Bri Hurley: 2/15/1964 –12/24/2018

Bri, a longtime resident of the waterfront community, passed away on Christmas eve after a long battle with cancer. She was private, strong and brave throughout her life, with unique grace and energy, and she died as she lived, with dignity and reserve.

She was a fantastic photographer and published a book of photos of the New York hardcore scene, was the long-time bartender at CBGB (the New York bar that made space for young hardcore groups to perform) and a noted figure in the tribal dance scene.

She was part of the Charles Van Damme Ferry steering committee and a personal friend.

This tribute is gleaned from family stories and messages from her friends.

A Rich and Colorful Life

From the age of 2–7, Bri lived with her parents at Esalen, Big Sur. She was exposed to people from all over the world and treated as a person, not a cute little girl, which influenced her view of the adult world for the rest of her life.

Bri was 8 years old when they moved to the Waldo Point Harbor community commonly known as The Gates. They lived on an old sunken potato boat called the Oakland. She went to the school-without-walls, and was raised in a colorful, creative community.

She danced with the Waldo Point Wenches as the littlest cancan dancer, wearing a bustier filled with scarves as part of her costume. At the Sausalito Art Fair in 1976 she danced in a sailor/pirate story, emerging from a trunk on stage. From the age of 9 she participated in the Renaissance Faire. With two good dancer friends, she started the Redtail Morris, a women’s dancing troupe. She began belly dancing at age 10.

Bri attended Tam High and studied drama and stage management. After high school she worked at a reputable camera shop in San Francisco, perhaps the start of her love for photography.

She moved to the East Coast as an intern at Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. From there, she moved to NYC, worked for a theater supplies company and tended bar at CBGB. She was taken by the intensity of the scene and was readily accepted in their midst.

She started to photograph and interview the performers and the local youth. Her photos appeared in the Village Voice, Jersey Beat, Teen Punk, and Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll. She also shot album covers and promotional photos for many of New York’s hardcore bands.

Bri liked to travel, starting with a photo show in the Ukraine and a project in Egypt. She later returned to Eastern Europe, captivated by the Czech Republic, which at that time was experiencing a renaissance, its aura being similar to that of the Big Sur of her childhood. She also traveled to Turkey, Vienna, taught in Poland, visited Slovenia and Slovakia, and more.

She was always doing something creative: dancing, teaching, creating collages, designing dance costumes, taking photos and gardening. Even after the sickness made her weak, she focused her energy on the flowers on her deck and helped them bloom.

Her friends remember her as a powerhouse, a phenomenal dancer, a fast wit, wild but gentle, a teacher, an unchained spirit, a shining light, smart, funny, wise, deep, thoughtful, beautiful, the “wild and daring companion of my wild and daring youth,” fierce and brave, steady and steely-nerved, exuberant and outrageous, “a good friend to me back when we were figuring out who we would be in the world.”

Bri and I worked together on our original CVD Foundation proposal. She was terrific to work with, it was very important to her, having grown up on the boat, to emphasize the artistic history of the Charles Van Damme ferry: the dancers, painters, sculptors, writers.

WOW what an incredible battle she fought. What a remarkable warrior.

We were friends for 46 years, and throughout that time Bri always made me feel safe and brought me back to my deepest self.

Thank you very much for all that dance—that meant more than just beautiful moves.

Judyth Greenburgh, who put together this tribute