Photography By Efrain John Gonzalez

The Sexual Underground of the Meatpacking District before Gentrification

I started “going out” — but OUT when I was 16 was in 1979 when the blood ran thick and cold in the streets of the Meatpacking district and you didn’t want to linger on a steamy summer day, the stench would gag you. But, oh the nights, any season, were truly magical, all the most exciting bars and clubs were there, something for everyone: The Anvil, The Mineshaft, The Lure and even a place I dared to go in called Hellfire. I hadn’t thought about those places in ages until I happened upon this extraordinary show of black and white documentary photographs of the era called, A Buried Past, Forgotten Stories: The Sexual Underground of the Meatpacking District before Gentrification — The Photographs of Efrain John Gonzalez,” (now on view at the visionary bookstore, gallery and performance space BGSQD in the LGBT Center) I found a succinct quote about Efrain that might clue you into the aesthetic push and content of his photographs: “An internationally published photographer who for the past 30 years has been seeking real life images that tells a story of people finding the paths to their souls, finding their bliss with piercing, branding, cuttings, tattoos, implants, leather and a whole lot of radical sex and sexuality.”


You can’t help but feel a bit like a voyeur peering at these intimate images of the meatpacking district, the streets, the clubs and all the crazy kinky sex people were having in them. Be sure to map out some time for your visit because the bookstore and its contents also need close scrutiny. And if for some crazy reason you haven’t gotten your hands on issue #2 of GAYLETTER, no worries, they have one there for you. If you love the show and your curiosity is piqued, come back on May 20th at 6:00PM, Efrain is giving a talk and a slideshow covering 40 years of his work.


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FREE, WED-SUN 1:00PM-7:00PM, BGSQD 208 W. 13th St. room 210, NY, NY.