VOLUME 3, ISSUE 344 | October 28 – November 3, 2004
STAR-STUDDED TRIBUTE TO
Time Out’s Adam Feldman with Larry Kramer and playwright Tony Kushner Sunday night, October 24, at the 92nd Street Y.
The 92nd Street Y celebrated the life and work of Larry Kramer on Sunday night with a reading of his works selected by playwright Tony Kushner and performed by leading lights of the New York stage. The evening was introduced by writer and Kramer friend Calvin Trillin, who said he had the honor of serving on the board of the Larry Kramer Institute at Yale, “a particular privilege because it hasn’t met yet.” In a post-performance discussion with Kushner and Time Out theatre critic Adam Feldman, Kramer chastised Yale for not using his institute to teach gay history, but queer studies which he “hates,” along with deconstructionism.
Kramer also previewed some of his negative take on the current gay movement that he will explore in a speech, “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays,” at Cooper Union on November 7 at 7 p.m. He proclaimed himself angry at “everybody,” including himself, for the community’s lack of progress. “I am motivated by what is so wrong,” he said, “and it is wrong that we are treated like such shit.”
The readings from Kramer’s fiction, plays, and polemics provoked everything from laughter to tears from the nearly full house. Raul Esparza, who recently starred in Kramer’s “Normal Heart,” and Jason Biggs of “American Pie” film fame, read the nude wrestling scene from Kramer’s screenplay for “Women in Love.” Stephen Spinella took on a hilarious description of first sex from “Faggots” as well as a devastating speech on the AIDS crisis. Linda Emond movingly read the role based on Dr. Linda Laubenstein in “Heart” opposite a heartless NIH official played by Craig Lucas. Edie Falco of “The Sopranos” read a role modeled on Kramer’s mother from “The Destiny of Me” with John Cameron Mitchell who originated the Kramer role. And Tom Hulce was Ed Koch from “Just Say No,” playing out a love/hate scene with a character based on the mayor’s former partner, Dick Nathan, read by Jeff Whitty.
“I’ve been so fortunate to have so many wonderful actors play these parts,” said Kramer.