Hosting One of My Favorite Events for One of My Favorite Arts Orgs
New Dramatists is an extraordinary organization. Based in New York City, in an old church on 44th street near Hell's Kitchen, it was founded many years ago--70? 80? I'm not sure--to support playwrights. When I moved to New York I did a ton of work there--readings and workshops of new plays with an amazing group of writers and directors. In fact, one of my greatest honors of my career was being awarded the Charles Bowden prize, which they give to actors who've supported the work of playwrights.
Last night, I went to the city to host one of their annual fundraisers. This one is called NOCTURNAL COMMISSIONS--funny, right? A group of donors is assembled and they commission short plays that are written on the spot. After dinner and a bit of socializing, the donors and other guests go upstairs to the former sanctuary and are treated to a performance of all of the short plays that have been written, staged and then performed by a group of actors.
It's an extraordinary event. So fun and exciting and powerful. Watching artists make work on the spot is always thrilling. And, seeing 'civilians' become a part of that process--it's great.
It's important to make things--plays, songs, paintings, dances, websites, cartoons, blogs, pottery--and to find the generosity to share what we make with others. So much of what I'm thinking about right now is generosity and vulnerability. We need these characteristics -- to be able to share ourselves and our work and our projects and our visions--and to invite others to join us.
Here's to making art together--in all kinds of ways.
In Honor of National Coming Out Day
National Coming Out Day. What a funny holiday, unlikely, to say the least. It's not something I think about a lot, coming out, now that I'm 53 and married to my husband and living an out life that reflects my values. IT certainly used to be something that consumed a lot of my time--worrying about it. COMING OUT. So, as the day was coming to an end, I wanted to commemorate it in some way.
Things that make us feel seen.
I began to think about the things that have made me feel seen, especially when I was young and confused and afraid. Growing up gay, I remember watching for any sign of gayness--in books, tv and movies. It's hard growing up with no models, or no healthy models. This got me to thinking about gay movies. My friend Stephen Webber and I often talk about what are the good gay movies?
I made a list. My sort-of in order, top ten gay movies of all time.
Have you ever tried to make a top ten list? My friends and I actually have a game called Top Ten and you just pick a category and make a list of top then things: salad dressings, fruits, kinds of shoes, trees, rollercoasters, jazz singers--you get the idea. But, making a definitive list of movies, gay movies at that, proved challenging. I LOVE SO MANY OF THEM!
I shared my post on facebook:
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I like my list. It's a good list. Of course as soon as I made it I realized I had to cheat to allow for more than just ten so I did that thing that always bugs me in all of those end-of-year movie lists, I created a few ties. As soon as I got ok with that I realized there were so many more movies that I didn't include. I shared some of those in a chunk of text below the list. Then, because I'm not an idiot and I expected a lot of gay blowback (ahem), and because what else is social media good for if not for crowdsourcing--I asked which movies I had forgotten. Now, the list is appended with a HUGE list of recommendations. I'll work to make this more presentable. In the meantime. Here's the list:
9. HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
7. THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT
6. HEAVENLY CREATURES/MYSTERIOUS SKIN
4. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
3. HAPPY TOGETHER
2. MOONLIGHT/PARIS IS BURNING
1. MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE
but, wait, what about Far From Heaven, Prick Up Your Ears, Keep the Lights On, Blue is the Warmest Color, BOYS IN THE BAND!!, Cruising, Maurice, Weekend, My Own Private Idaho, Midnight Cowboy, High Art, Boys Don't Cry, Dog Day Afternoon, Beginners, All About My Mother and VICTOR/VICTORIA?!?
What else am I forgetting? [edit: Querelle, Parting Glances, Swimming Pool, Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, John Waters!, Entre Nous, Carol, Talented Mr. Ripley, Satyricon, Notes on a Scandal, Caravaggio, Edward II, Taxi Zum Klo, Beautiful Thing, The Hours, A Home at the End of the World, Velvet Goldmine, Lust in the Dust, Sebastiane, Go Fish, I Love You Philip Morris, Tarnation, Law of Desire, Shortbus, Times Square, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Rope, Torch Song Trilogy, Bent, Death in Venice, Suddenly Last Summer, Tea and Sympathy, Brideshead Revisited, Philadelphia, A Single Man, Beginners, Another Country and an incredible Japanese film called Funeral Parade of Roses]
Ok, top ten lists are bullshit. But Happy Coming Out Day!