FILM LOVE presents
In the 1970s, San Francisco became an international vanguard of the Gay Liberation movement. In campy, anarchic film and theater works and onscreen explorations of their own sexual experience, gay and lesbian filmmakers in 1970s San Francisco fused politics, sex, and art, and created a body of work that is as radical as it is entertaining. As part of the five-day arts festival Mondo Homo, Film Love presents two nights of rare films from a legendary time and place in queer history.

Part two

THE COCKETTES: Midnight at the Palace
Sunday, May 24, 2009, 7:00 pm
at Eyedrum

part of Mondo Homo

followed by a rare live performance by the legendary Diamond Lil

price: $10, includes all evening events from 7 PM on
OR $50 all-inclusive five-day pass
, available at

THE COCKETTES is co-sponsored by the following organizations and departments at Emory University: American Studies, the office of LGBT Life, Studies in Sexualities, and Women's Studies

Cockettes founder Hibiscus (1971) (photo by Ingeborg Gerdes)

Pansexual, psychedelic, and covered in glitter, the fabulous Cockettes were a cross between hippie commune, radical political theater troupe, and the best secondhand costume department in the world. Only 1970 San Francisco could have produced them. Back in the spotlight as the subject of a celebrated 2002 documentary, the Cockettes' reputation as the anarchic heart of Gay Liberation (and as a fashion influence!) continues to grow.

This program of extremely rare short films (some courtesy the private collection of Cockette archivist Rumi) shows San Francisco’s legendary Cockettes in full anarchic bloom. In Tree, we see the twenty-year-old future Cockettes founder Hibiscus, along with troupe member Rumi Missabu in a naked, comic dance at Land’s End. Palace,
the only known film made during an actual Cockettes performance, documents the backstage and onstage goings-on at the group’s only Halloween show, Les Ghouls.

hilarious and highly politically incorrect Tricia’s Wedding is the Cockettes at their outrageous best. The 1971 White House nuptials of Richard Nixon’s daughter provided perfect satirical fodder for the group. Characters include Mick Jagger, Indira Gandhi, Mamie Eisenhower, and Prince Charles. Disco diva Sylvester portrays both Coretta Scott King and Mahalia Jackson. Eartha Kitt spikes the White House punch with LSD, and the resulting group orgy does not disappoint. Meanwhile, Marxist revolutionaries, along with perverts of various stripes, are skewered with inspired silliness in the political/sexual satire Elevator Girls in Bondage. In her greatest role, Cockette Rumi leads a striking group of hotel workers, "spouting a surreal mix of folk songs and Marxist maxims."

NOTE: This program contains graphic imagery and radical ideas.


Tree, Your Sap Beats Gently Against Mine Brittle Jam (Michael Kalmen, 1969) 19 minutes, super-8mm screened on video
Palace (Syd Dutton and Scott Runyon, 1971) 23 minutes, 16mm  screened on video
Tricia’s Wedding (Sebastian, 1971) 33 minutes, 16mm
Elevator Girls in Bondage (Michael Kalmen, 1972) 56 minutes, 16mm  screened on video

Hurtme O. Hurtme (Sebastian) interviews Jackie Onassis (John McGowan) in Tricia's Wedding (Sebastian, 1971)


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