Tag Archives: hibiscus aka george harris III

The Questioning of John Rykener production dedicated to the late Marsha P. Johnson

The Questioning of John Rykener production dedicated to the late Marsha P. Johnson

MARSHAPJOHNSON

The Questioning of John Rykener, a new dance & theater attraction concerning a true tale of a cross-dressing male prostitute in 1395 medieval England is coming to The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in NYC April 11th, 8pm. The production is dedicated to the memory of trans-activist Marsha P. Johnson and is conceived, directed & narrated by original Cockette Rumi Missabu aka James Bartlett.

“Miss Marsha” P. Johnson embodied the early Gay movement proudly and very LOUDLY.” Marsha was best known in New York City as a gay and transgender rights activist. She was a leader in the 1969 Stonewall Riots that united the LGBT communities to demand an end to police brutality.  When asked what her middle initial “P” meant she replied, “Pay It No Mind” and this became her signature catchphrase. Following the 1992 Gay Pride celebration Miss Marsha was found murdered and her case was never solved.

 

On stage with Hibiscus’ aka George Harris III troupe  Angels of Light (New York), family friend Miss Marsha would be met with standing ovations upon her entrance without ever singing a note or dancing a step. She would inevitably break the fourth wall and start talking to the audience, which whipped them into a frenzied back-and-forth banter leading to another standing ovation. Hibiscus eventually stopped assigning songs and dances to Miss Marsha, because she rarely got to them. Just being Miss Marsha P. Johnson was enough magic to electrify the audience.

 

 The Questioning of John Rykener info: cocketterumi@gmail.com

 

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What people are saying about “Caravan to Oz” – photographer Dan Nicoletta

What people are saying about “Caravan to Oz” – photographer Dan Nicoletta

Angels of LightHibiscus aka George Harris III in “Femme Fatale -The Shocking Pink Life of Jayne Champagne” Photo by Dan Nicoletta c 1976

Talented photographer and friend Dan Nicoletta had this to say about “Caravan to Oz”

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caravan To Oz – an essential text on theatre history and LGBT history….,November 8, 2014
This review is from: Caravan to Oz: A family reinvents itself off-off-Broadway (Paperback)
This is a treasure trove of theatre and LGBT history. The legendary Harris Family are a significant vessel for understanding the turbulent social changes of the seminal off off broadway era as well as the west coast independent theatre and film and music scenes of the 60’s through the 80’s. But until now, so much about the family had remained a mystery. Those of us in the know and who appreciated the gravity of their legacy longed for a more in depth remembrance of what actually did occur and who the players were in this legendary family that swirled in and around LaMama Theatre and Cafe Cino and Hibiscus who co-founded the Cockettes as well as The Angels of Light theatre companies. (west and east coast troupes)… and now thankfully we have a definitive primary source text that is lovingly and brilliantly crafted collectively by the surviving family members. The book is chock full of meticulous archival material for the history geek in all of us, but is also a heart wrenching personal remembrance as the latter day Harris’s collectively excavate their whirlwind lives. The book and the family are GOLDEN… a joy to read… tons of amazing pictures… I am completely ferklempt about this one… been waiting a long time for something like this to come along…. Hibiscus was always so sweet to me the few times we met… no wonder… his family is lovely to get to know a little through their wonderful memoir….

 

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Brothers Against The War Machine

Brothers Against The War Machine

by Walter Michael Harris

In the fall of 1967, with the war in Vietnam raging, a large scale antiwar demonstration was organized at the Pentagon. Many photojournalists were on hand, including Bernie Boston, who took a photo of my brother, George Harris III, age 18, inserting flowers into the rifle barrels of National Guard soldiers in a tense confrontation.

Bernie Boston told Curio Magazine interviewer Alice Ashe in 2005:

“I saw the troops march down into the sea of people, and I was ready for it. One soldier lost his rifle. Another lost his helmet. The rest had their guns pointed out into the crowd, when all of a sudden a young hippie stepped out in front of the action with a bunch of flowers in his left hand. With his right hand he began placing the flowers into the barrels of the soldiers’ guns. He came out of nowhere, and it took me years to find out who he was . . . his name was Harris.”

Boston’s iconic image of my brother George, answering guns with flowers, remains a metaphor for the message of the 1960s youth counterculture movement – that love can overcome political tyranny, unite the human family, break the war machine, and bring peace to the world.

Three months later, at age 16, I was cast in the rock musical HAIR as it was preparing to open on Broadway. HAIR has a reputation as a “hippie musical” but, in fact, it was (and is) a powerful anti-war statement. The show was an overnight sensation, broadcasting the hopes and dreams of the youth counterculture, and an earnest plea to end the war.

Boys from my New York City neighborhood were drafted, went to Vietnam and returned injured, or never came back. Inspired by my brother meeting guns with flowers, I poured my whole self into making my performance in HAIR a deeply personal statement against the Vietnam War. I believe the show’s many first-run productions around the world played a part in ending the war. In modern HAIR productions my brother’s courageous act of protest is reenacted.

Our full story is in the new memoir, Caravan to Oz: a family reinvents itself off-off-Broadway.

To order the book, CLICK HERE.

Photo credits for this blog:

“Flower Power” – Bernie Boston/RIT Archive Collections/Rochester Institute of Technology

HAIR Logo – courtesy Michael Butler

Flower_Power002a_dochair logo

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Flower Power blooms 47 years ago as George Harris III answers guns with peaceful flowers

Flower Power blooms 47 years ago as George Harris III answers guns with peaceful flowers

Photo: Bernie Boston/RIT Archive Collections. Rochester Institute of Technology

Flower_Power002a_docOn October 21, 1967 – Bernie Boston’s photo of the brave, peace-loving teenager in a turtleneck sweater putting flowers into the gun barrels of military police went far beyond being a runner up for the Pulitzer Prize. This iconic moment became the origin of “Flower Power,” the most popular anti-war catchphrase of the 1960s. Mr. Boston told Alice Ashe of Curio magazine in 2005, “I saw the troops march down into the sea of people, and I was ready for it. One soldier lost his rifle. Another lost his helmet. The rest had their guns pointed out into the crowd, when all of a sudden a young hippie stepped out in front of the action with a bunch of flowers in his left hand. With his right hand he began placing the flowers into the barrels of the soldiers’ guns. ‘He came out of nowhere,’ says Boston, ‘and it took me years to find out who he was . . . his name was Harris.'”

“Harris” was George Harris III, at 18 years of age, whose life’s work was an example of Flower Power and free expression. George went on to rename himself “Hibiscus” and created powerful new forms of theater and political expression around the world. He passed away from AIDS in 1982 at the age of 32. His life story is recounted in ‘Caravan to Oz: a family reinvents itself off-off-Broadway,’ a memoir written by his family. www.caravantooz.com

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Hibiscus Script/Scrapbook

Hibiscus Script/Scrapbook

scrapbook_2011 (1) 

Hibiscus, aka George Harris III, made a scrapbook/script for every show. He would collect things from thrift stores, book stores, music stores and jewels TONS of jewels!!!  This one was on exhibition out west in 2011 and is now a book by curators Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner. Click the scrapbook link to see the pages and click on the book link to purchase the book.

Hibiscus’ Scrapbook

West of Center: Art and the Counterculture in America, 1965 – 1977

 

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