Photographer Nacio Jan Brown noted, about this picture: “They had all gone into Rag Theater [a thrift store on the Avenue], borrowed the shiny jackets and glasses, and parted their hair way over on the side, trying to look like movie stars. When they came out, I had only an instant to catch this picture before they broke up and went back to return the stuff.”
This photo is an example of what play looked like for young women on the street. Though these women had very different lives from their suburban counterparts, they shared some of the same pastimes and aspirations. The fact that they had to return the clothing after a few minutes, however, suggests the constraints that shadowed their dreaming.
Aaron Cometbus, in “The Loneliness of the Electric Menorah,” described the Rag Theatre scene as follows: “A teenage gang called the Red Rockets leaned in the entryway, dressed in matching satin jackets and flanked by their younger, pre-teen auxiliary, the Mini-Mob. Others, including a young Larry Livermore, strutted up and down the block in elaborate costume and makeup in a sort of proto-glam parade, moved by the same spirit as Rag Theater—one of playful reinvention. Thrift stores had always existed, but Rag Theater was perhaps the first place to turn second-hand into hip.”