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Posted: 11/27/2003 11:42:58 AM EDT
I didn't see this in the part of the parade I watched.


Fierstein Plays Mrs. Claus in Parade

By MICHAEL BRICK, The New York Times

NEW YORK (Nov. 27) - Gather round, my lovelies. 'Tis that very special season. The turkey is roasting. The family is here. And a flamboyant, guttural-voiced openly gay male cross-dresser is having it out with a unit of a corporate retail conglomerate capitalized at more than $8 billion.



AP
Actor Harvey Fierstein as Mrs. Claus in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

It must be Thanksgiving time in New York.

Making this year's celebration memorable, the actor Harvey Fierstein and the producers of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade engaged one another yesterday in a fierce and somewhat indirect debate over whether or not the parade is a sacred institution that should be regarded as above politics.

The festivities began when Mr. Fierstein wrote an Op-Ed article in The New York Times using the fact of his scheduled appearance in the parade as a rhetorical device to introduce a meditation on the politics of same-sex marriage. The Santa Claus in today's parade would be half of a same-sex couple, he declared, with him as the other half, "dressed in holiday finery portraying the one and only Mrs. Claus."

By the end of the day, it was clear that tradition would hold: Santa Claus would be on the final sleigh float, accompanied by Mrs. Claus, a woman. Mr. Fierstein would be on a separate float. But the confusion set Macy's, owned by Federated Department Stores, on a madcap public relations campaign to distance its parade from his opinions without addressing the topics he raised.

In the morning, Macy's officials quickly issued their first statement: "The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the icon of the Thanksgiving Holiday. It has delighted and entertained families throughout the world for 76 years. The parade has never and will never be a platform for political and social issues and opinions."

The statement emphasized that Mr. Fierstein would be dressed not as Mrs. Claus but as "his beloved character Mrs. Edna Turnblad of the Broadway hit musical `Hairspray.' "

But then the actor's costume designer said that Mrs. Edna Turnblad, as portrayed by Mr. Fierstein, would be dressed as Mrs. Claus. That notion put Santa in the delicate position of sending mixed signals. Perhaps because Mr. Claus is a character famed far and wide for diplomacy and, above all, minimal disclosure, the debate quickly took on a life of its own.

"We couldn't get off this subject," Curtis Sliwa, a co-host of a WABC radio call-in program, said in a telephone interview. During five hours on the air, he said, callers deconstructed many of the issues raised by Mr. Fierstein and his article, and questioned whether it was appropriate to use the parade as a political pulpit.

Macy's kept a narrow focus on separating the politics from the parade.

Company officials did not return repeated calls to discuss the dispute, but they did provide a telephone number for more information. At that number, a woman's recorded voice read the statement aloud in its entirety, highlighting certain words with a lilting emphasis: "Families," "never" and "beloved."

This did little to clear up the matter of whether Mr. Fierstein would serve through the Mrs. Turnblad character as a gay Mrs. Claus. So his costume designer, William Ivey Long, tried to elucidate things by describing the outfit that Mr. Fierstein planned to wear in the parade. He said it was a Balenciaga swing coat worn over a floor-length pencil skirt with a stamped red velvet jacket with fake fur collar and cuffs topped with a white fake fur French beret.

"Those are just words," Mr. Long said. "The effect is, of course, insane."

He added that the notion of the identity of Mrs. Claus would be further complicated because, just as in "Hairspray," those viewing Mr. Fierstein's costume would be expected to suspend their disbelief and see only Mrs. Turnblad dressed as Mrs. Claus, not Mr. Fierstein dressed as Mrs. Turnblad dressed as Mrs. Claus.

"The semantics are confusing," Mr. Long said.

Addressing that confusion, Macy's issued a revised statement later in the day. This version noted that Mr. Fierstein would not appear on the main Santa Claus float but rather on a separate float "in Edna's interpretation of Mrs. Claus."

It continued, "As for Mrs. Claus herself, she will be appearing with Santa on Santa's sleigh, as part of the Grand Finale of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."

The names of the other floats in the parade make clear that the celebration is thoroughly devoid of political and social advocacy. These include Amica Insurance's American Classic Malt Shop Float, Hershey Foods' Kids Candy Creation Lab, Amerada Hess's Bridge to the Future, and the float that will carry Mr. Fierstein dressed as Mrs. Turnblad dressed as Mrs. Claus, Macy's Percy & the P-Birds.

Mr. Fierstein said in a telephone interview after the matinee performance of "Hairspray" yesterday that the point of his Op-Ed article was being missed or obscured.

"I'm not saying Santa is gay," Mr. Fierstein said. "I'm not saying I'm the real Mrs. Claus. I'm saying, `Look what gay Americans do.' "

He added that the disagreement with Macy's was not substantive, as it did not directly address the issue of gay marriage, which was the point of his article.

