A night on the edge of forever: The art of midnight films, free theater and the psychedelic Underground San Francisco 1969-1973
Guest curated by Steve Terry
Guest Curator Steve Terry is a collector and editor, and the publisher of Wild Life Press, which specializes in limited edition books, printed matter and audio releases. For this exhibition, Terry presents posters, flyers, artworks, photographs, and books related to a group of artists, filmmakers, and performers who were active in the San Francisco avant-garde of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Centering on the activities of Steven Arnold, Todd Trexler, The Cockettes, Sylvester, and the Angels of Light, the selection documents creative fertility amid the protest movements, utopian communities, and experimental counterculture of the mid- 20th century. Within a larger context of social and political history, these materials also record a period in the Bay Area where an increasingly liberated gay movement started to raise consciousness and attain mass awareness. A primary focus is on the “Nocturnal Dream Shows,” pioneering weekly showcases at the Palace Theater. These shows brought together a heady mix of midnight movies, radical theater, and pansexual anarchy that featured the first public performance by The Cockettes, early solo performances from Sylvester, and West Coast premieres of now classic counterculture movies. Additionally, the presentation highlights the evolution of the aforementioned artists connected to the “Nocturnal Dream Shows,” bringing to light their work leading up to and following the events at the Palace Theater to provide a wider scope of the scene at large.
Images by Maya Heilman-Hall