Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Must Watch: "Sticks and Stones: Bambi Lake" Documentary

Director/Filmmaker/Musician Silas Howard's latest documentary covers the mesmerizing life of of Bambi Lake, a landmark transsexual punk rocker from San Francisco’s fringe art scene. Howard’s documentary has Lake herself recount the story of a young woman who winds up in the midst of a red light district lifestyle in San Francisco and somehow found her ways on stage opening for David Bowie. The 15-minute film touches upon the early, pre-AIDS epidemic queer scene filled with promiscuity and hustling that Bambi called home.

From the official description:
“Every street has a story.” Sticks & Stones is an intimate documentary about a song, a street, and a diva. Bambi Lake, a notorious San Francisco transgender performer and entertainer, takes us on a stroll down Polk Street, sharing anecdotes and the history behind her song "Golden Age of Hustlers," which was written about her time as a street hustler in the mid-70’s. She landed on Polk Street after a stint with the Cockettes and prior to regular gigs at renowned 80s/90spunk venue, the Mabuhey Gardens.
Honestly, I was in awe of the stories of hanging out with Bowie and Iggy Pop in Europe. The insane list of lovers, friends, and mentors, some in the punk scene, some not, includes Henry Rollins from his Black Flag days, Exene Cervenka from X, The Stranglers, Ginger Coyote, and so many more.  But more touching are the tales of being a stripper, friends passing away, homelessness, transgender struggles, and now being banned from some of the bars and clubs that she loves.

In the interview with Pitchfork, Silas Howard talks about his involvement with the early San Francisco queer community and his role as a guitarist in the queer punk band Tribe 8. When asked about his first time meeting Bambi, Howard said, “I went to the gay pride parade and all of a sudden there was this commotion on the sidelines and there was this tow truck pulling a fake cop car, and it was surrounded by all these punks and drag queens with baseball bats and high heel shoes smashing the cop car. And then in front of it it said "NO APOLOGIES, NO REGRETS." It was this really wild, good-looking, sexy, performative group of people that were very irreverent. The humor was really gallows humor. For myself, I was 18, and knew "that’s my people."

Silas Howard has been named the first Trans director of Jill Soloway’s original Golden Globe winning and Emmy winning series Transparent. He is also known for directing Hudson Valley Ballers, award winning, Sundance premiered By Hook or By Crook, SXSW-premiered Sunset Stories, and is currently working on a musical film for legendary artist Peaches.

Sticks & Stones is totally worth fifteen minutes of your time. Watch below.

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