emerging indie and Riot GRRRL scene of the Pacific Northwest, where Barnes attended Olympia, Washington’s Evergreen State College. (Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna would immortalize Barnes, who died in 1995 of AIDS-related meningitis, in the song R.I.P., mourning “another boy genius who’s fucking gone.”)

Hippie Dick Issue #1 (Courtesy Kelly Marie Martin)

This Thursday, queer film and performance platform Dirty Looks will host an event at the Tom of Finland house exploring Barnes’ work and legacy, including screenings of several short film he created, and a multimedia presentation on the zine by Kelly Marie Martin, a collaborator, whose own zine Thorn was seized with Barnes’ at the Canadian border when the two were traveling together to the Spew festival in 1994. Films range from the experimental Super 8 art film Mercury Rising (1990), an attempt to complete Kenneth Anger’s Rising trilogy, to the 1990 documentary AIDS 101, to selections from the porn film Hippie Dick! The Movie. The first 100 attendees will also receive a reproduction of Hippie Dick! issue #1. As debates about the corporatization of Pride are raging this month, Hippie Dick! is a reminder of just how radical queer love, lust, and visibility can be.

When: Thursday, June 27, 7pm ($12 entrance)
Where: Tom of Finland Foundation (1421 Laveta Terrace, Echo Park, Los Angeles)

More info at Dirty Looks.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.