COURTESY DIRTY LOOKS

Dirty Look’s Sesión Continua, a roving 24-hour queer porn theater, is staging its first edition in New York, beginning Friday, September 29, at 11:59 p.m. at Video Revival, a nonprofit film-arts organization in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The program, which will run until roughly 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, September 30, will draw largely from pre-VHS pornographic titles, including both gay and lesbian films, with no set times or schedule being released to the public ahead of the screening, a move meant to harken back to the days of yore, perhaps in a Times Square of a different era, Dirty Looks founder Bradford Nordeen told ARTnews. “You walked in. There was no listing of what title was being shown,” he said. “You just saw what was playing.” Nordeen recalled such an experience when he visited the Bijou theater in Chicago in 2014, shortly before it closed.

The aim of the project is to re-create a queer social space that has vanished from many cities in recent years, along with bathhouses and traditionally gay neighborhoods. It comes at a time in the gay community when there is much heated debated, in the media and on gay Twitter, about who can visit gay spaces and under what circumstances.

COURTESY DIRTY LOOKS

Nordeen, who curated Sesión Continua with gay pornography historian and archivist Joe Rubin of Vinegar Syndrome and another queer film preservation group called Curse of Cherifa, said that he positions these early pornographic films as some of the earliest examples of queer representation, for and by queer people. “They became the main approachable commercial format that queer people could use to document their life,” he said. “It was a cinema that filled the screen for an inordinate amount of time with various bodies engaging in beauty. This is where they saw themselves on screen.”

Dirty Looks, which has staged versions of Sesión Continua in Los Angeles yearly since 2015, is perhaps best known in New York for the three editions of its month-long festival “Dirty Looks: On Location,” billed as “queer interventions in New York City space,” which has included wide-ranging programming of queer film and video across the city, from conventional art spaces like the Kitchen, Pioneer Works, and Participant to traditional queer gathering spaces like the Stonewall Inn, Julius, the Eagle, and even a nondescript motel room on the West Side.

With this edition of Sesión Continua in New York, Nordeen wants Sesión Continua to be “still staying true to what people think of with Dirty Looks, and embellishing that with the pornographic space we’re trying to create. . . . Instead of treating it like a film festival, we wanted to treat it as a free-flowing space not having ownership over what you see.”

On deck for the screenings are what Nordeen has dubbed the Hellraiser (1987) of gay porn, an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, a beach film double feature, and “lezspoitation” films that will screen around 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 29.

Paraphrasing something that Rubin had told him earlier, Nordeen said, “There shouldn’t be a minute where someone walks into this theater and feels bored.”