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.
on 22 May 2013
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"