It’s 1 a.m. and I’ve just returned from a fantastic play: The Breast of Sherry Glaser. Well, before getting home, I went to Sherry’s post-show birthday party and then on to a cafe to sit and talk with the good friends who accompanied me. We had seven in our party, which just goes to show that I have wonderful, enlightened friends. Thanks for going with me, guys. I consider myself one of the luckiest men on the planet to be able to call you all friends.
Before this gets more stream of consciousness than normal, I want to say that Sherry’s one-woman show was fantastic! Sherry is an activist, a comedian, a feminists, and an actress. She has protested, topless under the banner “Breasts Not Bombs”, and dared anyone to call what she and her cohorts were doing indecent. In fact, she defined all the things our administration has been up to as “indecent”, explaining the true meaning of the word. Oh man, how can you not love that?
So her show was fantastic, and it’s funny because I probably wouldn’t have gone except I was fortunate enough to run into her and her partner, the director of the show, at a cafe in my neighborhood. She sat across from me and my spidey senses went off, alerting me to good people in the vicinity. Yeah, I can sometimes sense good people. Anyway, in front of her, on the table, she had a couple postcards for her one-woman show. Now, I’d walked past the Marsh theater the week before and had stopped and looked at the poster, but I didn’t know that this was her, the one-woman herself, sitting across from me. So I’m looking down at the card, staring if the truth be know, trying to make sense of it in my coffee-riddled brain when she notices me staring and says, “Do you want one?” A conversation starts and a few moments later, her partner arrives. The three of us chat until they leave, which was pleasant as hell. I tell her I’m going to attend her show, and she says, as she’s walking out the door: “Come to the June 7th show – it’s my birthday – it’s going to be special!”
And special it was.
So as I said, I went to the show, and sat, surrounded by good friends, watching her ply us with her humor, her wisdom, and her heart. It’s a comedy, but it’s not the laughs that you’re left with at the end of the night. Like Sherry, you walk out of the show wanting to change the world.
So after the show I got on the bus and headed home. The bus dropped me off 18 blocks from my apartment, and rather than wait for a connecting bus, I decided to walk home.
As I walked down Fulton Street I was transported back to a time when I was twenty, leaving a friend’s dorm and walking across campus on my way home. It was about 2, maybe 3 in the morning, and if memory serves, it was a brisk Fall evening –- not unlike a summer evening here in San Francisco. As I walked across campus those many years ago, a message, written in chalk on the sidewalk, jumped out at me.
TAKE BACK THE NIGHT.
I know I’ve told you this story before, but it hit me again, tonight, the realization that the world is a much different place for men than it is for women. That this difference, this freedom that we as men take for granted, to leave the party or a friends house or a bar and just walk home, or wherever, is huge. At that moment, the twenty-year-old me understood, and it hit me hard, I guess. One of those moments, that in an instant, redefines us. Anyway, Sherry’s show and the late night walk home brought me back to that place, forced me back into that 20-year-old body and made me look down at the message scrawled beneath my feet.
That little freedom, that fearless, casual walk through the early morning darkness –- such a simple thing in the life of a man –- disturbs me almost as much as it disturbed that young man, still feeling out who he was and his place in this world, and reminds me what gender means.
Oh yeah, if you’re wondering, we got to see Sherry’s talented breasts. They ended the show with a re-enactment of the attack on the twin towers that was just too wonderful to describe. Go see it. You won’t be disappointed.