Seminal fantasies: Wakefield Poole, pornography, independent cinema and the avant-garde

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The winter before Deep Throat (Damiano, 1972) made pornography chic, a former ballet dancer named Wakefield Poole leased a small movie theater on 55th Street in Manhattan to screen the ninety-minute porn film he had shot the preceding summer at his friends’ Fire Island haunts. In sharp contrast to the grimy urban ‘sleaze’ of gay porn’s peep-show fare, Poole’s Boys in the Sand (1971) proffered a veritable Eden of handsome studs who cavorted romantically in sun-drenched beaches and posh island dwellings. In lieu of a moan-and-groan soundtrack, Poole’s actors made love to an elegant instrumental score embellished with strains of classical music. In place of hackneyed scenarios involving sailors and rough trade, Poole created three self-reflexive episodes that dramatize the sexual fantasies of an attractive but lonesome Fire Island dweller. The episodes, which combine mystery, eroticism, and humor, include enigmatic encounters with a sex god who emerges from the depths of the bay, an African American lineman who haunts a bourgeois stud, and a mustachioed muscle-man who appears when a palm-sized tablet is dissolved into a swimming pool.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContemporary American Independent Film
Subtitle of host publicationFrom the Margins to the Mainstream
EditorsChristine Holmlund, Justin Wyatt
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)0415254868, 9780203312964
StatePublished - Sep 23 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cinema films
  • Independent cinema
  • United States
  • Motion pictures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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