“It was a woman's ass, that was the
first thing you see, then a woman's tits, then a man's ass, then
anything before a dick,” filmmaker John Waters says in an upcoming
short documentary on the evolution of porn in America.
Capital of America is a 15-minute short about San Francisco's
role in breaking the hardcore porn barrier.
The documentary is directed by Michael
Stabile, a veteran of the gay porn industry, who says he stumbled
across the city's contributions to the industry while working on a
feature length documentary about the life of Chuck Holmes, the
founder of gay porn studio Falcon.
Porn before 1970, Stabile explains, was
treated like narcotics: “You could go to jail if you were caught
selling it or distributing it.”
The laws were also used to aggressively
choke off discussions about being gay. Literature from early gay
rights groups was considered obscene and subject to the same laws used
to prosecute users of porn.
A landmark Supreme Court ruling,
however, struck down such laws, and the porn industry evolved from
pin up girls to hardcore sex almost overnight.
“It happened in 1969,” Jeffrey
Escoffier, author of Bigger Than Life, says in the film. “And
it happened in San Francisco.”
Waters rose to fame in the early 70s,
producing cult films that straddled the line between porn and cinema.
“I think San Francisco when I came
here was gayer than it is today,” the 64-year-old, openly gay
filmmaker says. “South of Market there was a bar called The Hungry
Hole, that was a glory hole that you put your ass though. That's
Stabile has submitted the short for
consideration in January's Sundance Film Festival in Utah.