Former Cockette Hauser coming to Eugene

Hauser, an original Cockette, is coming to Eugene
Hauser, an original Cockette, is coming to Eugene

The Cockettes was a commune and theater troupe that performed lavish stage acts regularly in the late 1960s and early 1970s at San Francisco’s Palace Theatre.

Now one of their original members is bringing the show to Eugene.

Fayette Hauser’s intimate photographs of the Cockettes, featured in “West of Center,” reveal the group’s off-stage antics and radical lifestyle. She will present an artist’s talk, host a special performance and kick off a screening of the documentary, “The Cockettes,” showing for one week at the Bijou Art Cinemas.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, a San Francisco-based group of hippies and drag queens formed a talented theater troupe known as the Cockettes. Maintaining little distinction between art and life, gay and straight, or male and female, they wore their exuberant, handmade outfits in both everyday life and on stage.

According to poet Allen Ginsberg, “The Cockettes brought out into the street what was in the closet, in terms of theatrical dress and imaginative theater.”

On Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m., Hauser will lead an illustrated talk that focuses on the Cockettes’ influence on fashion and theater, as well as their efforts to break down barriers of gender identification. The talk takes place at 115 Lawrence Hall.

On Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m., Hauser will screen rare performance footage of the Cockettes at the Palace Theater, with live narration, followed by a performance piece titled “Dear Diary.” This satirized version of Hauser’s experiences with the Cockettes, including props and song, takes place at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

From April 12 to 16, the Bijou Art Cinemas, 492 E 13th Ave., screens the documentary “The Cockettes.” The opening night screening, Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m., will be introduced by Hauser and filmmaker David Weissman. The documentary tells the story of the group’s short but memorable existence.

The Cockettes are featured in the exhibition, “West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1997,” on view at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art through April 28.

- from UO's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art