Monday, May 4, 2009

A Hacktress in New York

So, my friend Jeff Applegate invited me to the Tribeca Film Festival to see a movie (Duh. Really Tiz?) he was in. Turned out to be the U.S. premiere. Turned out to be An Englishman in New York. Turned out to be a loaded evening.

For those who don’t know, Englishman is about the latter years of Quentin Crisp, the 20th century’s foremost individualist. A movie about his former years, The Naked Civil Servant, probably opened the door for more closeted individuals than imaginable. Bless anyone who can offer the soundbites (and watch me misquote yet again)…

“It's no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, 'Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.' By then, pigs will be your style.”

“If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style.”

“Who would you be if you were the only person on the face of the earth? That is who you should be.”


I was in “setting the spirit free” heaven from the moment I saw Quentin strutting down the streets of New York in all his glory. In fact, I started to hyperventilate. Hadn’t hyperventilated in a movie since the talent portion of Little Miss Sunshine (“We just have to let Olive be Olive.”), or in a theater since Grey Gardens (netflixed the movie and played it continuously for two days). Is it something about the individual being so deeply who they are without reserve?

Full-frontal individuality.

Or had I seen him on my many trips to the Village in the 80s? Is that why he looked so familiar? Or did he just look so familiar because I spent so much time in the Village in the 80s. I arrived in New York in 1986 to attend Manhattan School of Music as an opera student, and crikey, I did NOT fit in. Ever. I was a bad pig farmer. But spend the end of my first week on 12th Street drinking something toxic and eating brownies with Bunny, Muffy and Trixie, watching Polyester and Pink Flamingos? Set my ballet spirit free.

Btw, Bunny, Muffy and Trixie were their after-six names. Mine? Fo Decolletage. Now it should probably be Miss Quote.

Back to the flick—John Hurt reprises his role as Quentin. Imagine having the opportunity to play the same character 30 years older 30 years later? I’ve never seen anything fit so seamlessly before. Close, really close was Jefferson Mays as the Tranny Granny in I Am My Own Wife. I almost left the business after I saw his performance because if that was acting (which it was) I certainly wasn’t doing it. And if I almost left the business then, what about now?

A Hacktress in New York.

I was a bad premiere date and bagged in the end (which was really mean ‘cause Jeff was great in the film).* I tried to brave it but when explaining my Bunny/Muffy/Trixie days I realized those glorious men were dead. I needed to go home and digest. I needed to go home and digest pig-farming and ballet-dancing and failure and style.

Maybe now that I’ve mourned the past and see the full-frontal possibilities of the future…

Tonight I’m in acting class.

*If Jeff had sucked this would not have been mean. (Sometimes I'm amazed I have friends.)


  1. I both love and hate days/moments like that. I love the feeling of "Really. I *can* do it!" but I hate the feeling of "What in the heck have I been thinking/doing all this time!?"

    My Sunday had me seeing "Legally Blonde, the Musical" in St. Paul. I drove home thinking the same things. (Live theater pretty much always does that to me.)

    Maybe we should start a pig farm together?

  2. full frontal individuality. heh. I love it.

  3. Ok, I Am My Own Wife -- you're right, Jeffrey Mays' performance was truly exquisite. Grey Gardens -- did you see the musical? It was breilliant. BRILLIANT!!!! "Jerry Loves My Corn." I love Doug Wright in all his twisted glory. May I say, I really relate to little Edie. I think there is a little of her in all of us. Maybe Big Edie too. Now I have to go and see An Englishman In New York...


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