Macho Man: The Disco Era and Gay America's "Coming Out"

Macho Man: The Disco Era and Gay America's "Coming Out"

Macho Man: The Disco Era and Gay America's "Coming Out"

Macho Man: The Disco Era and Gay America's "Coming Out"


Travel back with one of the first gay icons in popular music, and a top pop culture biographer, as they describe the emergence of gay culture in the United States of the late 1970s.


Welcome to our first book together. For four decades now, the two of us have been best friends, one-time roommates, business partners, and close confidantes to one another. We were born just 10 days apart and have shared in a countless number of experiences. We were both seniors in high school when the year 1969 ushered in Woodstock and the famed Stonewall riots. Randy is from North Carolina, and Mark is from Michigan. We were both college educated in our respective states, and both of us had a strong interest in show business and the entertainment world. We both studied theater, and each of us felt the magnetic pull that the excitement of living in Manhattan had to us.

Separately, we both gravitated to New York City in the early 1970s to pursue our careers. Randy’s field of expertise was in dance and acting. His focus in Manhattan drove him to dance with the famed Agnes DeMille dance company and to audition as an actor in theatrical productions. Mark wasn’t sure if he wanted to be an actor, a writer, or a broadcast journalist, so he pursued all three career aspirations. Both of us knew that we wanted to have something to do with show business, and we were each open to all sorts of opportunities and pursuits in the city. Ironically, before we met each other we both ended up as male models in the largely gay-oriented magazine, After Dark.

One of Randy’s first and most high-profile jobs in the entertainment business was as one of the male dancers in disco star Grace Jones’ act. (Although Grace and Randy have the same last name, they are unrelated.) With Grace, Randy traveled around America, where they performed in several of the top discotheques in the country. This was the perfect way for Randy to become acquainted with disco audiences and working on a road show. It was the perfect precursor to the global touring he would later do with the Village People show.

Mark, on the other hand, landed his first job in the publishing business, which came after he answered a want ad in The New York Times. The position that Bego successfully landed was as a “Guy . . .

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