During the waning days of 1967, I heard rumors of strange goings on in North Beach at the old Columbus Theater out on Columbus Avenue near Union Street. In the 60s the theater was showing Chinese movies. A friend told me about having seen an item in Herb Caen’s, San Francisco Chronicle column, about a group calling themselves the Cockettes, who were holding midnight programs consisting of fashion shows, and ‘Campfire’ skits, along with general all around craziness. The shows were all informal on the spot creations based on someone’s whim du jour that lasted till dawn. When I first met some of the cast, I was surprised to see what I thought were women wearing satin and jeweled gowns cut to their butts, hairy arms and backs, and sporting beards. I was able to convince one rendition of the company to pose for me assembled on a cable car.
The Cockettes lasted together as a group, for several weeks, in the bay area, then drifted off, turning up again in New York at the end of the decade.
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