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PRIDE! Steven Arnold, The Cockettes, Dali, Wiese, Gerdes, Hearne, Jepson

Celebrating June PRIDE

[Steven Arnold, self-portrait, ‘83; flyer for Messages, Messages; filming Messages,.. photo by Dennis Hearne; Arnold directing The Cockettes in Luminous Procuress]

Steven Arnold was a filmmaker, photographer, set and costume designer, assemblage artist, and protégé of Salvador Dali.  He arrived at SFAI in the spring of 1961, where he studied filmmaking.  When Arnold and collaborator Michael Wiese finished their final BFA film, Messages, Messages in 1968, they rented the Pagoda Palace Theatre in North Beach for its premier. Afterwards, Arnold began hosting a series of weekly midnight screenings, the “Nocturnal Dreamshows,” at the Pagoda (now condos), which also became showcases for the underground psychedelic drag theater troupe The Cockettes.

Arnold’s MFA film Luminous Procuress featuring the Cockettes, with a soundtrack by Walter Jepson, and still photography by Ingeborg Gerdes, premiered at the SF International Film Festival where it won the 1972 New Director’s Award and then was screened at the Whitney Museum of Art. Arnold died of AIDS in 1994. 

 And for a link to the Steven Arnold Archives:

 And for info about, and the film, Luminous Procuress

With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.


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