After Dark was an entertainment magazine that covered theatre, cinema, stage plays, ballet, performance art, and various artists, including singers, actors and actresses, and dancers, among others. First published in May 1968, the magazine was succeeded by Ballroom Dance Magazine.
The first issue does not say "Volume 1 No. 1", it says "Volume 10 No. 1". It continues with "Volume 10" during the year - which makes chronology difficult as somewhere along the line (1969?) it started to label its volumes in regular numerical order. In 1978, for example, the volume is once again number 10.
After Dark, founded by its first editor, William Como, and Ruldoph Orthwine (both of Dance Magazine), covered a wide range of entertainment- or lifestyle-related topics. In addition to numerous articles on dance, topics ranged from a review of the stage production of the musical Hair in the December 1968 issue and an article on Shirley Bassey in the January 1972 issue, to a cover photo and feature article on Donna Summer in the April 1977 issue.
Other cover photos included Bette Midler (January 1973), Robert Redford (December 1973), Barbra Streisand (April 1975), Lauren Hutton (December 1976), Mae West (May 1977), Peter Allen (February 1978), Dolly Parton (April 1978), Jon Voight (April 1979), Christopher Reeve (October 1980), Lily Tomlin (February 1981), and Diana Ross (May 1981). Best sold issue was the February 1976 Issue with Zarko Halmic, Bonita George and Bo van den Assum on the cover.
The May 1979 issue contained a profile of actor Philip Anglim, who originated the role on Broadway of John Merrick in The Elephant Man, a play by Bernard Pomerance. Two other profiles in that issue were of James Mason, the actor who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as the husband of Judy Garland in the film A Star Is Born and Marilyn Hassett, who portrayed Jill Kinmont in The Other Side of the Mountain, a film about skier Kinmont's accident that left her paralyzed.
Issues regularly contained features on fashion; at times articles were about men's fashion exclusively. The "Cityscapes" section contained brief articles about then-current items of note in various cities or other geographical areas worldwide, for example, London; Toronto; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; Birmingham, Alabama; Kansas; New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; and Miami.
The magazine contained substantial advertising for gay restaurants, accommodations, nightclubs, bathhouses, guides, books, pornographic movies, and other products. Some of the advertising was not overtly gay; however, much of the advertising was for establishments or products that were well-known to gay men, or contained symbols often used to identify gay-oriented material, such as the Greek letter lambda. There was also an abundance of advertising for men's boutiques and clothing companies, especially those—such as International Male, for example—that offered skimpy men's underwear or swimwear.
Advertising for other products or services for gay men was explicit; for example, the ads for Hand in Hand Video, a gay pornography studio; The David Kopay Story, regarding former professional football player David Kopay's homosexuality; and an ad for books by noted gay author Paul Monette, The Gold Diggers (containing the tag line, "Glittering, Glamorous, Gay"), and Lovers: The Story of Two Men, by Michael Denneny, described in the ad as "A poignantly true love story, with photographs".
The May 1979 issue included an ad for an organization simply identified as "GSF" titled, "No Man Should Be Without A Man!", which stated, "If you would like to meet warm, sincere gay men (and women) who are interesting in forming...relationships then it's time you find out about GSF." The issue also included an ad in its "After Dark Classified" ads for a "Gay Astrologer".
Other advertising was obviously intended for adult readers as well, presumably those with open minds. The February 1977 issue contained a half-page ad for the Harry Reems Legal Defense Fund. The ad appealed for funds for Reems' defense in two separate lawsuits for his participation in the pornographic films Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones.
Gay interest Edit
Although not described as a "gay magazine", After Dark regularly covered topics of interest to the gay community. Cal Culver, better known as the gay porn star Casey Donovan, appeared on the cover of the December 1972 issue. The February 1975 issue included a photographic portfolio of the gay porn star Peter Berlin.
The May 1979 issue included a feature article on the G.G. Barnum Room, a New York City alternative nightclub catering to a gay and transvestite clientele. The feature article included information about the evolution / genesis of the club and the makeup of its then-current customers. The feature also contained a tandem piece on rollerskating disco, "Boogie on Wheels".
The magazine publishers acknowledged the magazine's appeal to the gay community, noting that the magazine "had gotten a following in the homosexual community seven or eight years before any of the current homosexual magazines came on the market."
Erotic content Edit
The magazine, intentionally or not, provided a level of homoeroticism by regularly using images of nude or partially nude men for its cover and article illustrations. Although some illustrations of partially-clad or nude women were included at times, males comprised the majority of the subjects. Some of the illustrations related directly to the subject of the article, but others seemed to be used just for their nudity or partial nudity.