Pat Rocco copy

Born in Brooklyn on February 9, 1934, Pasquale Vincent Serrapica relocated to California with his family in the ‘40s. A childhood love of singing led to his first career onstage, touring the country with Marge and Gower Champion and appearing on The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. Also during this period, Rocco began to photograph theatrical performances.

Beginning in 1967, when he answered an ad to shoot still photographs of nude male models, Rocco found another calling, and under his Bizarre Production moniker sold photographs and short non-explicit erotic motion pictures by mail order. In that free-love era, the Park Theater near McArthur Park put his work on the bill alongside others of gay interest.

After those initial showings, Rocco later added Bizarre News Films to his programs, capturing local protests and interviews on the emerging gay rights movement. His positive depictions of gay intimacy on film lasted through both the 8mm and 16mm eras, but in the late ‘70s he stopped altogether when “it all became porn” and Bizarre folded. Rocco continued to photograph events and protests in Southern California for a number of gay newspapers. Cognizant of the needs of the LGBT community, Rocco branded his own emergency housing program, Hudson House, that rewarded industry, provided meals, and later added job training

He would go on to create L.A.’s gay Pride and was the first president of Christopher Street West, repeating the effort recently in Hawaii, where he and David Kirk, his lover of 43 years, now live in semi-retirement. “It was exceptional to create Pride, and where it has gone is not my deal,” Rocco reflects.

Pat Rocco