"I WAS BETTER LAST NIGHT: A MEMOIR BY HARVEY FIERSTEIN"--A MUST READ!
Instead of writing a review of this book I wish I could send everyone who is gay--oh hell, everyone I know, gay or not-- a copy of Fierstein's memoir! Reading this book I forgot the world outside and when I read the last page I wished there was a sequel ready to be read.
In the last decade this is the second book* I've read that just wouldn't leave me, blending in my life, my thoughts, my night time dreams and as I write this I want to write what this man wrote for you to read. I want you to discover not the celebrity, not the man who has had 20 theatre nominations and won 10, the man who has written, acted, sung in, approximately 30 movies, 9 plays, 40 TV shows, 4 video games, but the man behind all this.
The man, who recently said in an interview, talking about gender, that if he had been born in the 1980s would he be a woman now and in another interview if he wanted to transition he answered, simply, "No, I am comfortable being me."
Mr. Fierstein is 16 years younger than me and yet he followed a path similar in many ways like I did for the first 30 years of his life. We were both born in New York City, he in Brooklyn and me in the Bronx, he cruised the west side docks and bars, got lost in the back rooms of bars, he discovered the world of alcoholism, attempted suicide--for different reasons and at different times in our lives.
He can say at the age of 70 that he is comfortable with who he is as I can say at the age of 86 I have felt that way since I was 34. We also are similar in regards to partners but I'll let you read his version!
He gets into stories about his shows like "Torch Song Trilogy", "La Cage Aux Folles" (oh how I wish I had heard and seen him sing "I Am What I Am"!). "Fiddler On The Roof", "Kinky Boots", making "Mrs. Doubtfire" and who will ever forget his Edna Turnblad in "Hairspray"? And no matter how many times I have seen and heard Jack tell Kathryn in "Newsies", "....but I'm afraid of you!" I melt!
I have seen 3 different actors play Arnold, including Mr. Fierstein, on stage in "Torch Song Trilogy" and I have watched him in the film version at least 6 times and every time his speech to his mother about people not accepting for whom he is always leaves me in a puddle of tears.
Yes, there is some 'backstage' gossip but don't look for trash talk as he seems to forget/ignore those he doesn't like but he takes the time to throw a barb here and there while at the same time shows respect to those he has worked with and/or loved.
I haven't really told you much--hinted at a few things--because I would rather you read and hear them in Harvey Fierstein's voice as they will certainly have an impact on you!
*The other book: "GAY LIKE ME: A FATHER WRITES TO HIS SON" BY RICHIE JACKSON