“MR. BENSON”— The Leather Cult in New York, The Seventies


“Mr. Benson”

Leather Cult in New York, The Seventies

Amos Lassen

BLACKAngel Films is excited to announce a special reading of the screenplay MR. BENSON, taking place on Sunday, April 13th, at the historic Stonewall Inn, in Manhattan. Based on the cult novel by the late John Preston, MR. BENSON takes a close look at the masculine gay leather culture of late 1970s New York City.

Titan model and actor David Anthony lead the cast of actors, personalities and leather community activists, in what is the opening salvo for what the producers hope will lead to a feature film of the cult classic.

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Mr. Benson is the compelling story of young, arrogant Jamie, played by New York City theater actor Boomer Brigman, on his quest for the ultimate sexual experience. In a West Village leather bar, he finds wealthy, sophisticated and exciting Aristotle Benson (David Anthony), who leads him down the path of erotic enlightenment, teaching him to accept pain for pleasure, sternness as affection, and ultimately, Mr. Benson as his master.

Tensions arise when young gay men begin going missing from the streets of New York and Mr. Benson and the exclusive, secretive members of the TopMen, take it upon themselves to find the boys and bring them home. A provocative and sensual story of grit, kink, and mystery, MR. BENSON is not only a time capsule of New York City in the twilight of the AIDS epidemic, but an unflinching look at the intimate and often dangerous lives of those who live on the fringe.

If John Preston, the masterly author of more than 30 books, was himself a gay icon, his character Mr. Benson defined the culture of gay sex for an entire generation. When Mr. Benson appeared in printed novel form in the pre-AIDS early 1980’s, its unabashed celebration of male sexuality made it a cult following among gay men, many of whom wore T-shirts declaring that they were “Looking for Mr. Benson”. First serialized in Drummer Magazine, there were lines waiting for the next installment at West Village newsstands. The novel’s fresh voice and insights into identity, desire, power, and love influenced a generation of writers and editors. Mr. Benson was Preston’s first novel, and was followed by many more books from the proud, self-styled “pornographer”.

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This special staged reading, produced by BLACKAngel Films, in special arrangement with Cleis Press and Brown University, will take place on Sunday, April 13tth, at the historic Stonewall Inn, on Christopher Street. The evening will kick off with a cocktail party beginning at 6:00pm. The reading begins at 7:00pm, followed by a Q&A with the cast and creative team. The talented cast includes Michael Russnak, Adam Russo, Hans Berlin, Jack Parton and Mike Tanner, and the script will be narrated by filmmaker and leather historian Hardy Haberman. Entry is $10, payable at the door.

The Stonewall Inn is located at 53 Christopher Street, near 7th Avenue South, New York City.

For media inquiries, please contact Darrell Perry at 917 783 0127 or via email at darrellblackandblue@gmail.com.

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