He liked to tell the story of when he pawned all his business suits. The sex stories were apparently unsolicited; it turned out that men were itching to share. Straight to Hell was a more ambitious expansion of Skinheads. McDonald had no proof of age on file for many of the young men who appeared naked in the pages of Straight to Hell , and readers sent in photos of former lovers who may not have known they were being featured in a pornographic magazine. In the beginning, Straight to Hell was scrappy, with handwritten titles, poorly copied photographs, and profane tirades against the establishment.
Over the years, the aesthetic and tone of the zine softened and became more professional: But the essential elements remained the same. Every issue featured explicit photos, sometimes in collage form.
'Mayor' of Hell bans all straight people from entering Michigan town
Other photos were sent in anonymously: McDonald also ran interviews with marines, strippers, smut photographers, hustlers, luminaries like Mapplethorpe, and regular joes. His wit and attention to detail were such that even an interview with one particularly terse man was illuminating:. Letters composed the bulk of the magazine. Letters were edited for length, but never paraphrased or fictionalized. McDonald left intact their misspellings, unusual grammar, and digressions.
Boyd McDonald (pornographer)
On the whole, they were candid, unrepentant, and detailed. Some letters were erudite. While taking Amtrak to a disarmament conference, a reader receives a hand job beneath an open copy of the New Yorker: His C was not too thick but sure was nice. McDonald was strict about adherence to the facts.
For him, the truth was more valuable than an enhanced story. It was also more erotic; that these things had really happened and could happen again was what made them a turn-on. The letters I like are the ones that are pretty ragged. A lot of fears and flaws, failures. Some thought McDonald wrote all the letters himself. Once, the writer Stephen Greco interviewed McDonald at home and voiced doubts that the letters were real. Many letters began with compliments to a particular story or issue that the reader enjoyed, or overall praise for the magazine: The dialogue between readers and editor gave the magazine the feel of an intimate club.
One early issue contained the notice: For Us Only. McDonald maintained a sharp class-consciousness in his commentary and his choice of letters. Straight to Hell was made for a select group of people united by their desire, but at the same time, it was a rare example of sophisticated criticism and political commentary for the masses. McDonald saw himself as continuing the work of Kinsey. He viewed Straight to Hell as an important historical document: McDonald was not interested in theorizing or analyzing the stories he received. His interest was in description.
His correspondence with his readers was nothing less than a massive collaborative endeavor to define homosexuality, in the sense not of fixing its limits, but of giving shape, texture, and detail to a thing so often addressed dishonestly, with condescension or euphemism. He said in his last interview, with the gay Boston magazine the Guide:. My work is an alternative to the gay liberation movement and to the gay press. The gay press has to be sexless because they are public.
And in order to be publicly gay they have to be closet homosexuals. My books are all about homosexuality rather than gayness. In other words, gay is what they are in public, and homosexual is what they are in private. However, it didn't seem to go over too well with some of the citizens of Hell, who quickly moved to impeach the new mayor within the hour.
The entire thing, of course, was one big ruse. Regardless, it's picking up steam across the internet.
In the world of the S.
Straight To Hell | EXILE
Everything men do to bond or compete in sports, war and politics is a sublimation of, if not a substitute for, homosexual desire. Boyd McDonald was mentioned as a prominent figure in the golden age of gay literature by Felice Picano ,  whose name, and only his, appears in the copyright statement of the reedition of Cruising the Movies.
John Waters has also expressed his enthusiasm,  and his picture with Billy Miller appears in issue He is discussed at length by Reed Woodhouse in Unlimited Embrace: A Canon of Gay Fiction, Seeking models for "a good life as a gay man", Woodhouse lovingly evokes and contextualizes McDonald's interest and enthusiasm for sex:. STH was a formative influence on me We demanded sexually explicit literature and got it, but we wanted that literature to be proud, not ashamed.
Boyd McDonald was for me one of the keys to a grown-up, unashamed gay life, one who not only disentangled me from my own hypocritical knots, but showed me the hypocrisies in the world's mendacity about sex". Not only did he encourage a generation — my generation— of gay men to have all the sex it wanted and to tell the truth about it; but he posed sex as the ineradicably weird thing it is It will never be polite, never become a mere lifestyle or choice, according to McDonald. All we can do is tell the truth about it, and get as much as we possibly can. Why should we have lots of sex?
Because as he puts it in a rare sincere moment sex simply makes us nicer people. Gore Vidal once described STH as "one of the best radical papers in the country. William Burroughs read Straight to Hell with eagerness and admiration. Charles Shively said:. Boyd had a voice unique and inimitable. He neither overstated nor understated the joys of gay sex.
Sham and fraud of any kind appalled him. He ridiculed the hypocrisy of police, clerics, politicians, therapists, teachers, and others of the so-called "helping professions". McDonald celebrated and encouraged promiscuity , which he claimed was men's nature. As his friend David Hurles said:. Perhaps you had to be there So perfect, in fact, that those of us there could not have possibly imagined it might ever be otherwise!
It ended in the early s with the AIDS epidemic. STH enthusiast John Waters has said we will not see another such celebration of casual gay sex in our lifetimes. In Cock We Trust". After the group was taken over by unrelated spam. A song about McDonald was included on the album Matmos , by the group of the same name, each of whose tracks is about an important but controversial character.
McDonald's track includes clandestine recordings of sex acts at the San Francisco oral sex club Blow Buddies. McDonald is also the author of "Cruising the Movies: The title page of the first edition showed a man in a jock in front of a television , apparently looking for images to fuel his masturbation.
The image on the TV is the Statue of Liberty.
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He was uninterested in the movies as such; his interest was in the actors as sexual objects,  who sometimes achieved the status of "piece[s] of meat. One movie reviewed, Fraternity Row , he saw in a theater. He complained that no fellatio took place in the theater: Like STH , Cruising "is not strictly about movies; it frequently uses them as an excuse for political, social, sexual, psychological, and autobiographical comments.
They occupy 15 boxes, and include 3. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Boyd MacDonald. Jones, True Homosexual Experiences: Retrieved Remembering the Sexual Revolution" pp. An earlier version of this chapter was published by Christopher Castiglia "Past Burning: An STH Chapbook, ed.