What greater costume party/ dress up /life inspiration could there be than The Cockettes? In honor of my favorite time of year, I did oodles of screenshots of the documentary by the same name (2002) to share with you.
The Cockettes were a loosely knit clan of bearded hippie psychedelic drag queens from another planet based out of San Francisco. Founded in 1969 by reigning cosmic queen Hibiscus (below), they created theater performances that melded spiritual visions, 20s-30s music/film references, drag performance, theatrical costume design, and leftist sociopolitical philosophies. Rater than traditional drag, the Cockettes members enveloped all people, men and women, gay straight and otherwise, and created a cosmic transgender vibe instead of strictly 'female impersonation'. In the fall of 1969, Hibiscus (George Harris, a wildly extravagant and bedazzled free spirit ) left his more austere hippie commune and moved into a Haight party commune of fun loving, equally extravagant creatures and posed the idea of taking their lifestyle to the stage. Their brand of theater was influenced by The Living Theater, John Vaccaro's Play House of the Ridiculous, obscure 20s and 30s B-pictures and sort, and the LSD ethos of the Merry Pranksters. They brought their drug fueled party on stage, writing and producing musicals for the Nocturnal Dream Show at the palace Theater in San Francisco. Hand-making every inch of their make up and costumes and sets, in addition to creating their own songs and scripts, The Cockettes skyrocketed from a cult sensation to national stars. They were covered by Life, Look, Esquire, and Rolling Stone, and soon a curious sensation to stars like Truman Capote, John Lennon, and Andy Warhol, seeking tickets to their shows.
So many amazing celestial beings passed through the Cockettes line-up including disco sensation Sylvester and Jon Waters' drag star Divine. So many characters filtered in and out of the performances its impossible to count them all, but The Cockettes documentary showcased some of my favorite members:
Fayette Hauser - One of the few women, a vibrant hippie redhead, still involved in art and theatre today
Hibiscus - The founder who later went on to create another troupe called Angels of Light, who sadly died of AIDS in 1984.
Reggie - A sweet guy who brought Sylvester up from LA to join the group, died just before the film's release
Sweet Pam Whose wedding to a fellow Cockette Scrumbly was famously featured in a Rolling Stone issue
Scrumbly Koldewyn Whose amazing patchwork ensembles were featured in photos that have been circulating around the internet a lot lately
Dusty Dawn who birthed a Cockette baby she swaddled during performances
and Peter Mintun pianist for the Cockettes shows, who lived in an amazing 1930s recreated world with his friends, and continues to play 20s-30s era music