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University of Iowa Showing Classic Porn in 3D

Iowa- “Some elements just pop out better than others,” said Bijou programming director Andy Brodie as he chuckled. “One scene is especially climactic.”

Such double entendres are almost impossible to avoid when talking about the Bijou’s new Midnight-Movie Series, particularly when discussing the series’ premiere film, Disco Dolls in Hot Skin in 3D.

That’s right, the Bijou is showing porn in 3D – complete with free “deep-vision” glasses.

Shocking? It shouldn’t be, said Emily Light, the Bijou executive director.

“It’s a throwback to Bijou’s history. In the ’70s, it showed porn on a regular basis,” she said, noting that the IMU ballroom was once packed for a sold-out showing of Deep Throat, www.xxxdeepthroat.com. “It’s a college-campus tradition.”

But the midnight-movie tradition had gone limp until now, as the old Bijou theater was unable to show movies after the IMU closed.

Disco Dolls in Hot Skin in 3D is a campy 1977 film that stars John Holmes, a famous male porn actor at the time now perhaps best known for his involvement in the drug-motivated Wonderland murders in 1981. The movies Boogie Nights and Wonderland are loosely based on his life.

Light said she hopes the movie will attract a different audience, and she’s not concerned about the film stirring up controversy, either.

“We’re mature adults, and I don’t think people will be too offended,” she said.

UI English Professor Loren Glass said he believes a film such as Disco Dolls isn’t much of a risk for the theater.

“My personal impression of your generation is that you’ve all seen lots of it, and that hard-core visual pornography is no longer shocking,” he said.

Disco Dolls is one of four movies the Bijou is showing in conjunction with the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies Symposium on Obscenity, which Glass organized. The symposium will be held at the UI March 1-4 and also includes a documentary on the word “fuck” and This Filthy World, a one-man performance by filmmaker John Waters. (Waters also directed the racy Pink Flamingos, which the Bijou will screen on March 3.)

“After the liberalization of the definition, porn went from being an underground industry to a legitimate, established industry,” Glass said. “The ’70s were the golden age of porn, and if nothing else, you can certainly learn something about the time and place in which [Disco Doll] was made.”

Despite the first two offerings in the Midnight-Movie Series, not everything shown is pornographic, Brodie said; he also expects to show The Big Lebowski and Grease.

“The Bijou is not taking a step in the direction of becoming an adult movie theater,” Light said. “The 3D brings an unusual aspect to it, and it makes it more of a fun and acceptable idea.”

So, for those unwilling to accept that they’re excited by the porn, they can blame it on the awesome 3D glasses in their pockets.

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