PHOTOS: Bathhouse History Lesson
BY Christopher Harrity
June 28 2014 3:00 AM ET
An extraordinary, glimpse into the pre-AIDS gay sexual culture, "The Fairoaks Baths" is an exhibit of Polaroids taken by Frank Melleno during the spring and summer of 1978 at the Fairoaks Hotel, a San Francisco bathhouse. These candid images are remarkable because they document the life of the bathhouse with celebration and no apology. Many of the images contain nudity and frank erotic scenes, but they also capture men dressed in festive attire and the general life at the bathhouse. There is no other collection of photographs that so clearly visualizes this period in bathhouse culture.
These images and more will be on display at the Leslie-Lohman Prince Street Project Space (details below) and also included are images from the Fairoaks Pride Parade float from that same year.
The Fairoaks Baths:
Photographs by Frank Melleno
Polaroids from a San Francisco bathhouse in 1978
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (Prince Street Project Space)
127-B Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
Opening reception July 11, 6-8 p.m.
Interspered with these images is an essay by former Advocate senior editor Mark Thompson.
Standing at the front office counter with notices about T-shirts, poppers, and towels.