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Our Iconic Queer Ancestors: Tab Hunter

Our Iconic Queer Ancestors: Tab Hunter

Tab Hunter — matinee idol of the 1950's, cult classic star in his later career — was born a quiet, good-looking kid named Art Gelien — who knew he was gay from a young age.  Crafted by Hollywood into “Tab”, an all-American pin-up idol, he was paired with the likes of Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds, both on-screen and off. Behind the scenes, however, he navigated the celluloid closet, including romantic relationships with fellow actor Anthony Perkins and his life partner, producer Allan Glaser. 

In this class, we’ll explore how Tab’s story offers a firsthand experience of navigating the open secret of homosexuality in Hollywood, as we trace the arc of queer and camp masculinities his on-screen performances draw, from his recording career to television appearances, early heartthrob films to late career collaborations with John Waters and Divine. 


7/9: Tab Hunter Confidential (2015, 90 min)

7/16: Damn Yankees (1958, 111 min)

7/23: Polyester (1981, 86 min)

7/30: Lust in the Dust (1985, 85 min)

This class will be taught by Max Swanson, a filmmaker/performer, writer, educator, and organizer based in Portland, OR. They currently also teach at NW Doc and PSU, and work as a freelance story consultant. They are also a co-producer of the local drag and art collaborative Max & Mars Present.

Movies will be screened at the Movie Madness Miniplex, followed by an instructor-led discussion. Classes will begin on Tuesday evening, July 9th, and will be held each Tuesday evening through July 30th at 6:30pm

Class size will be limited to 18.

Email us at if you have any questions.

In general, the Hollywood Theatre does not provide content advisories about the subject matter shown in our theatre. Films exhibited don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Hollywood Theatre. Information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media and