There will be a screening on Friday at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum in Westwood of a selection of films, clips and remembrances to celebrate the life and career of the late Pat Rocco.
The screening is a free event put on by the UCLA Film & Television Archive along with Outfest and ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archive.
Rocco, the pioneering activist and filmmaker of gay cinema, died last November. Rocco came out as gay at age 13 and was equally open with his films, debuting a selection at the Park Theatre in Westlake in the summer of 1968 in the city’s first public on-screen exhibition of overtly gay films with male nudity. More than titillating erotica, they exhibited a personal vision that celebrated a romantic, joyful positive image of men in love that critic and author Jim Kepner then described as “exhilarating, fresh, ideal, basic, and agonizingly beautiful.” And his films were a hit, attracting coverage in the mainstream press and sold-out audiences, which allowed Rocco to branch out into features.
Rocco revolutionized the representation of gay love on screen and used his camera to capture the simultaneous revolution of gay identity in the streets. He documented the city’s earliest Gay Pride parades, the flavor of local nightclubs and in “Sign of Protest” (1970), the landmark demonstrations against the then-homophobic policies of Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood.
For a community long forced underground, Rocco shot movies guerilla-style on location all over the city, in Griffith Park, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Hollywood and, most notoriously, inside Disneyland, the surreptitious setting for his tale of young gay love “Disneyland Discovery” (1969). A one-of-a-kind storyteller and entertainer, Rocco was a friend and supporter of UCLA Film & Television Archive, Outfest and ONE Archives.
Admission is free. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the program starts at 7:30 p.m. The theatre is at 10899 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles, at the courtyard level of the Hammer Museum.
Tickets are available at the theater box office beginning one hour before show times. Free tickets cannot be reserved or obtained in advance.