Steam Clean (1990)

3:30 minutes

A Gay Men's Health Crisis sex re-education Public Service Announcement in which an interracial gay male couple hooks up at a bath house, having steamy sex safely.

“A subjective handheld camera moves attentively through a gay male sauna past towel-wrapped clients in the corridor and the cubicles, to an upbeat disco-ish soundtrack. The subject, soon revealed as a slim young Chinese man in a jaunty baseball cap, considers several potential sexual partners and is declined by others, before finally coming to an unspoken agreement with a South Asian man of the same age. In the latter's mirrored cubicle, the two engage in kissing and caressing and then anal intercourse, the seated Chinese man penetrating his partner who is astride his lap. The men's bodies as well as their condom and lubricant are all carefully and graphically shown in close-up operation. Safe sex slogans scroll by in several languages and then the final credits.” (Video Data Bank Catalogue)

“This 1990 videotape, Steam Clean, has a symptomatic place in the videography of Richard Fung, positioned halfway through the nine-work career spanning from 1984 to the present. But it is absent from Fung's own personal curriculum vita, perhaps because it is a commission produced jointly by the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) of New York and the AIDS Committee of Toronto. I start with it, because neither my auteurist training nor my affinity towards social activist documentary allow me to discount commissions, especially those undertaken with community organizations, and also because the growing literature on Fung prefers to canonize the postcolonial queer hybridity of his more complex autobiographical works…” (Thomas Waugh, “Good Clean Fung” in Wide Angle 20.2 (1988)

“A hand-held camera travels through the corridor of a gay sauna, passing cubicles occupied by several hunky towel-draped men-a who’s who of independent film and video (including John Greyson, Colin Campbell and Tim McCaskell). The camera’s point of view is that of a slender young Chinese man sporting a baseball cap. He cruises before finally encountering a South Asian man of similar age and build. There is no dialogue, only the subtle, and not so subtle, crossing gazes. Having confirmed their desire and mutual interest, they enter into a cubicle with a wall mirror. The soundtrack is an electronic rap beat. Beneath bright, pinkish lights, the couple engage in mutual masturbation, oral and anal sex. Steam Clean is a short Public Service Announcement (PSA) originally intended for AIDS education initiatives. (Depending on which side of the bed you get out of, the PSA can represent the best or worst of community video.) Essentially instructive, everything is graphically presented. The stars of the video are a tube of lubricant and a condom package, and by the end of the video they get their close-up as the words, “Fuck safely. Use a condom” appear on the screen in English, Tagalog, Tamil, Vietnamese and Chinese.” (Kyo Maclear)

3:30 minutes

A Gay Men's Health Crisis sex re-education Public Service Announcement in which an interracial gay male couple hooks up at a bath house, having steamy sex safely.

“A subjective handheld camera moves attentively through a gay male sauna past towel-wrapped clients in the corridor and the cubicles, to an upbeat disco-ish soundtrack. The subject, soon revealed as a slim young Chinese man in a jaunty baseball cap, considers several potential sexual partners and is declined by others, before finally coming to an unspoken agreement with a South Asian man of the same age. In the latter's mirrored cubicle, the two engage in kissing and caressing and then anal intercourse, the seated Chinese man penetrating his partner who is astride his lap. The men's bodies as well as their condom and lubricant are all carefully and graphically shown in close-up operation. Safe sex slogans scroll by in several languages and then the final credits.” (Video Data Bank Catalogue)

“This 1990 videotape, Steam Clean, has a symptomatic place in the videography of Richard Fung, positioned halfway through the nine-work career spanning from 1984 to the present. But it is absent from Fung's own personal curriculum vita, perhaps because it is a commission produced jointly by the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) of New York and the AIDS Committee of Toronto. I start with it, because neither my auteurist training nor my affinity towards social activist documentary allow me to discount commissions, especially those undertaken with community organizations, and also because the growing literature on Fung prefers to canonize the postcolonial queer hybridity of his more complex autobiographical works…” (Thomas Waugh, “Good Clean Fung” in Wide Angle 20.2 (1988)

“A hand-held camera travels through the corridor of a gay sauna, passing cubicles occupied by several hunky towel-draped men-a who’s who of independent film and video (including John Greyson, Colin Campbell and Tim McCaskell). The camera’s point of view is that of a slender young Chinese man sporting a baseball cap. He cruises before finally encountering a South Asian man of similar age and build. There is no dialogue, only the subtle, and not so subtle, crossing gazes. Having confirmed their desire and mutual interest, they enter into a cubicle with a wall mirror. The soundtrack is an electronic rap beat. Beneath bright, pinkish lights, the couple engage in mutual masturbation, oral and anal sex. Steam Clean is a short Public Service Announcement (PSA) originally intended for AIDS education initiatives. (Depending on which side of the bed you get out of, the PSA can represent the best or worst of community video.) Essentially instructive, everything is graphically presented. The stars of the video are a tube of lubricant and a condom package, and by the end of the video they get their close-up as the words, “Fuck safely. Use a condom” appear on the screen in English, Tagalog, Tamil, Vietnamese and Chinese.” (Kyo Maclear)