Saturday, March 21, 2009

Coca Crystal's Dance Revolution

Coca Crystal's public access show If I Can't Dance You Can Keep Your Revolution ran from 1977 to 1995 on public access in New York. Thanks to the Internet I just discovered Coca Crystal's existence and well, I'm in love. She always started out the show smoking a joint, then featured guests ranging from Philip Glass, Debbie Harry, Abbie Hoffman, Judith Malina, and Cesar Chavez, as well as poets, artists, babysitters, and dogs. Coca talked about protests, anti-nuke activism, local and world news(with special segment Newborn News). I can't imagine anything that happened on her show being allowed on local access or any other station these days. As I've gathered from Internet research Coca Crystal and her son Gus now live in upstate New York and she continues to be in her own words "fearless, fun, and zany. Not to mention gorgeous, kind, and generous."

Some of these take a little patience, at least for those of us from the MTV generation. But believe me this one is worth rolling with. Coca smokes a joint and then Vincent Titus does a poetry reading worth sticking around for.

Coca does a "magic trick", asks for food stamps, and reads the news - the Weather Underground fugitives get caught in Nyack and Coca has problems with cat hair on sweaters.

The executive assistant's babysitter Matthew is on the show. This kid is adorable but I don't know how many people would let him babysit their kids these days. Oh and then Vincent Titus reads another poem.

Tuli Kupferberg of The Fugs sings Coca a song called Einstein Didn't Wear Socks

Also watch her celebrate "Hash Wednesday"
One of my favorite guest clips from the show is Izzy Fertel singing about Reagan and then about Susan B. Anthony.
Young hippie explains how to get free MTV.

I can't post them all here but check out her Channel on Youtube


Waldo said...

Nice job.

I had my own Coca Crystal WTF?! moment recently when I happened upon her Deborah Harry interview on Youtube. The next day i went back and watched it again to make sure i hadn't dreamed it.

Heady stuff.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to track down 'Coco Crystal' for years, just out of curiosity.

Way way way back in the 9th grade, a friend of mine was 'going steady' with a girl who fixed me up on a date with her best friend, a young woman from a neighboring town whose name was Jackie Diamond.

It was an uneventful double date: a movie and some pizza. But I never forgot her name. And years later I would learn that Jackie Diamond had become Coco Crystal. But until now, nearly 50 years after our one date, I can see Jackie's alter ego!

Leigh Harrison said...

I was a staff member (Cameraperson and later, Technical Director) of Coca's show for a year, from 1979-1980, and appeared as an occasional guest performer (doing song parodies) on her show many times over the years, under the stage names "Mona Moore" or "Lola La Plume," and performed a few times with my rock band on her shows. I also was the next-to-last guest on her final show, just before Tuli Kupferberg.

Ours was one of the earliest cable TV shows in NYC (and anywhere) and was the favorite cable show of some of the SNL performers at the time.

On the Debbie Harry interview (Part1), I'm the techie bringing water to them, in the black tunic.

Now I work helping get all the old Poet to Poet TV shows (one of the earliest cable TV shows with poetry, on which I was also a techie) re-mastered and remixed for YouTube viewing.

This all brings back wonderful memories.

Leigh Harrison

Unconscious and Irrational said...

Thats really cool Leigh! Thanks for the comment, I'm gonna go look up Poet to Poet now!