Pornography in Denmark: Tenderloin and the Birth of Porn

Legal pornography in the United State was born in the Tenderloin. Join us on Sept 14th and see the first feature length pornographic film to get past obscenity laws in the US- Pornography in Denmark: A New Approach. Filmmaker and porn historian Mike Stabile will be on hand to discuss filmmaker Alex de Renzy, his Screening Room in the Tenderloin, and how this film sparked a revolution in pornography in the US.

“In 1969, filmmaker Alex de Renzy went to Denmark to attend Sex 69- the country’s first porn tradeshow. A year later, back in San Francisco, he produced his first movie, Pornography in Denmark, which he premiered at his Screening Room theater on Jones. Passing as a “documentary,” the film became the first feature length X-rated film legally shown in the U.S. It wasn’t the last. De Renzy’s film helped launch a thriving porn business that spread across the country. Here in the Tenderloin, vacant storefronts took on new lives as adult theaters, strip clubs, massage parlors and porn bookstores.” -The Tenderloin Museum

Guest speaker Mike Stabile will discuss how a small theater in the Tenderloin would launch the hardcore revolution (or porno plague, in the later words of Time magazine) that would sweep the nation from Hollywood to Times Square. Stabile is the director and producer of the documentaries Seed Money, and Smut Capital of America. The latter takes its name from the phrase, first used extensively by then Supervisor Dianne Feinstein in the early 70s as she fought to close the theaters in the Tenderloin that first introduced the country to ‘porno.’

“’Birthplace of porn’ doesn’t have the same appeal as sourdough and cable cars do” says Stabile, “but it was one of San Francisco’s contributions to the world just the same.”

MORE ON MIKE:
Mike Stabile is a journalist and filmmaker who has written about sex, obscenity and San Francisco for over a decade. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Playboy, the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, and many others. His first documentary film, a short entitled Smut Capital of America, chronicled the birth of the modern adult film industry in the late 1960s in San Francisco, and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2011. Screenings of his new feature-length documentary, Seed Money, about gay porn pioneer Chuck Holmes' complicated relationship with the gay rights movement, is scheduled for release on October 4.

Thanks to Stephen Parr from Oddball Films for lending us the film. Due to the X-rating, no one under 21 will be admitted.