“Age of Consent” | 14th July | LA

Screening with Director-Producer-Screenwriter Todd Verow

A film by Charles Lum and Todd Verow, UK 2013, 1 hour 27 minutes, produced by Bangorfilms

The history of The Hoist, London’s first and only Gay sex fetish bar, follows the cultural evolution of Gay life and sex in modern London through AIDS, gentrification, and the ongoing political struggle to decriminalize homosexual activity in the UK.

This documentary by festival favourites Lum and Verow tells the story of The Hoist (open since 1996 and now one of London’s only surviving Leather bars) and in doing so tells the story of Gay sex from decriminalization to Grindr, taking in police entrapment, the Spanner case, safer sex and Section 28. Age of Consent is informative and eye-opening – did you know more Gay men were arrested and convicted of gross indecency in 1989 than in 1966? – while being playful, funny and downright filthy. Described by the barman as a ‘sneaky, sexy, dirty wee hole’, The Hoist and its patrons could be seen as representing the antithesis of the recent trend in mainstream Gay politics towards assimilation. But, with encroaching gentrification and more people using the internet to hook up, what does the future hold?

From Ben Walters of Not Television:

Shoes and a smile, that’s all you need…” Charles Lum and Todd Verow’s brilliant portrait of Vauxhall’s trailblazing fetish club The Hoist is at once a history of sexual liberation and a warning against complacency. It’s sweet, funny and defiant and features both thematically appropriate hardcore sex and familiar faces, from Peter Tatchell and the BFI’s own Brian Robinson to Jeffrey Hinton, Ingo Cando and Ashley Ryder. The whole film is stolen by the cleaner, though, who among many gems comes up with the phrase that should have been the film’s title: “If this sling could talk…

TOM House

Declare Your Independence

We celebrate the Fourth of July, the day that the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It was composed primarily by three men—Thomas Jefferson, who did the primary writing, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. We owe these authors a debt of gratitude for bringing the principles of Enlightenment, then sweeping through Europe, across the Atlantic and establishing the first country based primarily on those powerful ideas.

All Men are Created Equal

The Declaration was a list of grievances against a king, explaining why the 13 colonies were in revolt against the last vestiges of divine rule, as well as a statement of the principles of liberal democracy.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (Detail), 1975, Graphite on paper, © 1975 Tom of Finland Foundation

The focus on liberty and the pursuit of happiness reflects the principle that all people should be free to maximize their own personal development and fulfillment, so long as their actions do not prevent another from doing the same. This is mirrored in Jefferson’s famous statement:

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Freedom means the right to “believe”, or not believe, whatever you want—and that ideal should inspire us to progress toward inclusiveness.

Our Founding Fathers held belief in the principal of the primacy of reason, that human rationality can provide solutions to our problems and improve the condition of the world.