LUMINOUS PROCURESS (1971) Set of 2 photos


[New York]: New Line Cinema, [1971]. Pair of vintage original 8 x 10″ (20 x 25 cm.) black-and-white print still photos, fine.

Very scarce photos from the only feature film of experimental film director Steven Arnold. He curated the Nocturnal Dreamshows at the Palace Theater in San Francisco, where The Cockettes got their start.

“In 1969, Arnold began filming Luminous Procuress, which went on to win him the 1972 New Director’s Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, an extended exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and a second invite to Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. Salvador Dali was so impressed with the film that he arranged a private screening at the St. Regis Hotel, to which he invited New York’s elite, including Andy Warhol, who also praised the film’s genius. Arnold became a favorite of Dali’s, and in 1974 went to study with the master in Spain, helping Dali to embellish and inaugurate his Museo-Teatro Dali. After returning to California, and failing to make any progress on other film projects, Arnold was driven to find new modes of expression. By establishing his Los Angeles photography studio and west-coast salon Zanzibar, Arnold did just that.

“From 1982-89, Steven Arnold found his niche, designing and shooting tableau-vivants for four books, leaving thousands of living tableau photographs and negatives unpublished. He also left behind a social legacy in Los Angeles which, according to many who saw Zanzibar at its height, has never been equaled. Arnold adored the vast cross-section of society represented at his nightly Salons, but also culled inspiration from his dreams, world religions, sexuality, fine art masterpieces, Jungian archetypes, social attitudes, excess, and artifice, working all night, and waking each afternoon to sketch dreams and visions into his growing collection of sketchbooks. In addition to his photography, Arnold also translated these drawings into a large body of paintings and assemblage sculpture between 1990 and his early death in 1994.” (

Luminous Procuress is a surreal fantasy film in which two young men enter an alternate reality of what the photo describes as “AUTOMATONS, TRANSVESTITES, SUFI HOLYMEN, MALE NUNS, MIMES, MONKEYS, VEGETABLES, PEOPLE, WHORES, MUSCLEMEN, QUPIE DOLLS, FAIRY GODMOTHERS AND ART MODELES.” This is one of a tiny number of 1970s films in which The Cockettes appeared.

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