A still from the documentary 'Ask Any Buddy'

Take a trip with us back in time, won’t you, to an era of queer liberation—of sexual liberation—when the LGBTQ+ community was first beginning to show how loud and proud it could be.

It was a time of parades, rallies, and political activism. It was also a time of bathhouses, swinging parties, and the early days of the gay adult film industry.

It was a time where, if gay men wanted to see themselves on screen at all, they had to go to the adult, erotic theaters.

Step into the time machine that is Ask Any Buddy, a nostalgic documentary from filmmaker Elizabeth Purchell that takes a look back at queer life in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, specifically through the lens of erotic films from the era.

Created as a companion to Purchell’s podcast and Instagram account of the same name—dedicated to archiving the history of “fringe queer cinema”—Ask Any Buddy is a transfixing time capsule comprised entirely of clips from over 120 hardcore adult gay films.

“Reveling in both the fantasies and realities of post-Stonewall p*rn,” the film offers glimpses of familiar faces like Al Parker, Casey Donovan, and Peter Berlin—all from footage from Purchell’s archival collection, restored and digitized.

This isn’t your typical documentary; there are no “talking head” experts setting the scene, no narrator walking you through the events of the era. Instead, Ask Any Buddy allows the entertainers themselves—and their bodies—do all the talking.

“Hi, my name is Mark,” says a grinning, square-jawed man in one of the film’s many archival footage clips. “And I’m an actor in gay p*rno movies, which is what this movie is all about.”

“Ten years ago, gay p*rno didn’t exist,” Mark continues. “Now we’ve started documenting our sexuality so that people of the future can see what got us off in the ’70s.”

Well, if that’s not a perfect selling point for Ask Any Buddy, we don’t know what is!

A still from the documentary 'Ask Any Buddy'
Image Credit: ‘Ask Any Buddy,’ Frameline

Since 2019, the documentary has been playing the queer film festival circuit—screening at renowned fests like BFI Flare in London and LA’s Outfest—and now San Francisco’s premiere LGBTQ+ festival, Frameline, offers another chance to see this one-of-a-kind project.

Ask Any Buddy will receive a special presentation screening on June 20 at SF’s Roxie Theater, with director Elizabeth Purchell in attendance. You can find out more about the event and purchase tickets here.

Check out the electrifying time-warp of a trailer below:

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