Documentary filmmaker Michael Stabile, who chronicled San Francisco's birth as the Smut Capital of America in a short film last year and who has brought us amazing archival footage of Dianne Feinstein railing against porn and took us on a tour of The Magazine on Polk Street publishes a piece today in the Bold Italic about the often amazing things he's found while digging around in the dusty archives of our local GLBT Historical Society. He's working on a full-length feature, you see, about the life of Chuck Holmes the founder of pioneering gay porn studio Falcon, and the namesake of S.F.'s LGBT Center Charles Holmes Campus. In his digging around for artifacts and photos from S.F.'s very gay past, he's come upon a host of items that will likely never make it into a display case at the GLBT History Museum namely dildo collections; a giant rubber fist; matchbooks from all the lost gay bars in every corner of town; porn collections; and a collection of men's pubic hair, in spice jars, labeled with names and dates.
A lot of this stuff came out of the (literal) closets of the dead during the height of the AIDS crisis, and the archive was started essentially as a way of collecting these pieces of gay history that many of these peoples' parents were not going to want. Also in the collection is a mural, in pieces, from the wall of a long-defunct gay bathhouse in the Tenderloin (the Bulldog Baths at 132 Turk Street). For some, such objects hold the power of religious relics, you know.