dhmason6155, oh yeah absolutely, I agree with you in both examples. There was no other possible reason to have Rodriguez immediately drop everything and go upstairs right after that guy. And if one didn't get it with that scene, then the robber looking at the muscle magazine clinched it ("Physique Pictorial", anyone?). What did it MEAN? Well, I would say (based on mid-60s views when homosexuality was almost an unmentionable), that this simply added to the absolute depravity of it all. Every single thing that could be awful or sick about life was depicted in that Harlem hell world. They even had "La Cage Au Folles" transvestites as entertainment in that club. Funny how just four years later, a routine police raid and bust of Stonewall, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, led to a drag-queen riot and the birth of the gay liberation movement. But, back to Mr. Nazerman, the life that surrounded him was anything but sweet children innocently chasing butterflies during a family picnic by the lake.
Hmm... I interpreted it a little differently than those above. To me, all the characters were outsiders, all deviants from the norm (not necessarily 'deviants' in the pejorative sense)-- the interracial couple, the transvestite dancer, the fact that none of the characters were white, or part of the majority (which, really for 1964, was incredibly revolutionary). All the characters seemed to be struggling against stereotype, or create their own way. Not to deny, or ignore, homophobia in the '60s, but I saw the homosexual subtext furthering the outsider.
I don't hate people. I just like it a lot better when they're not around.
But both the fact that all the instances of homosexuality were stood parallel to (ruthless) criminality is not a mistake. It was too common a trope up until recent times for me to see it as anything but another example in a long list. And it's unfortunate.
Merry X-mas! All that makes sense. Gay men back then were treated as social deviants and misfits, just like nazi-era jews. Nazerman is still an outsider in a world of outsiders (Harlem), because, most importantly, he's still an outsider in his mind. A prison of his own making.
And, I'm sorry, but body-building magazines back then (like "Physical Culture") were well known to cater to the gay demographic.
"I have to pee"
"There'll be plenty of time to pee in Heaven"
"There's peeing in Heaven?"