Born in Long Beach in 1941 and raised all over the state of California, Fred Halsted rarely left his adopted city of Los Angeles. Capturing the city as few other films could, L.A. Plays Itself (1972), Halsted’s first film, has come to be regarded as a classic within the genre of gay porn. It looks more like an experimental film than a porno, and, in its time, it garnered Halsted the kind of celebrity that simply isn’t possible today. Halsted never held a regular job; he didn’t teach; he had no gallery representation; he had no agent; he didn’t shoot commercials or advertising campaigns; he didn’t even have a social security number. He made films and performed in them, published a magazine (Package), ran a sex club (Halsted’s), and, for a while at least, kept all of these ventures afloat.
During the ’70s, Halsted also directed the remarkable short Sex Garage (1972) and an attempt at crossover success, Sextool (1975). He gave provocative interviews in a wide range of publications and wrote a small but fascinating body of erotic stories. The apogee of Halsted’s unprecedented career came when he presented his films at the Museum of Modern Art, which acquired prints of them for its permanent collection.
(Biography from Artforum and Brightlightsfilm)