Before the Internet, there was public-access television — and East Village counterculture celebrity Coca Crystal was one of the format’s pioneers, having hosted her variety show If I Can’t Dance You Can Keep Your Revolution for nearly 20 years. David Letterman was amongst her fans. The New York Times reported that Crystal, born Jacqueline Diamond, died on March 1 at 68 years old. From her obituary:
Adopting the pen name Coca Crystal, she wrote about politics, women’s issues and random personal events: a burglary at her apartment that she foiled by serenading her intruder on the guitar; the myriad obscene phone calls that she fielded at the office. The newspaper honored her, in one issue, with her photograph over the title “slumgoddess.”
“She was the epitome of the flower child,” said Lynda Crawford, a colleague at The East Village Other. “She was sexy, she was young, she was very smart — she was cool.”
Largely an unsung cultural icon, we felt inspired by Coca’s fascinating career to give praise and spread the word about other “forgotten” female saints of the counterculture — those women whose contributions and legacies have either slipped under the radar or have yet to receive their due.