Our family reunion started at the beach in Ocean Grove, New Jersey and turned into the kickoff of writing our second book about our brother George Harris III aka Hibiscus. Once back in New York City, positive signs from the universe began to appear. A freshly glittered sign at Judson Church (one of our first Off – Off Broadway homes), a fresh Hibiscus flower found at 7AM on an industrial street in Chelsea. In the words of Joe Cino before every show at the Caffe Cino – “It’s magic time.”
By Jayne Anne Harris, Eloise Harris and Mary Lou Harris
Photo by Dan Jansen
(L-R Jayne Anne Harris, Eloise Harris and Mary Lou Harris)
Off-Off Broadway theater was our first home. For two decades, The Harris Sisters (Jayne Anne, Eloise and Mary Lou) and the rest of our family performed in original drama and musicals at New York City’s La Mama ETC., Caffe Cino, Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater, Theater for the New City, Judson Poets Theater and more. They travelled across Europe with their brother Hibiscus and his Angels of Light Theater troupe.
Inspired by the beat of the New York punk and rock scene of the late 1970’s, The Harris Sisters and Trouble (our band), led by brother Fred, included bassist Ray Ploutz, guitarists Bill Davis and Josh Callow and drummers Mike Pedulla and Mike Kimmel, played at CBGB, SNAFU, Great Gildersleeves, The Mudd Club, RT Firefly, Peppermint Lounge and other rock venues of the day.
At the height of the disco era, The Harris Sisters were unable to resist our charismatic brother Hibiscus’ charms in wooing us to form the bejeweled rock and roll group, Hibiscus and the Screaming Violets. We embarked on a new tour of New York City disco clubs such as Studio 54, Xenon, The Ice Palace, Bonds, Danceteria and The Red Parrot. We performed on the same circuit with Madonna, The Weather Girls, Blondie, Nona Hendryx, Grace Jones, Michael Musto and The Must, Billy Idol and Cyndi Lauper. It seemed that we had an all access pass to the greatest musical scene on earth…. Stay tuned for more blogs from The Harris Family…
Read The Harris Sisters’ full story in their new memoir, Caravan to Oz: a family reinvents itself off-off Broadway
Mary Lou Harris and original Cockette, Rumi Missabu, resplendent from head to toe wearing Machine Dazzle Flower at Judson Memorial Church for Keeping the Tigers Away & The Blue Hour. Dedicated to the memory of Mario Montez, Marsha P. Johnson and Hibiscus aka George Harris III. Mary Lou brought along the Harris family memoir, Caravan to Oz: a family reinvents itself off-off-Broadway. Judson Poets Theater was one of our Off Off Broadway homes.
Judson Arts Wednesdays
Judson Memorial Church – 2014