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Simeon Coxe of the Silver Apples:

"... we were contacted by an 'underground' theatre producer and director named John Vacarro. He had a reputation for putting on the most outrageous theatrical experiences in New York. He said that he was producing a new musical called Cockstrong and wanted Silver Apples to create the music for it. The star of the show was to be one of New York's most famous transvestites named Jackie Curtis.

Unlike most of the other glamour queens on the scene, Jackie wore rags and hand-me-downs as a fashion statement, and was a tall and intriguing spectacle. The rest of the cast was an assortment of actors and exhibitionists of one sort or another who, for the most part, were dedicated to John Vacarro and his Theatre of the Ridiculous. Cockstrong was a musical farce about sex and penis-envy, but oddly enough, there was no nudity, or even partial nudity, even though the so-called 'straight theatre' was already heavily into it (Hair, A Chorus Line, etc.).

We were given the script and started to work composing music for the various numbers. After several rehearsals it became evident that Silver Apples' style of free-form and organically structured music would need to be tamed down a little bit so the actors would know what to do and when to do it at the same times every performance. This is what Vacarro and the writer and every body wanted. They weren't quite ready for our ideas about order arriving spontaneously out of chaos so we gave in.

Vacarro supplied me with a little 24 key electric organ, meant as a child's toy, and said I could freak out all I wanted with the electronics as long as each number was based on melodies played on the toy box. I didn't care. I was having fun, but not being a keyboard player I had to keep it simple. There was one dance number called The Kama Sutra where we were allowed to improvise for about 10 minutes while the players, in their clothes, tried to accomplish all the sexual positions, both couples and groups.

One night the audience seemed to be very into it and Danny and I decided (with our signals across stage) to keep it going a while longer. I didn't realize how physically demanding it was for the actors and after a while they started screaming for mercy. I thought they were just acting and kept going. Soon there was open rebellion on the stage and the actors, while still in their contorted Kama Sutra positions were shaking their fists at me and giving the 'cut' sign with their fingers across the throat.

They were really glaring at me and the audience was roaring with delight. I finally gave in, and Jackie Curtis went into her final number, Cockstrong, during which this enormous, erect, papier-mâché penis slowly expanded out over the stage pointing at the audience. It was about 30 feet long. It had a garden hose concealed in the middle and at the end of the number the water was turned on and it sprayed out all over the audience. They were totally drenched and loving it.

After a couple of performances, word got around and people started showing up in raincoats, parkas and huge sheets of plastic."

[site courtesy of JP]
























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