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<  Announcements  ~  Thrillpeddlers Join Cockettes Tribute in NYC, June 1 - 8

Russell Blackwood
Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:27 am Reply with quote
Moderator Joined: 18 Sep 2003 Posts: 125
What better precursor for Hypnodrome's Theatre of the Ridiculous Revival (opening June, Friday the 13th) than to first head off to New York City with the fabulous Cockettes! May I be so bold to repeat that Sweet Pam and Fayette have dubbed me "the missing Cockette" and that Jim and I will infuse Rumi's June 4th show at Monkeytown with a taste of Grand Guignol, that I'll celebrate my birthday on June 5 in the presence of my boyhood idol, Mink Stole, honoring Hibiscus, Divine, Sylvester and all of the fabulous Cockettes living and dead?

Check out this press release for the week-long event!

The Cockettes Are Coming!

A series of events in New York the first week in June will bring a dozen of the original Cockettes together on the East Coast for the first time since 1971 to mark the donation of the Martin Worman Cockettes / Gay Theater Archives to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Billy Rose Theater Division at Lincoln Center.

Events include:

Under the Big Top: A Faerie Extravaganza and Celebration of the Cockettes, a benefit performance for Faerie Camp Destiny, Monday, June 2. Bazaar, Food and Films from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Performances at 8 p.m. At Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue at 10th Street

A Cocktail of Glamour & Anarchy, Wednesday, June 4, 2008. 8 p.m. with a possible second show at 10 p.m. At Monkeytown, 58 North 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

A Cockette Symposium hosted by Steven Watson and Mink Stole, Thursday, June 5, 7:30 to 9 p.m. The LGBT Center, 208 West 13th Street, Kaplan Assembly, First Floor

The Martin Worman Cockettes / Gay Theater Archives

Martin Worman was a playwright, director, actor and lyricist during the height of the gay liberation movement in the 1960’s through his death of AIDS in 1993. A Vietnam Era veteran from Paterson, New Jersey, Worman left Fort Dix for a life in the theater in San Francisco where he was a member of the legendary troupe known as the Cockettes. He wrote book and lyrics for several of their most renowned shows including Hot Greeks and Vice Palace which featured John Waters’ superstars Divine and Mink Stole. He was known as “The Cockette Who Can Read” because of his multiple academic degrees, a secret he carefully guarded from the street-based, anti-professional ethos of the time. Worman continued his musical collaboration with Cockette Richard “Scrumbly” Koldewyn, writing musical revues and plays, most notably the 1972 musical Rickets: A Day in the Life of the Counterculture. Influenced by the theater of Bertolt Brecht, Worman viewed himself as a cultural worker and saw theater as a weapon in the struggle for gay liberation. In 1975 he co-founded the San Francisco-based Gay Men’s Theater Collective whose award-winning play Crimes Against Nature was brought to New York. There Worman assisted Robert Wilson and Jack O’Brien, directed Lola Pashalinski in her Obie winning performance of Steven Holt’s Cold, Lazy and Elaine and adapted Sherwood Anderson’s The Man Who Became a Woman for Steven Keats at Theater for the New City. At his death he was Associate Professor of Theater at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he adapted Meridel LeSeuer’s Midwest populist writings to the theater. The 90 hours of interviews he conducted with Cockettes in 1987 during the height of the AIDS epidemic include a deathbed interview with disco diva Sylvester. His unfinished dissertation at NYU on the history of the Cockettes became the basis for David Weissman and Bill Weber’s acclaimed documentary The Cockettes.

Worman created extensive archives of his work in the theater, including 600 pages of Cockette interviews transcribed by his partner Robert Croonquist who safe-guarded the archives and is now donating them to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Billy Rose Theater Division at Lincoln Center.

The Cockettes

The Cockettes emerged from the communal movement in San Francisco in the late 1960's. Founded by Hibiscus and other members of beat writer and publisher Irving Rosenthal’s Kaliflower commune, the Kitchen Sluts, as they were first known, would entertain as they delivered food and newsletters from Rosenthal’s Free Press to an intercommunal food network of over 300 households. Known for their outrageous bearded drag, sequins, glitter and camp, the queerly androgynous troupe made street theater and performance history on the stage of the Palace Theater at the Nocturnal Dream Shows, midnight showings of camp film classics. Word of their shows spread by word of mouth and through San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. The Cockettes were officially discovered by Rex Reed, Truman Capote and Joanna Carson and were whisked off to New York where they were feted by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland and held court at Max’s Kansas City. Their cockeyed optimism was welcomed by many but at odds with the irony and cool of New York during the Warhol era. Those who flocked to see their premiere at the Anderson Theater included Anthony Perkins, Allen Ginsberg and John Lennon. As Sylvia Miles said, “Everybody who was anybody was there.” And they were not amused; the evening was a catastrophe. Angela Lansbury is said to have risen from her seat midway through Act One and exclaimed, “Get me the fuck out of here,” and Gore Vidal quoted Arthur Laurents’ Gypsy, “Having no talent is not enough.” After the glitter settled, the Cockettes returned to San Francisco where they created their most successful shows. Cockettes who became famous in their own right include disco diva Sylvester, Café Society pianist Peter Mintun and Cockette guest star Divine.

