Jo Harvey Allen

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Jo Harvey Allen (born 1942) is an American writer, actress, and artist.


Allen was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, to a dress shop manager mother and a carpenter father.[1] In 1961, she married artist and singer Terry Allen and moved to Los Angeles, California where she walked away from a BFA degree from the Woodbury College of Design over a disputed sixty dollar fee. She studied with poets, Philip Levine and Kenneth Rexroth and staged her first poetry performance for an audience of one, mentor, dancer, filmmaker, Yvonne Rainer.

In the 1960s, she was a pioneer of women in radio hosting Los Angeles' Rawhide & Roses, music and talk show, on the early underground rock station, KPPC-FM in Pasadena, California, produced by her husband of 45 years, artist/songwriter, Terry Allen. In the 1970s, she was one of the first performance artists performing throughout the U.S. in alternative spaces, cafes, art galleries and museums.

Film and stage work[edit]

She is best known, however, for her work in film and for her one woman plays which she has toured extensively including off-Broadway productions written and performed by Allen of A Moment's Hesitation, (director Allen), As It Is in Texas, (director Ellen Sabastian), and Counter Angel, (director Joan Tewkesbury), (CD of audio available), (play was filmed by Alan Landsbury). Counter Angel was first performed in truck stops and cafes and based on Allen’s book of photographs and interviews titled The Beautiful Waitress (unpublished).

Other plays written and performed by Allen include: Hally Lou and Homerun. Allen co-wrote the radio play, Every Three Minutes (National Public Radio) with her son, Bukka Allen. She collaborated with her husband Terry and their sons, Bukka and Bale, on Do You Know what Your Children are Tonight? (Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC).

She toured, starred, and co-wrote with Terry Allen and Rinde Eckert the opera, Pioneer (director, Robert Woodruff), (Spoleto, U.S.A.) music by Paul Dresher Ensemble, and starred as, Chippy, in Diaries of a West Texas Hooker co-written with Terry Allen, music co-written by the Allens, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Jo Carol Pierce, (American Music Theater Festival, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lincoln Center, New York) (CD, Hollywood Records, L.A. Times Pick of the Year). Her film credits include True Stories, The Client Secondhand Lions, The Wendell Baker Story and In the Valley of Elah.

She authored a collection of poetry, Cheek to Cheek (Duckdown Press). Traveling exhibitions (catalogues available) of her photographs and drawings include, The Beautiful Waitress (Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska), 100 Artists See Satan, (Cal State-Fullerton) and 100 Artists See God (Independent Curators International).

Allen has been a visiting professor at San Diego State University and visiting artist and lecturer at many universities including The San Francisco Art Institute, UCLA, NYU, The Art Institute of Chicago, University of Texas and The Architectural Institute of London.

Jo Harvey and her husband Terry have two sons and two grandsons and live with their dogs in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Marfa, Texas.

She is the recipient of The National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, ART MATTERS grants and has received wide critical acclaim.


Television appearances[edit]

Elysian Fields
Cold Sassy Tree
Scattering Dad
Floating Away
The Lazarus Man
Charlie Rose


Ghost Ship Rodez*
Warboy and the Backboard Blues*
An Evening with Terry and Jo Harvey Allen
The Embrace ...Advance To Fury*
Hally Lou*
Anti-Rabbit Bleeder/A Biography*
Do You Know Where Your Children Are Tonight?*
Leon, Lena & Lenz
A Moment’s Hesitation
Counter Angel*
As it is in Texas*

* Denotes, Original Production and National Tour


Rawhide & Roses
Every Three Minutes


External links[edit]