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Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Fierstein’

Harvey Fierstein – Where is our anger?

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Harvey Fierstein – Gay Pride:

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Harvey FiersteinHarvey Fierstein, a native of Brooklyn, has been a drag queen, comedian, singer, actor, playwright, screenwriter and activist. You may have seen him at the movies in Garbo Talks, Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, or Duplex; or on Broadway in Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof, or A Catered Affair; you might have heard his voice on The Simpsons or Family Guy; but Harvey is best known for Torch Song Trilogy. One of the greatest gay plays and movies of all time ― if not the greatest ― Torch Song started out as three separate plays: International Stud, Fugue in a Nursery, and Widows and Children First! The three plays about drag queen Arnold Beckhoff were merged into one, opening as Torch Song Trilogy in 1981. In 1983, it won the Drama Desk Award for Best New Play and the Tony Award for Best Play. In 1988, the film adaptation was released, and in 2004 (finally!) it was released on DVD. Get it and watch it. Seriously.

Harvey Fierstein is one of my heroes. Not because of his talent, his four Tony awards, or his career spanning damned near forty years, but because he’s one of those rare individuals who know how to tell the truth. One of many examples is his “Twelve step program to change your life”:

  • Never lie, and never let anyone cause you to lie. Truth, or the pursuit of it, is all we have.
  • Never do anything you are ashamed of. If you’re ashamed that means somewhere inside you think it’s wrong; and if you think it’s wrong, you shouldn’t be doing it.
  • Take full responsibility for yourself. You are the only one who can say what goes into or comes out of your body.
  • Always admit when you’re wrong. You’ll save thousands in therapy later — and a few friendships too.
  • Change your mind as often as possible. Just because you thought something yesterday doesn’t mean you have to think it today. Don’t ever become a prisoner of your own opinion.
  • Beware of anyone who says they know. Trust me, they don’t, or they wouldn’t have to say they did.
  • Take care of yourself first, then your family, then your friends. And if you have anything left over, share it.
  • Do something, anything, every day to change the world. It doesn’t have to be big, it could be giving a dime to a street person, planting a flower, picking up litter. Anything will change the world.
  • When you have nothing better to do, smile. You’ll have to trust me on the miracle this step brings.
  • Make a bit of time every day to be alone and think. Five or ten minutes is enough. It will keep you sane.
  • Have all the sex you want — safe sex. Get lust out of your way. It’s the only way I know to make sure you fall in love for the right reasons. And I want you all to find true love.
  • Learn something new every day. Read a newspaper article that you wouldn’t normally read. Open a dictionary to a word you never heard, or never understood.
  • With that, here’s a clip from a 1983 interview and few clips from Torch Song Trilogy:

    Interview, 1983

    Drag performance

    Arnold and Ma, part 1

    Arnold and Ma, part 2

    Arnold and Ma, part 3

    See also:
    Harvey’s MySpace page

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    Went With the Wind, Part 1

    Went With the Wind, Part 2

    Ted Knight – The Knight Life
    The Knight Life

    Ty Barnett – Utah

    Chris Harding – We the Robots
    We the Robots - Sexy Body

    Harvey Fierstein – Heterosexuals
    This video can’t be embedded; see it here.

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