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S.T.H: Pervalicious!

Saturday in Berlin, before heading to the mp3 Experiment, Snooker and I stopped by the new Exile gallery located near Hallesches Tor. To read about it though, you’ll need to click through—and keep in mind that while there are no photos in this particular blog entry, the text might be NSFW.

Exile Berlin is a new gallery space where artists are given a great deal of freedom to put up what they want. The first exhibit in their ground floor space was entitled Straight to Hell: In Cock We Trust, a retrospective of old and contemporary materials published in Straight to Hell: The Manhattan Review of Unnatural Acts.

Honestly, I’d never heard of the magazine before, so everything was new to me. It’s a fetish magazine focused on publishing raw, true, honest accounts of sexual encounters between men—covering all fetishes, including piss, scat, and glory holes, just to scratch the surface. Anybody can make submissions for future issues.

The gallery’s vestibule presented what some might call crude imagery. A naked guy wearing a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt and a pair of shoes—his uncut cock hanging out for all to see. An enlarged image of the cover from issue 63 with the admonition (or is that motto?), “Love and Hate for the American Straight Since 1969.” A photograph of a high school football player appearing to unzip coach’s pants. In the corner a television playing porn—Snooker and I watched a guy wank in the rain.

In the main gallery space, the walls were covered with enlarged pages, Polaroids, and other items covering man-on-man sex since the establishment of the magazine. The collection presented, a mere fragment of the magazine’s lengthy history, presented any number of crude descriptions of sexual encounters—an article title: I Slept with My Nose Up His Ass (Part II, for the record). You could start reading stories, but then, because they were overlaid with photos and other materials, parts would be missing. My favorite fragment was something about a hot dog breaking—I wanted more details, details covered up by a photo.

The centerpiece, standing up tall and proud in the middle of the room, was a podium topped with a STH Cum Rag.

It was great going with Snooker because she asked questions that provided a better frame to understand the exhibit. I didn’t think to try and frame the early issues in history—but the journal is as much wank material as it is a collection of stories about the human condition—nothing is off limits in the magazine, except, perhaps, straight sex. As our host told us, it’s not that the journal’s founder was anti-woman—he wasn’t—he was anti-Straight men. And he loved it when married men wrote in about their sexual experiences.

It’s impossible to understate the base, crude, and raw nature of the text—there was no pretention whatsoever and yet that’s where its literary strength comes from. This is as honest and true as it can be, even as it is, technically speaking, poorly written.

Needless to say, Snooker and I both loved it.

4 comments to S.T.H: Pervalicious!

  • That’s an interesting gallery to visit. I think my eyes will pop out while looking at it. Btw is this a new theme? Me likey like! TC!

  • The thing I liked was that every issue, dating back to 1972, has completely sold out with some people considering them collector’s items.

    It is easy for us in this Internet porn world to forget that such unbridled “conversation” wasn’t as easy to access for people in even the recent past.

  • jen

    sounds like fun! sorry you’ll be too busy to connect with us while we’re in estes park. it’s gonna be a fly-by trip for us too: we’re coming in wed. and leaving saturday. it’ll be blasto’s first plane trip.

  • @Charles: The exhibit closes this week… and I want to see your eyes pop out. (As for the theme, it’s new, as is my switch to WordPress)

    @Snooker: It is amazing how fast times have changed how we behave. The ‘net has opened a world of possibilities for people who might otherwise not recognize the possibilities. I think it also says something that STH is not online–and that paper still sells out.

    @jen: It was excellent. Sorry about missing you in Denver. the dates you are there are prime family time for me as well…