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  • Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria
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Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria


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Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria + Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin + American Experience: Stonewall Uprising
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Product Details

  • Directors: Susan Stryker, Victor Silverman
  • Writers: Susan Stryker, Victor Silverman
  • Producers: Susan Stryker, Victor Silverman Jack Walsh
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: Frameline
  • DVD Release Date: April 13, 2010
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003H05VUY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,089 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Emmy Award-winning Screaming Queens tells the little-known story of the first known act of collective, violent resistance to the social oppression of queer people in the United States - a 1966 riot in San Francisco's impoverished Tenderloin neighborhood, three years before the famous gay riot at New York's Stonewall Inn.

Screaming Queens introduces viewers to street queens, cops and activist civil rights ministers who recall the riot and paint a vivid portrait of the wild transgender scene in 1960s San Francisco. Integrating the riot's story into the broader fabric of American life, the documentary connects the event to urban renewal, anti-war activism, civil rights and sexual liberation. With enticing archival footage and period music, this unknown story is dramatically brought back to life.

Screaming Queens is a production of Victor Silverman and Susan Stryker produced in association with ITVS and KQED, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Customer Reviews

Always nice to learn more of our gay history...
DRB
The documentary features real footage from the 1960s and interviews with the last surviving trannies who witnessed real history take place.
Michael Thomas Angelo
This documentary is very well made as it is informative.
Rudy Del Cid

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Thomas Angelo on October 4, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I live in San Francisco's Tenderloin, the neighborhood featured in this documentary and pass by the corner of Turk and Taylor where the riots took place nearly every day. I always stop and pay respects and homage to the events that took place there and those that came before me so that I may live free today. There is no evidence of the revolutionary riots that kickstarted the modern gay rights movement in the city. The events featured in this film predated the Stonewall riots by 3 years but is seldom or never recognized. Stonewall and the New York queers get all the credit for the outburst that made history but some tired-on-their feet working "girls" of the Tenderloin in San Francisco were pushed beyond their limit on a hot August night in 1966 when cops raided Compton's Cafeteria and started harrassing the transgender girls for their self-expression. Dressing across your gender was against the law and grounds for arrest which meant that queens could go to jail for wearing mascara. If you're gay in the US, you are conditioned to revere Stonewall but how many knew about Compton's before seeing this film? That area of the Tenderloin was decimated and completely changed by the crack epidemic of the 1980s and the gay presence made up by the marginalized trannies and queer rebel youth of Vanguard filtered away. The Aunt Charlie's drag dive bar is one of the oldest in the city and still sits across the street from the Compton's site but other than that the area is devoid of queerness. The Bulldog Bathhouse is a few doors down from the former Comptons's site but is a private residence today reconditioned as a live-work loft.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fizzcan on August 26, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This film has pretty low production quality but the content is great and very informative. I strongly suggest taking the time to check it out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BayBoyCA on November 29, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
The "riot" portion of the film lasted all but a minute or so, not much really and not really a riot by today's standards either. The film, in my belief, would be better described as a documentary about the rights of transsexuals in 1960's San Francisco. Low budget but definitely informative and contains a bevy of neat vintage footage of drag queens and transsexuals, both in video and photograph form. Since there is not a whole lot in the way of gay documentaries from that era, I think it is a must see for any homosexual person interested in gay civil rights from days past.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laura Reed on February 9, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I recommend this documentary to anyone interested in broadening their knowledge of queer history. The Compton's Cafeteria Riot was an important first step in queer activism, and yet gets forgotten in favor of the more famous Stonewall riots. This documentary does a fantastic job of explaining the culture and mood of the Tenderloin before and after the 1966 riot, with a great mix of testimonials by people who were there at the time and additional context. I was particularly impressed with the frank and respectful way that this film dealt with prostitution and police brutality.

My students and I very much enjoyed watching Screaming Queens, and we all learned a lot.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. S. Sinclair on March 2, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I had never heard of this riot, and am glad I have another piece of history related to gays during the 20th century. This puts the Stonewall riots in perspective.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DRB on February 7, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Learned a lot about the West Coast uprising similar to Stonewall Inn. I didn't even know that this happened. Good historical record of an event that helped us reach the point we are at today. Always nice to learn more of our gay history...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blithedale on June 7, 2013
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I'm not sure a general audience would find it as interesting, but if you're a modern history or LGBT history buff I think you'll find a lot you didn't already know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Benham on May 17, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
An important side of civil rights progress that is not included often enough. A story and turning point that is well told, touching, enjoyable.
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