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DRKRM presents Children of Paradise Photographs by Fayette Hauser

  |   2011

Children of Paradise: Life with The Cockettes
San Francisco 1969-1972
Photographs by Fayette Hauser

drkrm/gallery is proud to present Children of Paradise: Life with The Cockettes, photographer Fayette Hauser’s intimate portrait of the pioneering, gender bending, 1970s San Francisco theatrical troupe. This collection of photographs documents both the candid behind the scenes life as well as rare performance shots from their short but groundbreaking run.

As the psychedelic San Francisco of the 1960s began evolving into the pansexual San Francisco of the 1970s, The Cockettes, a flamboyant ensemble of hippies — gay, straight, and undecided – decked themselves out in gender-bending drag and tons of glitter for a series of legendary midnight musicals at the Palace Theater in North Beach. “It was complete sexual anarchy,” says filmmaker John Waters. “You couldn’t tell the men from the women. It was really new at the time, and it still would be new.”

As The Cockettes were heralded as beyond cutting edge they attracted admiration from John Lennon, Truman Capote and Marlene Dietrich, among others. Rex Reed wrote a glowing review about one of their shows, Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma, calling it “a landmark in the history of new, liberated theater…” The group broke many social, cultural and sexual boundaries foraging a hot path straight through the era. Today their influence is still felt in fashion, theater
and film and inspired the glitter rock era of David Bowie, Elton John, and The New York Dolls, as well as the campy extravaganzas of Bette Midler to Lady Gaga.

Fayette Hauser, a founding member of the Cockettes, performed with the group and contributed to the look and structure of many of the shows, as well as photographing them until their demise in the spring of 1972. Born in Troy, New York, Fayette grew up in the honky-tonk town of Asbury Park, New Jersey. She received her first camera, a Brownie Holiday Flash, at age nine. As a teen-ager, Fayette ran away from home frequently to Manhattan, where she met filmmakers Jack Smith and Andy Warhol, and appeared in the Warhol film The Life Story of Juanita Castro. Fayette now lives in Los Angeles and received a BFA from Boston University, College of Fine Arts.

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