Posts Tagged ‘dan savage’

Quote of the day: QUEER

June 25, 2016

QUEER

Q: What about the whole phenomenon of queer celebrity? I’m thinking about Caitlyn Jenner. Does her very public transition make a difference for social change?

A: Sometimes we get it backwards. Average, ordinary, unknown queer people coming out made it possible for queer celebrities to exist, not the other way around. But it does become a self-reinforcing dynamic. Now queer celebrities make the world safer for average, ordinary queer people to be out. But there weren’t out queer celebrities until average, ordinary queer people started coming out.

In much the same way, now you see out professional athletes, like Michael Sam. And the skier who just came out, Jason Collins, who I admire tremendously. I think he’s wonderful. And every time they come out, there’s always a lot of talk about shattering stereotypes, such as the one about gay men being bad at sports or effeminate. But it was really the hairdressers and ballet dancers that changed the world and made it safe for Jason Collins to come out, not the other way around. It was the queer people who couldn’t hide that made the world safe for queer people who could and, for a very long time, did choose to hide.

–Dan Savage, interviewed by Suzanne Stroh in The Gay and Lesbian Review

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In last week’s New Yorker

January 18, 2012

I’m not a huge shopper and can’t imagine reading a magazine like Lucky, but I enjoy reading Patricia Marx’s special brand of shopping dispatches for the New Yorker. Last week she concentrated her laser-beam observational skills on NYC supermarkets. Of my very favorite, Fairway, she had this to say: “The main store, at Broadway and Seventy-Fourth Street, can be an anxiety-filled combat zone. Are you tough enough to venture into the crowd and do battle with the strollers, the walkers, the killer shopping carts, and the line-cutting, salt-phobic, food-sample-noshing regulars, each of whom has more neuroses than you’ll find in the waiting room of the average West End Avenue shrink? No wonder the management hired a woman last year whose job is simply to roam the store, being nice to customers.”  And at Dean & DeLuca in Soho: “As for the chocolates, delicate hand-carved and painted pieces of sculpture: in the words of one friend, never eat anything prettier than you are.”

In his review of Jodi Kantor’s book on the Obamas, David Remnick gives it more credence than I would have imagined, plucking out numerous good quotes” “Obama was elected to lead ‘a rational, postracial, moderate country that is looking for sensible progress,’ a White House official tells Kantor. ‘Except, oops, it’s an enraged, moralistic, harsh, desperate country. It’s a disconnect he can’t bridge.”

Then there’s the hilarious Talk of the Town piece by Andrew Marantz in which some Brooklyn Republicans watching the results of the Iowa caucuses discover by Googling the way Rick Santorum’s name has been repurposed, under the instigation of columnist Dan Savage. It’s weird that Marantz describes the definition of santorum as “unprintable,” given the various verbal barriers that the once-staid New Yorker has leapt over in recent years, but whatever. (Google it yourself and see.) But I love that Marantz contacted Savage himself for a response. Asked by e-mail if he felt he had helped make history, Dan Savage wrote back: “No, I’ve made mischief.”

And it’s an issue with a high ratio of especially good cartoons, too.

Performance diary: THE KID

May 8, 2010

May 6 – I’ve been hearing about The Kid, the musical adaptation of Dan Savage’s book about adopting a child with his boyfriend, for several years. A friend of Stephen’s, Michael Zam, wrote the book, and with his partners lyricist Jack Lechner and composer Andy Monroe he has been chasing down producers until Scott Elliott agreed to mount the show at the New Group, directing it himself. And it’s terrific: funny, honest, entertaining, smart, and theatrical, not unlike, say, the musicals of Bill Finn. It tells a real and compelling story with a lot of humor but also a lot of heart, and it’s shockingly free of bogus moments that pander either to the audience or to some tradition of musical theater.

The real Dan Savage is a larger-than-life character already, an incredibly smart, sharp-tongued and potty-mouthed sex columnist and political commentator. I was amazed at how successfully the musical created a stage version of Dan that refers to the real-life guy and yet becomes a separate entity – a tribute to the writing and the directing but mostly to the performance of Christopher Sieber. I’ve never felt one way or another about Sieber, but he really puts out here. It’s a little shocking that he’s chubbed up for the part, which makes him NOT look like Dan Savage, but he stays wonderfully true to the character’s highly neurotic, rage-filled smartass and yet completely inhabits a very intimate vulnerability. Lucas Steele as his boyfriend Terry is fine but somewhat thinly drawn – it’s hard to know what Dan sees in him, other than his being “young and cute” (not my taste, but whatever). But their relationship is sexy and feisty and culturally plugged in (I love the role Bjork plays in their life). And the rest of the cast is absolutely terrific – minor superstars of contemporary New York theater including Ann Harada (Christmas Eve in Avenue Q), Tyler Maynard (Altar Boyz), the spectacularly pale and skinny Brooke Sunny Moriber (The Wild Party, The Dead, Parade), and especially Susan Blackwell (of [title of show] fame), who plays the woman from the adoption agency who serves as liaison to the birth mother whose baby the guys adopt. The story has plenty of potential for both zany comedy and dramatic tension, and the treatment of the birth mother – Melissa, a homeless alcoholic teenager – is handled with extraordinary respect and restraint. She’s very well played by Jeannine Frumess, and everything about her has a different tone than Life At Home with Dan and Terry. The score carefully walks a line between storytelling and show-biz. There’s a modesty about it that I really liked, and there are several moments that are genuinely touching. Melissa’s song, “Sparechangin’,” is a dramatic highpoint that shifts the show to an intriguing deeper layer. Many of the songs are chatty and fun, along the lines of, say, Falsettos or Baby, with the occasional change-of-pace blast (“Seize the Day”). But at key moments things drop into truer and realer in a way that feels really solid (the candidate for instant classic is “I Knew,” a PFLAG anthem if I ever heard one, nicely sung by Jill Eikenberry as Dan’s mother). Bravo to this team for pulling it off. I think The Kid is going to be a hit.

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