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What's New(s)-updated 4/24/2010

—June 2010. Polis is This and Lowell Blues screening, National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 20565 Tel: 202.842.6272
—October 9th, 2010. Charles Olson Centenary Festival, Gloucester, MA. Polis is This.
Archive of Things Past


  • Polis Is This
  • Lowell Blues
  • Prez
  • Poem in Action
  • Know Fish
  • Witch City
  • Radio Fishtown
  • Loco in Euzkadi
  • Leather Soul
  • Last Call

  • Middle Street
  • Who is Sylvia
  • Ray Parson
  • Sandy's Jazz Revival

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  • World of Arco
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  • UMass-Boston
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Who is Sylvia?
Video

"Who Is Sylvia?
Who is Sylvia? what is she,
That all the 'queens' commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be."
with apologies to William Shakespeare
in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV, ii, 40


For 45 years, Sylvia Sidney (1930-1998) applied lipstick, butterfly lashes, a cascading hairpiece, stepped into a flaming sequined gown and flounced into the spotlight. Born to Jewish immigrants during the Great Depression, at sixteen years Sidney Sushman declared himself Sylvia Sidney. "Her" story spans a 50 year history of gay life in post World War II Boston. Sylvia is a survivor, someone who has lived through the repression of the '50s, the euphoria of the '60s, the bacchanalia of the '70s, and the tragedies of the '80s and '90s. A self-proclaimed raconteur, Sylvia kept an active schedule performing in gay bars throughout New England. Her act is a combination of monologue, story telling, and impersonations. Unlike many drag queens who, as Sylvia says, "want to be ladies," Sylvia's act is all her own. She mocks, berates, and criticizes, reminding her primarily gay, white, male, middle-class audience of "What's the sense of being gay if you guys can't take a joke?" Due to unsuccessful fundraising this film was never completed.


Then to Sylvia let us sing
That Sylvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garland bring.

with further apologies to William Shakespeare
in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV, ii, 40

 

VIDEO


(5'43)
QuickTime (4.3MB)

 

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available here.

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 Henry Ferrini, Ferrini Productions Inc.
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