An Evening With Quentin Crisp, The Courier
The Courier, Vienna, May 23, 1995
Festival Week 95: An Evening with Quentin Crisp
While others go into retirement when they are 65, he just stepped into the limelight: Quentin Crisp, British dandy, living in New York City. In the mid sixties, he wrote about his childhood as a gay bird of paradise in sooty London, "The Naked Civil Servent". Since then, he has been making a name for himself as a movie queen, "Orlando," posed for a Calvin Klein perfume ad, and pop star Sting, wrote for him the ballad, "Englishman in New York."
Not a bad career for an old man. Meanwhile, one thing that the 86 year old hasn't done yet: A performace on the mainland of Europe. The Vienna Festival made it happen. They invited the likewise cranky and lucid aphorist for a night at the Theater an der Wien.
There he was with his lilac colored hat, "the gift of a bishop," a stirring voice, and a large amount of intelligent remarks in his head. How does he as an old bachelor, battle the dust in his living room? "Very easy. After one lets it sit for four years, it doesn't become any worse." How does the celebrated pioneer of the gay movement live? "I am living in a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan."
Dry, wise, eloquent: This is the kind of humour one likes to listen to, but much too seldom hears live. The questions were asked by the American performance artist Penny Arcade. She provoked lots of originality from Mr. Crisp regarding trans-atlantic differences, the role of sex, and the never-ending theme of AIDS and activism.
All who were able to attand this experience, listened with animated looks. And they knew that they were witnesses of a rare happening at the Festival.