Penny Arcade
performance artist
performed with Quentin Crisp in
The Last Will and Testamentof Quentin Crisp

Quentin was the soul of wit, complex but not complicated. His personality was shaped by the pain of his early years, during which he was attacked for looking and acting different. This was decades before Quentin’s particular "difference" of homosexuality had developed into a sociopolitical issue. The nature of Quentin’s humility was that which comes from being humiliated over and over again. It made him compassionate and empathetic but never righteous or proselytizing. Quentin stands as one who, simply on the strength of his intellect and individuality, shows each of us the way to self individuate, to become more completely ourselves—with no need for labels of any kind to divide or differentiate us. His suffering was not confined to his early years. His refusal to welcome the mantle of "Gay Icon" earned the wrath of many who define their identity by sexual orientation, and caused him a lot of pain. In old age, Quentin was like a monk or a mortificant. He employed his suffering to hone his understanding of the human condition. Quentin stood for human liberation—liberation from elitism, from exclusivity, from separatism. He was a modest and elegant participant in the human experience.

Copyright © 2000 by Penny Arcade and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved.
Photograph copyright © by Martin Fishman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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