In the documentary “The Cockettes” we are taken back to San Francisco in the 1970’s to learn about a theatre group who defied all of the odds and the conventions of society. They all lived together in a commune and they were gay, straight, bi, men, women, whites, blacks etc and they were wonderful. They put on shows that criticized everything and they were mean, sexual, vicious, hilarious and very, very smart. The documentary looks at them—those entertainers that have been unjustly forgotten. The movie will raise your spirits and how you a world most of us did not have the chance to know. Here is acid-trip theatre performed by an outlandish cast of characters who had a lot to do with opening the doors for freedom of expression. Without these characters around today, we are experiencing a great sense of loss—even if we weren’t around to appreciate The Cockettes.
The film is an inspiration and even if you have no interest in hippies or drag queens, this is a film you will enjoy. The members of The Cockettes wanted to be stars and therefore they got dressed up in ridiculous outfits, dropped acid regularly and put on “shows” about whatever was of interest to them. They were crazies, had unbridled idealism and were articulate.
Habiscus was their leader. His first brush with fame when he stuck a flower in the barrel of the rifle of a member of the National Guard. He was an enigma in every sense of the word (he has been dead some twenty odd years now). He had a vision but that kind of vision could not be brought to the stage.
Try to imagine that you were told about a wonderful party—that is how you will feel when you se this film. You will just wish you had actually been able to go. The drag and hippie shows of The Cockettes were sensational and are an interesting look at life at that time. The vintage footage of the actual events is amazing. The Cockettes were the single group to bring n the ideas of gender bending and transgressive art. In fact what they really did was little more than have a good time and I had a good time watching them enjoy themselves.
Whether The Cockettes played a part in the gay sexual revolution has not been decided yet. There was then and still is nothing to compare to them. They had great times and it is fun to see them enjoying themselves. This s definitely a movie to see, even if you have no idea of who The Cockettes are. What a wonderful stroll down nostalgia lane.