Madams of the Barbary Coast
"Madams of the Barbary Coast" is an award winning documentary about the struggles, contributions, and triumphs of the Madams and courtesans who settled the dangerous Barbary Coast of San Francisco during the gold rush days...and about the women who tried to help them.
Recently featured as part of San Francisco's PBS "Women's History Month," Madams of the Barbary Coast explores the relationships and vital roles these fascinating women played in all stratus of San Francisco's society. Outnumbered by men fifty to one, these women pioneers came from a diversity of cultures- Chinese, Black, Asian, Latin American, and European; and faced adversity in immigration, religion, poverty, and basic civil rights. And yet some of them still achieved unprecedented success, fortune and fame. Using rare archival photographs, location footage, and interviews with historians, writers, clergy, and sex educators, the documentary examines the women's many cultural and social contributions to the settlement of a violent, uncivilized West. Told through a series of poignant and touching stories, the film uncovers this forgotten yet important part of women's history, and how these women helped bring culture, passion, and a vestige of civilization to one of the most dangerous eras in America's past.
"The Madams of the Barbary Coast" was awarded Best Historical Documentary by the 2005 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival as well as for Best Art Direction by the 2005 Golden Gate Fiction and Documentary Film Festival.
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