Faerie Camp Destiny

Faerie Camp Destiny, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational corporation, is a permanent, sustainable 166 acre mountain sanctuary for Radical Faeries in Southern Vermont. The sanctuary is governed by consensus decision making and is dedicated to civil rights, the environment, drama, art and peace. Seeded with Faerie money and propelled by persistence, generosity and faith, this "magickly delicious" forest includes reforested farmland, meandering stone walls, a rushing stream and miles of hiking trails. Last summer the sanctuary created a community dining hall and bathhouse. This summer it plans to complete these projects and make them accessible to the disabled.

The Radical Faeries are a network of faggot farmers, workers, artists, drag queens, leathermen, political activists, witches, magickians, and rural and urban dwellers who see gays, lesbians and trans-genders as a distinct people with their own culture, way of being and spirituality. Founded in 1980 by Harry Hay and others in Los Angeles, the Faeries have created sanctuaries in a number of states including Tennessee, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon and Faerie Camp Destiny in Vermont.

The Radical Faeries believe that, as a people, they have unique and necessary contributions to make to help the larger human community regain the lost balance of life on earth. Being radically (at the root) decentralist and anti-authoritarian, the Faeries have no leaders. Each Faerie is divine and speaks with a unique voice.

Under the Big Top: A Faerie Extravaganza and Celebration of the Cockettes

To benefit summer construction at Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton, Vermont

Monday, June 2. Bazaar, Food and Films from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Performances at 8 p.m. At Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue at 10th Street.
Admission $30, Bake Sale and Bar, Faerie Wares and Services—Priceless

A Faerie Extravaganza and Celebration of the Cockettes promises to be a family reunion of generations of downtown theater people, bringing together many old friends from the 1960’s with today’s theater artists and performers. From the pre-Cockette era there will be performances by Crystal Field, who with George Bartenieff created Theater for the New City, and The Harris Family, multigenerational performers whose son and brother George III became Hibiscus, the founder of the Cockettes and Angels of Light. From the Cockette generation will be downtown performers Agosto Machado, Chris Tanner and Lance Cruce, the comic Reno and Radical Faeries Agnes De Garron and Gabriel Q. Living Theatre members will perform a witches’ cabaret as The Wycherlies and a new generation of performers will include musical wonders Steve Sandberg and Cyrus Baty, video artist Bec Stupak and neo-Voguing dancers The Pixie Harlots. The Cockettes will be introduced by HRH Lee Mentley of San Francisco’s Hula Palace and the young Robert Oppel. The evening will be hosted by London’s fabulous and glamorous La John Joseph and New York’s Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Sale items from Rosie Delicious The Eggman, Gabriel Q, Luc Sante, Keith Gemerek, Dance Manhattan, Femme Productions and many others.

A Cocktail of Glamour & Anarchy

Wednesday, June 4. 8 p.m. with a possible second show at 10 p.m. At Monkeytown, 58 North 3rd Street between Wythe & Kent, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Bedford subway stop.
Admission FREE with two drink minimum. Dinner reservations encouraged, 718 384-1369

Hosted by Rumi Missabu of the Cockettes and Camaraderie Art Salon, A Cocktail of Glamour & Anarchy is a not-to-be-missed evening of lurid tales, gripping yarns and special cinematic surprises. Rumi Missabu will delight with a peek preview of his upcoming Fall tour of Europe. Fayette Hauser will project her photographs of the Cockettes on the four screens of Monkeytown’s spectacular theater lounge. Sweet Pam Tent will read from Midnight at the Palace: My Life as a Fabulous Cockette. Jet will premiere his newly restored, rare footage of the Angels of Light, a San Francisco theater troupe also created by Hibiscus and company. For ten years the Angels of Light created Free Theater extravaganzas, lived communally, shared their income and traveled the world to gather costumes and inspiration for their shows. La John Joseph will perform selections from his new show. Robert Oppel will screen a sneak preview of his docudrama Uncle Bob about the life and death of performance artist Robert Opel, the man who streaked the 1974 Academy Awards, and Russell Blackwood and James Toczyl, producers and hosts of San Francisco's Thrillpeddlers, will perform an amazing tribute to Grand Guignol. The Hula Palace’s HRH Lee Mentley will regale us with a story or two.

The evening will include an auction of rare Cockette memorabilia.

A Cockette Symposium

Thursday, June 5. 7:30 - 9 p.m. At the LGBT Center, 208 West 13th Street, Kaplan Assembly, First Floor
Admission: FREE

Join the largest New York gathering of Cockettes since their theatrical catastrophe at the Anderson Theater in 1971. In 1968 this psychedelic-fueled gender bending troupe of men, women, children, gay, straight and in-between became legendary for their performances at San Francisco's Palace Theater. At the cultural forefront of gay liberation, these bearded hippie drag queens showed generations to come the creative potential within us all. Moderated by Steven Watson, chronicler of the American avant-garde and author of Factory Made, The Beat Generation and The Harlem Renaissance, and hosted by John Waters' superstar Mink Stole and HRH Lee Mentley of the Hula Palace, the evening promises to be historic. Cockettes scheduled to appear include Scrumbly, Sweet Pam, Rumi, Fayette, Harlow, Jet, Tahara, Sebastian, Toots Taraval, Jim Campbell and Dolores DeLuce.
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