Harry Koutoukas Arrives in the Village

Harry Koutoukas Arrives in the Village

Haralambos Monroe “Harry” Koutoukas took a bus from his home in upstate New York to Greenwich Village just as the 1950s came to a close, in search of adventure. “When Koutoukas hit town, he was an Adonis, a Greek youth with abundant energy, personality, and natural wit. He was able to express himself in the vernacular of downtown—being free,” said Agosto Machado, a Chinese-Spanish Christopher Street queen and Zelig-like figure who witnessed the rise of the underground theater and film movements, the 1960s counterculture, gay liberation, and punk rock. Even in the Village, which was bursting with theatrical flourishes, this Greek American cut a striking figure. Entering a coffeehouse, Koutoukas might come swooshing in the door with a large swath of fabric flowing behind him—all while holding a cigarette high, for dramatic effect. “It was sort of grand,” Machado said, “but it wasn’t a pretentious-grand. It was a fun-grand.”

From Chapter 1 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


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