The most shocking thing about Tranny Fest, the "Transgender and Transgenre Cinema" daylong program of videos and films, is that it's the first such event in San Francisco rather than the 10th or 20th. Still, when the apparently female Chea, in Elsie Hurwitz and Christopher Lee's Trappings of Transhood (1997; screening on the 3 p.m. program), says, "I'm a meat-and-potatoes type of guy. I like to fuck ... I like a nice blow job," it's clear we're kneepad-deep in transgressive territory. This notion is nicely elaborated on in Machiko Saito's Premenstrual Spotting (1997; 9 p.m.), which manages to distill Frank Sinatra, nude performance art, and unsettling memories of her family's gender fascism into a scintillating video diary. Local Latin legend Teresita La Campesina, a sort of drag Luca Villa, is touchingly portrayed in La Tina's Wanted Alive (1997; 3 p.m.). Moving far beyond our borders is Kim Longinotto's Dream Girls (1993; 1 p.m.), about a school in Japan that trains girls to play both male and female parts in stylized romantic melodramas. Japanese matrons who flock to these events show the thrill of "gender chaos" is quite visceral: "I felt an electric shock from head to toe!" The drag/tranny as brave pioneer is a thread throughout this festival. In Susan Aikin and Carlos Aparicio's The Salt Mines (1990; 7 p.m.), homeless, drug-addicted transvestite Giovana's insistence on living authentically helps her survive a seemingly impossible life: "I'm a transvestite to the end."
-- Gary Morris
Tranny Fest will be held Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Roxie, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia). There are separate programs at 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 p.m. Tickets are $7.50, save for the 1 p.m. show, which is $4. There's also a free "video lounge," from noon to 5 p.m. at the Proyecto ContraSIDA por Vida, 2973 16th St. (at Mission). Call 552-4249 or see members.aol.com/trannyfest on the Web for more information.