Our beloved Joan Rivers (RIP, diva) wasn't the only senior citizen to go to her grave making waves. In his day, photographer Bob Mizer caused a ruckus with his provocative nudes. By the time he passed away in 1992 at age 70, Mizer had spent a lifetime standing up for his right to create and market erotic art to adults through the Athletic Model Guild, which he established in 1945. But it was in the late 1960s that Mizer was hit with obscenity charges by a federal court. He was eventually vindicated but had served jail time for distributing images of naked men through the U.S. Postal Service in the 1940s. His photos, which are tame by current Twitter standards, live on as a testament to the beauty and eroticism of the early male physique movement.
Now, the foundation founded in Mizer's name is releasing a new DVD that showcases some of the work he shot in the first months that showing male frontal nudity was actually legal in this country. Bob Mizer: Court Declares Nudity Not Obscene 1967-1971 includes 11 films that were mainly filmed for the enjoyment of a bodybuilder audience, but when you depict a bunch of hot naked guys, the gays are bound to show up! The dates of production and shoot information come directly from Bob's diaries, and color and sound have been remastered to today's standards. Watching the clips, it's easy to see how they influenced the work of Andy Warhol (Trash star Joe Dallesandro was a former AMG model) and Robert Mapplethorpe, among others. Remember, this was the age of the Stonewall riots, when queers were still fighting for a place at the table, and Mizer was there, joining a larger battle against censorship and making the art he believed in without apology. Just like the always brave Miss Rivers. For more information, visit BobMizerFoundation.org.