The Cockettes


Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Bill Weber, David Weissman, Roger Klorese, Marsha Kahm, Bill Weber, Richard


It is the end of a decade, New Year's Even 1969. at the Palace Theater in San Francisco's North Beach, a ragtag bunch of hippies take the stage. Kicking up their heels to a Rolling Stones song, they wow the crowd with their mix of flamboyant garb, nudity, and gender ambiguity, and when the bearded "chorus girls" lift frilly gowns to reveal glittering genitalia, the Cockettes have made the scene.

During the next three years, the Cockettes create 20 shows and are featured in 4 films. With play titles like tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma and Pearls over Shanghai, the Cockettes make and indelible mark on popular culture. When Rex Reed writes a glowing review calling their performance "a landmark in the history of new, liberated theater," the Cockettes become national medial darlings and are off to the big apples.

The Cockettes begins with the star-studded New York opening night, then jumps back in time to experience firsthand the energy of these escapees from middle-class America. With incredible craft, directors Bill Weber and David Weissman have painstakingly gleaned and layered together amazing archival footage and linked it with interviews from those still living to capture not just a history of the Cockettes, but their essence. Those who remember may suffer a touch of nostalgia, but for the rest it is a remarkable time capsule. Representing a moment you won't see in the history books, the Cockettes is a gif full of remembrances of the combined spirits that lit the way for the glitter rock era to come.


John Cooper (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.