Sylvester and the Cockettes
While I'm in nostalgia mode, I'll deal with a newspaper clipping that's been cluttering up my desk since last month. On March 10 in the SF Chronicle, Joel Selvin reviewed a biography of Sylvester, star of what he called "the pansexual post-hippie troupe, the Cockettes." In 1970, a friend of a friend was a member of the Cockettes, and I got backstage before one of their shows at the old Palace Theater in North Beach. It was the only time I saw Sylvester perform, and it was unforgettable: he came out in full drag and sang a stirring rendition of the Mickey Mouse Club song to a large, appreciative audience. The show also featured the classic blue movie, Betty Blowjob, which was also well-received.
The Palace Theater was owned by a Chinese family, and, sure enough, several generations of the family, including children and old folks, were standing behind the last row of seats, eating popcorn and taking in the free show, a magic moment in the history of multiculturalism.