- Director: Brontez Purnell
Ed Mock, the avant-garde San Francisco legend who melded classical dance, experimental performance art, and acting, finally gets his due in local director Brontez Purnell’s heartfelt documentary.
A bold and inventive dancer and instructor, Mock honed his craft under the acclaimed Jimmy Payne in Chicago and performed internationally for decades. He pushed boundaries with his improvisational techniques, nude and gender-fluid performances, and mesmerizing, genre-defying dance. In an era when New York dance was all about hard lines and conformity, Mock had a distinctively San Francisco approach: his classes, performances, and dance company focused on the humanity and the unique personality of each individual, making space for every person’s artistic ability within a collective, rather than asking dancers to conform to one vision of linear dance.
But above even his vision and talent, it was his personal relationships in the Bay Area in the 1970s and ’80s that inspired generations of followers, admirers, lovers, and zealots—many of whom still speak of visiting his dance studio as something akin to attending church. These individuals, as well as academics and historians, discuss the continuing inspiration of Mock’s work, while mourning his loss among the era’s generation of gay, queer, and bisexual black men lost to AIDS. Chock-full of interviews, archival footage of Mock’s performances, and modern performances of his pieces, this documentary is a sincere homage to his life and art, and a testament to his continued inspiration.
— J. SWEMBA