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07/03/2008

Why should the 4th get all the glory?

by Jeremy Hooper

As a way to end the work week, most sites will of course honor the upcoming fireworks-laden holiday. We, however, like to do things a little differently. So as we bid you adieu on this 3rd of July, we want to remind you to take a little time over the next few days to not only watch gunpowder explode in the sky, char animal flesh over an open flame, and cook yourself in the carcinogenic sun for hours on end, but also to stop and recognize:

Picture 4-149

Yes, that's right -- Fifth of July. A terrific late '70s play play that was written by openly gay playwright Lanford Wilson, that features a lead character who is in a healthy same-sex relationship, and whose 1982 TV production starred the same-sex-lovin' Cynthia Nixon. Plus, the out gay writer who's speaking to you right now was fortunate enough to have worked on (in a PR capacity) the off-Broadway revival that was staged back in 2003. What can be gayer than all that: Seeing how many fat wieners some dudes can suck down in ten minutes? I think not!

So happy Fifth of July, dear readers. Regular G-A-Y updates will resume Monday, July 7. In the meantime, feel free to see what you might have missed over the past seven days: This Week in G-A-Y.

**Bonus: After the jump, watch a Fifth of July trailer that some students made for their college production:

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Your thoughts

Okay, first of all: Loved the trailer, especially the way they synced Joe Cocker's wail to Shirley Talley's.
I saw the PBS production of "Fifth of July" that featured young Cynthia as 12-year-old Shirley (I think she was about 15 or 160 and was extremely impressed by her. When "Sex and the City" bowed, I was a little startled by the red hair. (Incidentally, she wasn't in the original stage version-the actress who played her was Amy Wright, who was almost 30!)
But of course it was the gay characters that caught my attention. I was still a teenager when this aired in the summer of '82, and there weren't a lot of images of GLBT people to choose from back then, so I'd actively search for any, in a lot of cases being greatly dissappointed (I even watched the 1969 movie "The Detective"-huge mistake when you're 15.) Here was a fairly sane, NORMAL gay couple who were fully accepted by their family and friends. I'd never seen that before. The fact that Jeff Daniels was still kinda hot back then and wore cutoffs through most of it helped. (I liked Richard Thomas, but I wish they'd persuaded Christopher Reeve, who originated the role, to appear.) It really meant a lot to me at the time.
And Swoosie Kurtz rocks.

Posted by: Bill S | Jul 3, 2008 9:18:06 PM

Agree about Swoosie. I own the DVD -- she's great.

In the 2003 production with which I was involved, Parker Posey played the Swoosie (Gwen) role. Different but also good.

Glad someone else shares my good feelings about the production!

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 3, 2008 9:24:50 PM

Darn typo. I obviously meant to say Cynthia Nixon was 15 or 16 when she appeared in "Fifth of July".
At least I hope it was obvious! :)

Posted by: Bill S | Jul 3, 2008 9:26:52 PM

It's funny-if I'd been mentally casting the revival, Parker's the actress I'd see as Gwen. Who played Kenneth Talley?

Posted by: Bill S | Jul 3, 2008 9:29:55 PM

Robert Sean Leonard for most of the run. Michael Cerveris came in at the end.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 3, 2008 9:34:57 PM

Jeremy - you're a pearl among pearls! Have a really good holiday.

db

Posted by: dave b | Jul 4, 2008 12:03:29 AM

I remember the TV production on PBS in Chicago. It did mean a lot -- I even called Channel 11 to thank them for running it.

And yes, Jeremy, you are gold among the dross.

Posted by: Hunter | Jul 4, 2008 6:30:34 AM

I love Robert Sean Leonard. Did you ever see "In the Gloaming"? Excellant made-for-tv movie directed by Christopher Reeve, and, maddeningly, not currently available on DVD.
Was he a good guy to work with? I'd be crushed to learn he was a dick.

Posted by: Bill S | Jul 4, 2008 6:59:53 AM

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