When Harry Koutoukas first met Off-Off-Broadway artist and performer Bruce Eyster, he wore a luminous outfit that was quite memorable. “He had shiny pants and a top made of really sparkly material,” Bruce Eyster said, “but it was all ragged and pinned together with safety pins, way before punk.” Koutoukas followed Eyster home that night and waited outside until morning to talk to him, and the two became friends. “The first time we went to Harry’s apartment, my boyfriend and I went there and Harry said, ‘Wait, before you go in, I have to do this thing.’ And he did this weird thing with the locks, and then when we got in he had to push this thing aside.” An automobile engine was precariously balanced on top of the refrigerator so that, according to Koutoukas, “If somebody breaks in, the car motor will fall on them and kill them.” Oh, o-kaaaay, Eyster thought. “Harry had very funny ways of seeing things,” he recalled, “and he was very clever with words.” Koutoukas could shock people, make them laugh, or do both at the same time—which was often a good line of defense. One night on Christopher Street, a black man began hassling him, so Koutoukas told the guy, “Well, I never fight with anybody I can’t see in the dark.” The man stood there wide-eyed, then burst out laughing and never bothered Koutoukas again.
From Chapter 12 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore