What is Anarchy In High Heels?

Anarchy in High Heels

Anarchy in High Heels is the story of an audacious female performance group unleashing their unique satire in an era when being a “funny feminist” was deemed an oxymoron. In the memoir I narrate my quirky thirteen-year adventure in Les Nickelettes; how it shaped me, emboldened me, and transformed me into a die-hard second-wave feminist.

A San Francisco porno theater might be the last place you’d expect to plant the seed of a feminist troupe, but truth is stranger than fiction.

In 1972, access to birth control and a burn-your-bra ethos were leading young women to repudiate their 1950s conservative upbringing and embrace a new liberation. I was a timid twenty-four-year-old actress wannabe when, at an after-hours countercultural event called The People’s Nickelodeon, I accidentally created Les Nickelettes. This banding together of like-minded women with an anything-goes spirit unlocked a deeply hidden female humor. For the first time, I allowed the suppressed thoughts dancing through my head to come out in the open. Together with Les Nickelettes, which quickly became a brazen women’s lib troupe, I presented a series of feminist skits, stunts, and musical comedy plays that led The Bay Guardian to describe the group in 1980 as “nutty, messy, flashy, trashy, and very funny.”

With sisterhood providing the moxie, I took on leadership positions not common for women at the time: playwright, stage director, producer, and administrative/artistic director. But, in the end the mist important thing my time with Les Nickelettes taught me was the power of female friendship.

I wrote this book because I think stories about female groundbreaking artists are often overlooked or forgotten.

Anarchy in High Heels will be published July 27, 2021 – check it out. And head over to my blog for additional highlights and photos.

Who is Denise Larson?

Denise Larson

I am a native Californian; I went to elementary school in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance and high school in the San Joaquin Valley city of Manteca, and finally, after college, I put down roots in San Francisco. With a BA in theater from San Francisco State University, I pinned my dreams on becoming an experimental theater artist in the 1970s counterculture milieu of the Bay Area. Along that path I founded Les Nickelettes. For thirteen years, I helmed the feminist theater company and took on many roles, onstage and off. Then I gave it all up to become a mother and teacher. After a twenty-year career in Early Childhood Eduction, I retired and took up writing my memoir. I still live in San Francisco and have returned to my first love: theater. I am collaborating with other performers in a new theater venture: Cosmic Elders Theater Ensemble.