First release poster for Fred Halsted’s LA Plays Itself, 1972

The first auteur of gay hardcore, Fred Halsted blurred the distinction between pornography and experimental film. Released at exactly the moment when pornography became mainstream (1972 also saw the blockbuster success of Deep Throat), LA Plays Itself created a sensation wherever it screened. The film helped make Halsted into something of an artworld fixture. His films were the first works of gay pornography to be acquired by the Museum of Modern Art.