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The Crack Magazine


Kokomo City

Director: D. Smith

The title of this illuminating and irreverently frank documentary from trans woman music producer-turned-director D. Smith, which profiles a quartet of trans women call girls, is taken from ‘Sissy Man Blues’, a 1934 recording by obscure blues singer Kokomo Arnold (“Lord if you can’t send me no woman, please send me some sissy man”). Two of Smith’s subjects, Koko Da Doll and Liyah Mitchell are from Atlanta; the other two, Daniella Carter and Dominique Silver are New Yorkers. Recorded in their bedrooms and cars, Smith captures their recollections and observations about their precarious lives and their complicated status within the black community, particularly how cis African American men desire them but deride them in public. Straight man and successful music producer LØ however is open when discussing his attraction to trans women, while confessing his discomfort with what lies ‘down there’. The women’s monologues range from the hair-raising to the darkly comic to the occasionally rambling. In the most striking, Liyah Mitchell recounts a bizarre encounter with a client who, she was horrified to discover, had a gun (their assignation then took an unexpected and droll turn). The beautiful black and white photography, redolent of a Bruce Weber fashion shoot, belies the picture’s tiny budget, and Smith’s soundtrack is cheekily eclectic.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm