Tearoom is a companion piece to Jones’s video of the same name. A work of appropriation, the video Tearoom is a police surveillance film – presented virtually unaltered – of men having sex in a public rest room in Mansfield, Ohio during a three week period in the summer of 1962. This film, used as evidence in court, led to the conviction of over 30 men on charges of sodomy, which at that time carried a minimum sentence of one year in the state penitentiary.
In the book Tearoom, William E. Jones presents the results of research on these cases and on the production of the surveillance film. The book includes a number of historical texts, as well as two new essays by Jones. Tearoom is extensively illustrated with more than 100 film stills, most of them in color. These stills show men from all walks of life who met for furtive sex under the central square of Mansfield, and who went to jail as the result of a law enforcement sting. Tearoom provides a unique view of the clandestine sexual life of a small Midwestern city at the beginning of the 1960s.