“I think of myself as a pornographer, a maker of sexual and erotic films. And I wish to have my works judged accordingly. But I do get great pleasure when some scene or moment or even a single shot adds to the film another plane, another level of communication with the audience.”
—Arch Brown


Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-937627-31-7

$30

 

Also available in digital formats @ $9.99.

Release date: 11/9/2017

A Pornographer

 

a memoir by Arch Brown

 


 

In 2012, in the months following the death of playwright and filmmaker Arch Brown at the age of 76, an unpublished manuscript was discovered while archiving his possessions, a memoir titled A Pornographer. In it, Brown, whose career as a director of sex films stretched from 1967 to 1985, recounts his interviews in the late 1960s and early 1970s with many of the men and women who wanted to star in his sex films—some who did, others who did not. Here, he is all at once receptionist, gopher, casting agent, writer, director, stagehand, cameraman, talent scout, friend, and on-the-spot psychiatrist. You don’t need to have viewed any of Arch Brown’s sex films from this era to appreciate this memoir. In fact, Brown goes out of his way to not mention the titles of any of his films and he only identifies his cast of characters by fictional first names. The result is that A Pornographer is an historical gem, an unexpectedly insightful psychological view of the performers who were drawn to having sex in front of a camera and how and why audiences responded to them.

"An engrossing panorama of porn’s heady past."
Kirkus

Praise for A Pornographer

“As a gay man himself, one with few sexual hang-ups of his own, Brown has much to teach us about our sexuality that is still relevant today. Missing from his study of his actors is any judgment or prejudice. Their sexual needs and wants are taken as seriously—and to be as valid—as any of the straight men or women he worked with at the time. It’s a nuanced look at just what makes men who desire men tick, and he analyzes his subjects as seriously as any academic text. This memoir deals frankly with sex, but it escapes making it titillating. The engaged reader will feel less like a voyeur than an interested student of life.”

—John Francis Leonard, Lambda Literary

“Great book. As a writer, Brown is much like he was as a director—he puts all the elements on stage and gets out of the way so they can interact. His prose is simple and straightforward. He never attempts to justify or applaud himself and this is one of the least self-serving memoirs I’ve ever read. Instead, he concentrates on others and only brings his own thoughts in when they illuminate the situation at hand. Brown’s manuscript is bookended by a great introduction by Jameson Currier, who also provided Brown’s filmography, and an afterword by Brown’s good friend and archivist, James Waller. Altogether, an informative and entertaining package well worth your time. Highly recommended.”

—Jerry Wheeler, Out in Print

 

About the author

Arch Brown first came to broad public attention through his films. During gay liberation’s closet-busting first decade, Brown’s homoerotic films (including Four Letters, Pier Groups, Super, Trips, Harley’s Angels, Long Johns, The Tool Man, After the Fall, The Leather Bond, Dynamite, All Tied Up, Rough Idea, and Woodshole achieved an international following and superb reviews. His film The Night Before was on Variety’s 50 top-grossing films in the nation for 5 weeks in 1973. Brown’s film Tuesday was the only gay film included by the First New York Erotic Film Festival in its nation-wide release of winning films. The distributors were charged with promoting obscenity. His film Sunday won first prize in the Park Miller Eros Competition. Brown also has directed several documentary films on art and culture including a series on English as a Second Language for New York University. In 1979, at the suggestion of a friend who recognized the wit in his films, Brown turned to playwriting. His first play, News Boy, was produced later that year by The GLINES, went on to a full Off-Broadway mounting at the Player’s Theatre and had nine productions across the country over the next 15 years. Brown’s play, FREEZE!, won the 1998 Eric Bentley Playwriting Prize. Other published and/or produced plays include; Two Married Men, Samson, Sex Symbols, Brut Farce, Seeing Red, Breakfast with Ferkin and Frank, Doubletalk, and Ships That Piss in the Night. Arch Brown’s still photographs and collages have appeared in Mandate, Honcho, The Village Voice, and Michael’s Thing. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Advocate, The Villager, Manhattan G.A.Z.E. and he had a regular column on “Television and Society” in the New York Native. He was the founder of G-MAN, The Gay Men’s Arts Network and, in memory of his partner Bruce Brown who died in 1993 of a brain hemorrhage, he sponsored The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, which continues to give grants to gay-positive arts projects based on history. Arch Brown died peacefully at his home in Palm Springs, California, on September 3, 2012.

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“I try to essentially make porn films and consciously avoid being heavy-handed with theories, philosophies, and ideals. But what I have to say to the audience seems to come through anyway. I think making love is one of the greatest areas of life, a pleasure, a release, and my films say so. Unfortunately the people I want most to say this to are generally not a part of the audience.”
—Arch Brown

 

“A master craftsman.” —The Advocate, 1973

“Surprising enough, Brown is developing something of a New York underground reputation for the style and quality of his work. Viewers of his material are quick to point up its high technical gloss, inventive direction and overall romanticfantasy approach which belies the usual sordid keyhole view taken by more conventionally commercial sexploiters.” —Variety, 1970

“Brown is doing something new, complex and important. Explicit sexual representation goes nicely in movies. It’s a wonder that all movies aren’t pornographic. That’s what movies are for. Food should be eaten, wine drunk, sex filmed.” —Interview, 1975

 

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