This DVD was professionally mastered at Duart in New York City and
Quentin Crisp delivered his one man show intermittently for over a decade, first in London and again, with only minor revisions after he moved to New York in 1975. An Evening with Quentin Crisp was filmed by Media Triangle pursuant to a legal agreement, at the Intar Theatre matinee on January 24, 1999. An Evening with Quentin Crisp is hilarious and darkly funny, light heartedly piercing and jovial. Mr. Crisp delivers his "messages of hope..." instructing us on how to have a life-style and how to achieve the "profession of being." In the first half of the evening, Mr. Crisp delivers a highly entertaining monolog and in the second half of the evening, he takes questions from the audience, either directly in person or from those written down during the intermission on cards.
A regal member in a stately succession of British eccentrics, Quentin communicates to the audience his sense of feminine glamour, a cure for societal woes, droll black humor and his special brand of mirth. Mr. Crisp's philosophy of life-style is at once humorous, camp, modest, unabashed and practical. Who Quentin Crisp was, is seen here, "polishing up" the historical record for a new audience since his departure to "that fabulous party at the end of the world." He was an existentialist, an insightful, theatrical, profound and intellectual witness to history. Quentin brought forth from the well of his sensibility and experience, pearls whose wisdom, style and charm are elucidated in his one man show An Evening with Quentin Crisp.
Mr. Crisp described himself as "stepping out of the cradle" and immediately being an anomaly in society; an effeminate homosexual before sex was even mentioned, and in British society where even effeminate women were considered scandalous. He assumed his identity and the name Quentin Crisp, when he was 23, hennaing his hair shocking red, wearing colorful scarves and shirts, in his simple suits, wearing sandals and "nail varnish."
Like many effeminate homosexuals Quentin was glamorous. He admired and wrote about Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich and Bette Davis: "I am so old I can remember when Bette Davis was a nice girl..." He used make-up like that of the movie stars of the 30s and 40s and he identified with the tragic romantic characters played by Ms. Garbo, which he enacts in Mr. Nossiter's remarkable documentary, Resident Alien.
Quentin Crisp was 3 years younger than my grandmother, and like her he had a commanding and imperious presence. Both were eccentric raconteurs, witty and worldly individuals with a broad grasp of the human condition. Mr. Crisp's audience identifies with him easily at the age of 90 like a grandparent who just wants us all to be happy. Having lived through the better part of the 20th century, his messages of hope are full of human tenderness and irony; there is a reparative wisdom and forgiveness in his prescriptions for each of us to progress through stages of "making," to "doing," finally to arrive at the "profession of being."
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