The Cockettes were a psychedelic theater troupe founded by Hibiscus (George Harris) in the fall of 1969. The troupe was formed out of a group of hippies, men and women, that were living together communally in Haight-Ashbury. Hibiscus came to live with them because of their preference to dressing outrageously and proposed the idea of putting their lifestyle on the stage. Their brand of theater was influenced by The Living Theater, John Vaccaro’s Play House of the Ridiculous, the films of Jack Smith and the LSD ethos of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters. The troupe performed all original material doing mostly musicals with original songs. The first year they parodied American musicals and sang show tunes (or original musical comedies in the same vein). They gained an underground cult following that led to mainstream exposure.
… The Cockettes were the subject of a 2002 documentary, The Cockettes.
The name is a play on the name The Rockettes (the dance company that performs at Rockefeller Center in NYC), portmanteaued with cock ‘penis’.
A set of clips from the documentary: