631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Co-presented with REDCAT Film
Steven Arnold, Luminous Procuress, 16mm, 74min., 1971
A gender-obliterating funfest unleashed by the cantankerous cross-dressing Cockettes, Luminous Procuress is an elusive masterwork of early seventies mystical queer cinema. Restored in an immaculate new print, Luminous Procuress brazenly recounts the passage of two lissome hippie lads who enter a strange mansion where a magic potion promises glimpses of a transformational realm. Led by the mystical “Procuress” (the ever-sculptural Pandora), the two naïfs are privy to a delirious vision of consciousness unbounded by gender or desire. Created in San Francisco’s Mission District by Steven Arnold, Luminous Procuress, an exotic amalgam of outrageous wearable art, oneiric imagery, and erotically charged tableaux, gloriously drags on.
"The film's power is in its creation of an alternative world, a new way of seeing and living that alters experience itself, including the film viewing experience."
—The Staff, Los Angeles
Steven Arnold was an American artist and protege of Salvador Dali, who worked as a filmmaker, photographer, painter, illustrator, set and costume designer, and assemblage artist. Arnold received his BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and was influential in shaping the countercultural psychedelic scene of the city in the 1960's. In March 1968, the creation of Arnold's weekly midnight movie showcases called Nocturnal Dreamshows in San Francisco helped launch The Cockettes, a psychedelic drag troupe into fame. Arnold created some of the first rock posters for the famed Matrix nightclub, which was later credited for originating the "San Francisco sound" of the psychedelic '60s. From 1982-89, Steven Arnold found his niche in Los Angeles, designing and shooting tableau-vivants for four books, leaving thousands of living tableau photographs and negatives unpublished. Deeply influenced by Jungian archetypes, Eastern philosophy, and ancient ritual, Arnold understood visual production as a key to the spiritual and subconscious, depicting alternative worlds with dramatic style and sly humor across numerous mediums. Arnold spoke about his practice of drawing as a means of making visible his dreams and compared his photography to religious meditation.
Restoration courtesy of the Pacific Film Archive