Tranny Fest '98
San Francisco is the land of the niche film festival, and the Tranny Fest must be one of the niche-iest. Now in its fourth year, this daylong event celebrates drag kings and queens, transsexuals, intersexuals, and more subtly delineated genders in film, video, and panel discussions. Some of the filmed works have been screened elsewhere, but the Victoria Theater is an especially cozy venue for images that haven't had much exposure outside trash TV or the appendices of old medical texts: Sci-fi fans especially will welcome Hans Scheirl's video feature Dandy Dust, about a "cyborg of fluid gender who crash lands on the planet 3075." And those who find butch-femme roles limiting should enjoy Soshana Rosenfeld's warm interview documentary Scent uVa Butch, which presents a dizzying array of options for with-it lesbians, including the rarely sighted "nelly faggot butch." Far more lurid are Del La Grace Volcano's Pansexual Public Porn and festival co-director Christopher Lee's Alley of the Tranny Boys, hard-core homages to the ever-evolving bodies and S/M theatrics of some transitioning female-to-male trannies. Some of the works here -- the hilarious An Adventure in Tucking With Jeanne B., about one queen's struggle with some ill-placed Scotch tape, and the eulogizing Remembrance -- are clearly aimed at the community the festival addresses. But some pieces work equally well in or out of the tranny film ghetto -- the 1968 Japanese camp classic Black Lizard, for example, and Susana Aikin and Carlos Aparicio's bookend documentaries The Transformation and Documentary of Ricardo: one a punishing study of homeless trannies living in a New York dump and the other a record of the dire results of some Christian fundamentalists' attempts to "reclaim" a transsexual's soul.