May 1982 – A nice piece in Michael’s Thing written for George Harris III aka Hibiscus’ fundraiser for medical expenses at Danceteria. Pictured are the Screaming Violets with their band. The top left picture features the cast of Tinseltown Tirades, George’s last show at Theater for the New City. Holly Woodlawn (center) star of that show is now in dire need of funding due to a life threatening illness. Our friend Penny Arcade has set up a GoFundMe page. Please consider donating to Bring Holly Home.
A must read for theater enthusiasts, academics and emerging performance artists!,August 29, 2014
This review is from: Caravan to Oz: A family reinvents itself off-off-Broadway (Paperback)
Caravan to Oz is a chronicle of one of the most unique families of the off off Broadway stage and screen. The saga begins with Ann and George Harris, Sr. (Superman, 1978), where life and art converged in a small D.I.Y. garage theater in Florida. Just like the old Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney films Anne and George Sr. took themselves and their six “babes in arms” to acclaim to stages throughout New York City and Europe. The cast of this family memoir ranges from La Mama’s Ellen Stewart to Oscar winning actor / director Tim Robbins.
The candid pictures and narrations from the Harris siblings is a “how to survive guide” for any hopeful thespian or artist in this new depression era. The memoir answers every question, challenge, and tells it like it is … behind every TV, IMDB film credit or theater credit there is the day job or in the case of The Screaming Violets: Jayne, Eloise, and Mary Lou – a night job at the coat check at Studio 54.
Besides the nail-biting, high risk-taking for the sake of art making there is tragedy ranging from losing Hibiscus to HIV/ AIDS causes (the renowned performance artist and founder of the psychedelic theater troupe The Cockettes) to 9/11 and its effect on the Harris family and their own survival and need for further reinvention.
Caravan to Oz shares the highs and the “do or die” of the artist’s way (… and then some). What is refreshing is that book is full of living and not replete with backstabbing or name dropping of most memoirs. The names that are dropped however throughout the picture packed pages just happen to have graced the lives of Anne, George, Sr. Hibiscus, Walter-Michael, Frederic, Jayne, Eloise, and Mary Lou Harris. A must read for theater enthusiasts, academics or emerging D.I.Y. performers.
Timothy Bellavia is an Educator, Author, and Owner/Founder at “We Are All The Same Inside”.
Paul Zone, Miki Zone and The Screaming Violets backstage at Danceteria in May of 1982. It was the memorial for Hibiscus aka George Harris III. He died of AIDS May 6 1982, Paul Zone has a new book about growing up in the New York underground scene.
Playground: Growing Up in the New York Underground