Lucas Hilderbrand is Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of
In the liberation era, gay men built new institutions that advanced the politics of pleasure in sex and dancing. In New York City, these influential clubs suggested that a new gay world was possible. This chapter revisits zeitgeist gay venues that defined gay public life in the 1970s and 1980s and that continue to shape popular memory: the Continental Baths, the Mineshaft and Anvil sex clubs, and the Paradise Garage and Saint discos. These clubs expanded the scale of gay venues and loomed even larger in legend. During the first decade of the AIDS crisis, they also became sites for attention to the lives lost and to attempts to police the epidemic. The subsequent interlude examines an ad campaign for the Saloon in Minneapolis that indicated a transitional gay male sensibility as AIDS turned from epidemic to endemic status.