The Cockettes featured actors high on LSD wearing bedazzled costumes and singing show tunes, and performances usually ended with most of the cast naked on stage. Inevitably, the shows started gaining a cult following, and Hibiscus' fame grew.
This wasn't mandatory in San Francisco, but it was certainly encouraged.
He eventually brought his act to New York, where he was the darling of Manhattan's artist circles. He dated Allen Ginsberg, John Lennon was known to jump onstage to sprinkle glitter on him, and the Osmonds used his shows as inspiration for their TV skits. Truman Capote called his show "the only true theater."
Yes, that friendly kid in the bitchin' cable-knit went on to do all that.
via Wiki Commons
And we weren't joking about tossing on that dress.
And then, in 1982, Hibiscus became one of the first victims of a new illness called GRID, aka Gay-Related Immunodeficiency. That's what we called AIDS before we had any sort of clue, both scientifically and culturally. He passed away at 33.
And god damn it all, he better fly away on a rainbow at the end of this entry.
Yep, there he goes: majestic, dignified, pupils the size of dinner plates and now ... naked? Oh yeah, totally naked.
It's exactly how it should be.
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