Taking a Cruise
Back in New York after shooting Mardi Gras, I got a call from Trixie, a six-foot drag queen (and fellow New Yorker) I'd photographed on Bourbon street. "You invited me to your studio," she said. "You said I could come see the pictures. I'm so excited."
"Yes indeed," I said. "Come visit me. I made you some prints."
Without her wig, skirt, and eyelashes, Trixie looked like Frank, a middle-aged gay man. He loved the 8 x 10 prints I made of him camping it up in the French Quarter.
"Great photos," he said. "You should photograph the next Gay Cruise party. Once a month, my friends and I rent the Circle Line sightseeing boat for a private party. We cruise around Manhattan all night, and sometimes the action gets pretty wild. Our next cruise is Friday night--will you join us?"
What? Enter a secret underground scene to photograph a floating party of flamboyant sexual outlaws? Count me in, I said.
The Gay Cruise was a total hoot. It was a soft April night, and spirits were high-high-high. I wore tight black jeans and a black leather jacket to fit in. My camera was a simple, unobtrusive Leica, with no flash, loaded with fast Tri-X film.
Click image for full size.
The action got hot right away. I saw kissing, spanking, sexual horseplay. I took pictures of a barely legal boy, stripped to his tighty whities, teasing the horny crowd with his bump-and-grind gestures. Farther along, I spotted this hot "show your tits" display.
What were these girls doing on a gay men's cruise? I later realized that some girls are not what they seem to be!