Remember Your Cockettes

It’s hard to believe that just forty years ago the Cockettes -- a wild and woolly band of San Francisco drag miscreants -- were dropping acid and putting on their infamous psychedelic variety shows at the Palace Theatre in North Beach. Their louche legacy lives on through documentaries, the recent revival of Pearls Over Shanghai, and a few rare films, which come out of their vaults for some anniversarial action at "The Cockettes on Film, at 40!" Experience the ramshackle glory of early 1970s gems like Tricia’s Wedding -- a spoof of the White House nuptials between Tricia Nixon and Eddie Cox (with local legend Sylvester playing Coretta Scott King!), which goes awry when Eartha Kitt spikes the punch with LSD, prompting an orgy and a scene in which Mahalia Jackson cracks a bullwhip. Elevator Girls in Bondage is about, of course, the revolt of four elevator girls against their employer; indiscriminate sexual mayhem ensues. Cockettes members and friends are on hand to introduce the movies and talk about their time with the anarchic troupe. Later in the evening, the celebration carries on at Café du Nord with a special edition of the bi-coastal cabaret Tingel Tangel Club, hosted by Justin Bond and featuring performances by glittery dance troupe the Pixie Harlots, Rumi of the Cockettes, and a handful of hometown heroines like Veronica Klaus and Donna Persona. Lady Miss Kier DJs, and a spirit of lawlessness reigns supreme.
Thu., Dec. 3, 7 p.m., 2009

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