PHOTOS: Bathhouse History Lesson

These amazing Polaroids from the heyday of the Fairoaks Hotel capture the feel of being in a bathhouse in 1978 like no other images can.

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

July 12-13,
Opening reception July 11, 6-8 p.m.

Interspered with these images is an essay by former Advocate senior editor Mark Thompson.
 

Hugging
Standing at the front office counter with notices about T-shirts, poppers, and towels.

Tags: Photography

AddThis

READER COMMENTS ()

Quantcast