It was the fall of 1970. Rex Reed and Truman Capote were missed at the opening night post-opera ball of Beverly Sill's Manon. They, along with Mrs. Johnny Carson and Mrs. Sam Spiegel, were squeezing their way through the sold-out crowd at a Chinese movie house in San Francisco, where a group of flamboyant, radical hippies in wigs and petticoats, was about to take the stage for a midnight revue.
"This is the most outrageous thing I have ever seen!" said Truman. And the world agreed. Journalists flocked, to witness first hand, the dazzling curiosities, whose antics and lifestyle were to set the fashion world on its ear and usher in the glitter-rock era. Rolling Stone Magazine was the first to deliver the tidings to a whole generation of kids who teetered on the brink of self-discovery.
Captured on film by some of today's most well known photographers, Annie Leibovitz, Mary Ellen Mark, Robert Altman, Gilles Lorraine and Charles Gatewood, the Cockettes piqued the country's imagination with a new androgynous look, which reached as far away as Paris Match and the European press. Catapulted into a 'media frenzy', the Cockettes skyrocketed to underground stardom.
Midnight at the Palace is set against the psychedelic backdrop of the raging sixties and seventies, a time of intense personal and political evolution. Racial unrest and rioting in the streets over the Vietnam War had set the climate for civil disobedience. LSD was spearheading the golden age of self-exploration, and the Cockettes were on the cutting edge of the counter culture, leading the way for revolutionary changes in sexual identity.
Midnight at the Palace is more than my story. It's a story about an exceptional moment in San Francisco, the outrageous characters that were drawn into it, and the circumstances that catapulted them into the national spotlight. It will go behind the scenes of a remarkable world where reality is completely transformed through glitter, makeup and thrift-store castoffs. A world where people lived their fantasies and their lives just spilled onto the stage and where some very audacious individuals happen to get more than they bargain for.
"What's so marvelous is that they look happy, truly happy," said Vogue Magazine editor Diana Vreeland. "And that's so rare these days, don't you think?"