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The Cockettes [DVD] [2002]

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Rent The Cockettes on DVD from LOVEFiLM By Post

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Product details

  • Actors: Larry Brinkin, Peggy Cass, Pristine Condition, Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling
  • Directors: Bill Weber, David Weissman
  • Producers: David Weissman, Robert Croonquist, Roger Klorese
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 26 July 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000284A5Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,120 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Founded on New Year's Eve, 1969 by George Harris, aka 'Hibiscus', the Cockettes were a troupe of flamboyant hippy drag performers who took San Francisco by storm. Over the next two and a half years they created 20 outrageous and colourful shows (with titles like 'A Crab on Uranus Means You're Loved') and several films, culminating in an off-Broadway show that highlighted the cultural chasm at that time between America's East and West coasts. In this documentary tribute, ex-Cockettes and friends tell the story of those LSD-fuelled, gender-bending party days, interspersed with footage of the Cockettes in action and a commentary on the cultural impact the pioneering performers had at the time and in the years that followed, including the subsequent emergence of glam rock and the influence on artists such as David Bowie.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kaio on 22 Feb 2005
Format: DVD
if u think that decadence is a way of living...well...this is for you...mystically inspiring and gloriously outrageous.....divine!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 Feb 2012
Format: DVD
The Cockettes were a group of theatrical performers between '69 and '72 in San Francisco who lived in communes and dressed in outrageous clothes, and lived a total fantasy life ... and for all too brief a time, it seemed, they really did live out a kind of utopian dream, appearing onstage in various shows that were very amateurish but must have been a lot of fun to put on. Their shows had names like Pearls over Shanghai and Journey to the centre of Uranus, they were involved with John Waters and Divine, and Sylvester, and one of their founders, Hibiscus, had a completely fantastic look, really beyond all imagining ... But they were all beautiful, I think, and the footage, some of it in slow-motion, really brings this out. They also got involved in film projects with names like Elevator Girls in Bondage. It is sad that such gentle, gender-bending high spirits would not be possible today, at least it would have a very different feel, far less soulful. The documentary is worth watching for the outfits alone, but it is salutary to see how well many of the former members of the group have borne up all these years later; the same spirit is there in their interviews which are so full of life, they seem like the living proof that the lifestyle had a lot going for it! Of course most of them look more 'normal' now, but in the nicest possible way! Their anecdotes are well worth hearing and the whole thing is quite sensational, to be revisited from time to time when modern life seems all too hard-edged.
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By Phil on 22 May 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had heard of the Cockettes but never thought I would be totally blown away by their creativity.
This film is lovingly made and shows the real story behing this colourful truly creative troupe of people.
These people were wild and free. Some survived some not.
Yes these people used drugs, but the creation and unsurpassed creativity that it spawned was never to be seen again.
I totally agree with the words spoken by their manager : "I wouldn't want to have missed this for all the money in the world"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
a moving view of an amazing period in US history 13 Mar 2005
By C. Harbison - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
beautifully constructed of original 1960/70s footage and modern day reminiscences--great scenes and great, as well as realistic, view of hippie life and dreams--honestly showing the transformation that commercialization brought to a clearly doomed utopian experiment. If you were there, this is a great memory piece; if you weren't there, this might help you understand the power of that transforming time.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Capturing Magic! 23 Jan 2005
By Paulette Kenyon - Published on
Format: DVD
I lived down the street from the Palace Theater in the early 70's and had a chance to see the Cockettes. They were, as the film shows vividly, fabulous! The clothes, the makeup, the in-your-face nonconformity! America has become so bland now in comparison. I love the music in the film, the silent movie quality, and the way they pop back and forth between the survivors and their remembrances. It's visually interesting and the characters draw you into their magical world. They may demonize welfare moms now, but, welfare did give the mentally disabled something creative to do with their time back in the 70's. This is proof positive. Much better than pushing a shopping cart and mumbling, I should say.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Inspirational! 2 Aug 2005
By IDLF - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have played this movie at least three times a week since purchasing it. I never tire of it. It gives me inspiration to go out and face an excruciatingly dull and dreary world--even without dropping acid!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Complete Surprise 17 Jun 2003
By Barker333 - Published on
Format: DVD
As a result of purchasing a used video at a local chain, I saw the preview of this title on the video. Even though I was a young adult at the time, this documentary was a total surprise to me. I knew nothing about this subject, nor had I ever heard any reference to it. Of course I had heard of the "Hippies" and what San Francisco was like at the time.
The interviews with participants, while making this film years later, was fascinating. One can see the devastating result of drugs and AIDS on some of the participants.
I certainly thought it was interesting and very well done. I highly recommend it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A portrait of historic Americana, like it or not 15 April 2011
By SiggyRomberg - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Cockettes were an in-your-face, hippie, drug-and-drag theatrical collective. There was nothing too outrageous or offensive that they wouldn't do. They existed for a very brief time in San Francisco but while they existed they became a local legend. We flocked to their midnight shows at the Palace Theatre in North Beach. Their performances made it possible for many later mainstream performers to present exuberant and outrageous shows. Without the Cockettes, John Waters would probably have been simply a strange little man in Baltimore, Ziggy Stardust would never have become a rock persona, Bette Midler would never have become the divine Miss M, and Divine would probably have just been an overweight Baltimore transvestite named Harris Glenn Milstead, instead of an underground legend.

This video should be required viewing for every student of contemporary American history, although it's guaranteed to turn conservative's hair white. For that reason alone it should be preserved as a cultural artifact in what has become a drab and dreary country.

Those were the days ...
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