After Dark (magazine)
Actor Nicholas Cortland on the
March 1972 cover
|Categories||Performing arts trades|
|First issue||May 1968|
|Final issue||January 1983|
|Company||Dance Magazine, Inc.
Danad Publishing Company, Inc.
|Based in||New York City, New York|
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 succeeded Ballroom Dance Magazine. In the late 1970s Patrick Pacheco took over the editorship from William Como and strived for a time to make the magazine a more serious critical monthly with a greater emphasis on quality writing, doing away with color printing inside and reducing photos to a few inches square. This was a clear reaction to Como's "eye-candy" thrust, but evidently that is not what the readership was looking for as sales were low, so in 1981 Louis Miele replaced him at the helm and returned to the full-color format with plenty of skin on show. It seemed however that the day was done for After Dark, perhaps because several newer magazines were now doing a better (and more explicitly targeted) job of appealing to the magazine's original readership, for Miele's incarnation of After Dark folded after only a couple of years, this time for good.
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 photograph 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.
For its advertising space promotion in the February 1977 issue of the magazine, After Dark touted,
- "Reach the Audience with Money to Spare. You'll find them in After Dark! They're affluent, successful and single. With no strings to tie them down. And the time and money to live it up, any chance they get."
Their profile of their readers stated that 85.2% of their readers were single, were a median age of 33.7, and had a median income of US$20,882 (equivalent to $81,544 in 2015). They were "upscale", with 75.8% holding managerial or professional positions, well-groomed—76.4% used cologne—and spent US$804 (equivalent to $3,140 in 2015) a year on clothing. Their readers were "Travel Minded": taking a median 3.5 vacations per year with 56.6% owning valid passports; and "Bon Vivant": 81.6% regularly drinking vodka, 81.3% scotch, 70.3% gin, 63.5% champagne.
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.
Daniel Harris describes the founding of After Dark as
- One of the strangest reincarnations in journalistic history. Catering to musically inclined blue-haired old ladies and golfers in Hush Puppies, Ballroom Dance Magazine was a recreational journal for the geriatric set. It was out of the ashes of a periodical devoted to such topics as waltzes, rumbas, and turkey trots that After Dark, an audacious mass-market experiment in gay eroticism, arose like a phoenix in all of its subversive splendor.
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. At its height, the magazine had more than 300,000 readers, "composed almost exclusively of gay men," according to Daniel Harris.
The May 1979 issue included a feature article on the G.G. Barnum's 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."
Donald Embinder, a former advertising salesman for After Dark, went on to found Blueboy, an upscale adult magazine which has been called the gay answer to such straight titles as Playboy and Penthouse.
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.
A feature article in the February 1977 issue, "Musclebound for Glory", contained photos of bodybuilders, thus relating the illustrations directly to the topic of the article. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the cover model for that issue and several photographs of him were used as illustrations in the article. In two photographs, he appears in the nude; one photograph shows part of his penis. The feature is an in-depth look at bodybuilding as "one of the most fascinating (and least explored) subcultures in America.". Illustrated with pictures of barely clothed bodybuilders, the article, intentionally or not, evokes homoeroticism.
One photograph in that issue that seems to use gratuitous nudity is one of actor Paul Charles, performing the role of "Mark" on Broadway in the musical A Chorus Line. The illustration is one of several for an article about current events on Broadway, and consists of a narrative text as well as photographs of performers with brief summaries of their productions in the captions of the photos. Charles is photographed nude with a fur coat strategically draped over one shoulder that just covers his groin.
Notable Celebrities on the Cover
† Burrell, Devine, and Ralph appeared on the January 1982 cover together
- Back issue retail site—intended as a reference for dates and images only. Note that some of the issue dates are incorrect; however, the listing correctly identifies Vol. 13 No. 01 as being published in May 1980. An online search in www.bookfinder.com returns a September 1982 issue as the most recent one available, and lists the May 1976 issue as the Tenth Anniversary Issue.
- LC Online Catalog (2009). "After Dark". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- "Photos from After Dark Magazine - December 1968". Hair Photo Index. 5 March 2002. Archived from the original on 18 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- Norma McLain Stoop (January 1972). ""They Can't Put the Two Together" ...and Bassey is Both". After Dark. Archived from the original on 2009-10-24. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- Patrick Pacheco (April 1977). "Donna Summer: The Sensuous Diva of Sex Rock". Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- John Gruen (May 1979). "Philip Anglim: The Elephant Man Girds His Loins". After Dark (Danad Publishing Company, Inc.). pp. 62–65.
- Mewborn, Brant. "James Mason: Odd Man In". After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. May 1979, pp. 70–73
- Stoop, Norma McLain. "Inside The Bell Jar—Marilyn Hassett:The Upbeat Side of a Tragic Type". After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. May 1979, pp. 74–76
- After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. February 1977, p.97
- Currency conversion obtained from American Institute for Economic Research (AIER)
- After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. February 1977, p. 83.
- After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. May 1979, p. 16.
- After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. May 1979, p. 89.
- After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. May 1979, p. 96.
- After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. February 1977, p. 89.
- Daniel Harris, The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture (NY: Hyperion, 1997), p. 64.
- Cal Culver cover image at retail site
- Forbes, Dennis (text and photos), "Creating Peter Berlin", After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, February 1975, pp. 44–51.
- The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture, p. 65. Harris devotes several pages to the trajectory of the magazine.
- Pacheco, Patrick, "Raucous and Roller Disco: More than Dancing / Boogie on Wheels", After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. May 1979, p. 54–61.
- Philip H. Dougherty (1982-07-02). "Advertising; After Dark Returning With Mid-August Issue". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- Rutledge, Leigh W. The Gay Decades: From Stonewall To The Present. Plume. p. 81. ISBN 0-452-26810-9.
- Pacheco, Patrick, "Musclebound for Glory", After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. February 1977, p. 34–41.
- Mewborn, Brant, "What's in the News: Broadway Buzz", After Dark, Danad Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 98 pp. February 1977, p. 8–11.