Pat Rocco shot and exhibited the first openly erotic gay films in the United States, beginning in the summer of 1968, near downtown Los Angeles. Yet he has been remembered primarily as a transitional figure, relegated to a marginal position in the narrative of gay history. This article argues for a recovery of his work, reading his films as bold acts of place-claiming on cultural, social, and also spatial geographies, resisting a hegemonic, heteronormative legal and political regime. Rocco resisted this regime of the illicit by celebrating not just gay eros, but also the visibility of gay bodies in specific social locations, forcing public recognition of the gay presence in greater Los Angeles, his home base. Rocco's films operated on dual planes, functioning at both the textual level of representing gay visibility in public space, and at the material level of public exhibition.

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