A Century of Drag Cinema - Fri. Aug. 26th - 8PM

Oddball films presents A Century of Drag Cinema, a night of 16mm film shorts from the 1910s-1970s demonstrating the progression of drag in film from a mere comedy gag to a transgressive movement. Drag got its start in pictures early on as a typical comedy gag with most of the major comedy stars of the day cross-dressing for laughs. See Charlie Chaplin in one of the earliest uses of drag in film, as he shaves his trademark mustache and dons a lovely frock to get a part in a film in the Keystone silent comedy The Female Impersonator AKA The Masquerader (1914). Gender bending is the norm in the imagined future of Hal Roach's What's the World Coming To? (1926). Amour Pour Une Femme (1950) is a quick stag-gag, with a dressing room full of lovely ladies, but they may not all really be ladies. Bugs and Daffy get into semantics and Bugs slips into ladies' clothes in one of the best Bugs Bunny shorts, Chuck Jones' Rabbit Seasoning (1952). Woody Woodpecker uses drag to get back at a horny landlord, then eats him out of house and home in Chew Chew Baby (1945). As homosexuality and gender-transgression began to come more into public view, drag became a counter-cultural movement and began to reflect the real demographic of gender-benders. The camptastic Sinderella (1962) retells an age-old fairy tale with a cross-dressing twist for a new generation. The frank and entertaining documentary Black Cap Drag (1969) takes an in-depth look at two British drag performers in 1960s London as they discuss their lives and careers and sing a few Barbra and Marlene numbers along the way. Experimental filmmaker Coni Beeson gives us an intimate and poetic look at Drag (1970). With incredible costumery in the 1969 Halloween Show at the Levee from our very own San Francisco, drag legend Charles Pierce performs his own unique brand of comedy and music from The Charles Pierce Review (1969), a snippet of dragged up Homoerotica (1970s), and tons of other dragalicious bonuses! Early birds will be treated to the unaired, unsold pilot for the TV show Some Like it Hot (1961) with Tina Louise in Marilyn's role.  Empowering and entertaining, you'll want this night to drag on forever! Everything screened on 16mm film with silent prints courtesy of the Jenni Olson Queer Film Archive.

Date: Friday, August 26th, 2016 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco (map)
Admission: $10.00 - Limited Seating RSVP to RSVP@oddballfilms.com or (415) 558-8117
Web: http://oddballfilms.blogspot.com/

"You're born naked, the rest is Drag"
-Ru Paul Charles

Highlights Include:

The Masquerader AKA The Female Impersonator (B+W, 1914)
One of the earliest instances of drag in film. A Keystone Comedy written and directed by Charlie Chaplin and produced by Mack Sennett over a hundred years ago, also starring disgraced silent star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.  A film director hires Chaplin in an acting role for his film. Chaplin ruins several takes and gets kicked off the set.  He returns the next day in full drag and wins over the director with his beauty and coquettishness. 
Print courtesy of the Jenni Olson Queer Film Archive.

What's the World Coming To? (1926, B+W) Watch these gender-bending screwballs in this rare slapstick short by Hal Roach. In the future deliveries are made by blimp while men dress like women and women like men. Watch them marry in this gender bending screwball short!
Print courtesy of the Jenni Olson Queer Film Archive.

Sinderella (B+W & Color, 1962) 
This amateur film produced by "Lorelei" is a faithful reenactment of the Brother's Grimm Cinderella.. except with a handful of lovely drag queens playing all the parts. A rare document of the San Francisco drag scene in the early 60s, this gem is like a long-lost step sister to Jack Smith's  Flaming Creatures. Don't miss the amazingly cheezy production values, awesome wigs, and high-handed bitch slapping that blows Disney right out of the water. Poor Sinderella's hair gets a fabulous makeover when she's transformed!  In B+W and color.

Chew Chew Baby (B+W, 1945)
The infamously notorious and annoying Woody Woodpecker manages to get himself evicted from a boarding house run by proprietor Wally Walrus. Later lonely Wally runs an ad in the local newspaper looking for a sweetheart. Woody shows up in drag at Wally's place and eats him out of house and home! A laugh riot!

Amour Pour Un Femme (B+W, 1950) 
This burlesque-like comedy short reveals a lesbian encounter with another woman in the nightclub dressing room is less lesbian than it seems!

Black Cap Drag (Color, 1969)
It's London, 1969 and the world is in full groovy swing.  At the New Black Cap in Camden, two performers steal the show, and reveal themselves and their stories to the viewer.  Full of heart as well as humor, fun and fabulousness, Black Cap Drag is a remarkable and rare document of two men who can't wait to get dressed like Barbra Streisand and Marlene Dietrich.  One of the first queer safe spaces in England - at a time when homosexuality was still illegal - the Black Cap recently closed its doors after five decades, as its building is sleighted for development, prompting protestors to rally for the iconic venue. A tribute to the dearly departed night club will be held in August at a BFI retrospective featuring a screening of this film, digitally transferred and provided by Oddball Films (we will be watching the original 16mm print)

Rabbit Seasoning (Color, 1952)
Daffy Duck tries to match wits with Bugs Bunny as they debate whether it’s rabbit hunting season or duck hunting season.  Elmer Fudd is totally witless in the exchange, especially when Bugs employs some tried-and-true cross-dressing to throw the hunter off his trail.

Drag (B+W, 1970)
A poetic film by sexperimental maven Coni Beeson. In a small bedroom, a pair of legs puts on tights.  Then we see the torso and the head of a man buttoning up a striped dress.  A second man gets into a dress.  The first man talks into the camera motioning around his face.  The men help each other to put on high heels and lipstick.  They dance together and one man wrestles the other onto the bed.  

Plus!  Tons of Vintage San Francisco Footage and a few more fabulous surprises!

For the Early Birds:

Some Like It Hot
 (b+w, 1961)  

Super rare TV pilot (un-sold and un-aired) attempted to franchise the all time classic Billy Wilder film as a weekly program.  Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis appear at the opening before undergoing plastic surgery (the mob is still after them), re-emerging as “look-alikes” Vic Damone and Dick Patterson.  For some reason, they continue to dress in drag and play with the all-girl band… Tina Louise (of Gilligan’s Isle fame) replaces Marylin Monroe and a bit part by George “I wish my brother George was here” Liberace.

Curator’s Biography
Kat Shuchter is a graduate of UC Berkeley in Film Studies. She is a filmmaker, artist and esoteric film hoarder. She has helped program shows at the PFA, The Nuart and Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater and was crowned “Found Footage Queen” of Los Angeles, 2009. She has programmed over 250 shows at Oddball on everything from puberty primers to experimental animation.
About Oddball Films

Oddball Films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like The Nice Guys and Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Transparent and Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.