"As far as Macy's and I go," Mr. Fierstein said, "Macy's is a store; it's not a political organization."


11-27-03 10:20 EST

Copyright © 2003 The New York Times Company.

Link Posted: 11/27/2003 6:32:16 PM EDT
Nobody saw this, even they wrote about it?
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 7:50:06 PM EDT
It was on CBS (I think) maybe NBC, I don't remember what was on on the tube as the getting everything together to go over the river and through the woods was extra hectiv due to one of the killer bassets being rendered non-ambulatory. He was dressed in more or less the a Mrs Claus cosstume in the "Hairspray" wig and make-up. He is playing the part Divine played in the Movie Hairspray in the current Broadway production of Hairspray. If you don't remember Divine and Hairspray, well it's just a little too complicated to go into here. Take into account that this parade has been a commercial venture for years and promoting the Broadway Shows and other shows in NYC is a major reason for it's existence. If you can't handle that the days of Maureen O'Hara, Edmund Gwynne and John Payne are over don't watch it. I usually don't, but it keeps the kids out of the way.
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 8:04:38 PM EDT
Both of my daughters watched that freak part of the parade and both screamed: "Eeewwww!!! That's a MAN!" The little one said, "That's just WRONG." [;D]
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 9:09:57 PM EDT
OMG they actually DID show it. Dude, the parade is NOT for adults man... It may be funny for a adult audience-especially for all the people like my Dad who absolutely LOTHES the holiday season. Just like jokes about drunk shopping mall santas. But the two or three year olds aren't going to understand. You'll get off lucky if they just get pissed and want to know where they hid the real Mrs. Claus.
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 9:38:24 PM EDT
Why must those Damn fags ruin everything?
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 12:26:47 AM EDT
So, uhh, your kids thought all the balloon holders dressed up as elves or other things were really elves? or do they understand the concept of costumes? I don't suppose you hide them away on Halloween? They can't handle the concept of somebody in a costume or did you decide to give them a lecture on alternative lifestyles right then? The coverage of that parade has been theatre-centric for as long as I can remember and that goes back to the days of Captain Kangaroo. Just tell them it's a costume if their kids, when they get old enough to understand the more gruesome details, then tell them. I expect you've already taught them that NYC liberals are generally not nice people and are gun-banners. (That's all they need to know at a young age.)
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 1:41:41 AM EDT
[b]Drag Queen appeared as Mrs. Claus in Macy's parade! Did they show this on TV?[/b] I told Uncle Henry not to tell [b]anyone[/b] that he was in the parade! (He always did like to dress up! [:D]) [devil]
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 2:23:50 AM EDT
Featured this "ITEM" in the news coverage AT least two taglines before showing the full bit! Which consisted of "Fat Harv" (dressed as Mrs. Claus) blowing kisses as he passed by riding on a sleigh float! When they first said it I thought "WTF"! It's a Christmas Parade!!!! Spreading the "GAY Gospel" to the kids (still!) (again!) give me a break!!!!!!! [:x*]
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 2:32:32 AM EDT
[puke]
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 7:14:58 AM EDT
Well, isn't that special? Militant homosexuals, like militant Muslims, will use any forum or attempt to take over any debate, to spread their sickness to the widest possible audience. Queer jihad!! If it wasn't for a cabal of closeted homosexual doctors working in secret in the early 1970s, homosexuality would still be correctly included in the DSM and addressed as a mental illness rather than a "lifestyle." Instead, we get a vile pervert like Harvey Fierstein in women's clothing sickening an entire nation during what should be a fun and innocent event designed and intended for children. Isn't progress wonderful?
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 10:59:29 AM EDT
He wasn't dressed as, or pretending to be, Mrs. Claus. He was dressed as the character he plays in a show (Broadway?) wearing Christmassy clothes.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 11:09:43 AM EDT
Originally Posted By FLAL1A: He wasn't dressed as, or pretending to be, Mrs. Claus. He was dressed as the character he plays in a show (Broadway?) wearing Christmassy clothes.
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You're wrong. Read the article again:
The Santa Claus in today's parade would be half of a same-sex couple, he declared, with him as the other half, "dressed in holiday finery portraying the one and only Mrs. Claus."
View Quote
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 11:21:58 AM EDT
CNN, of course, used him as the ONLY clip from the parade when I turned it on after work yesterday. Then I promptly switched to FoxNews after the headlines. FOX NEWS needs a headline format, ASAP!
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 11:55:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PaDanby: So, uhh, your kids thought all the balloon holders dressed up as elves or other things were really elves? or do they understand the concept of costumes? I don't suppose you hide them away on Halloween? They can't handle the concept of somebody in a costume or did you decide to give them a lecture on alternative lifestyles right then? The coverage of that parade has been theatre-centric for as long as I can remember and that goes back to the days of Captain Kangaroo. Just tell them it's a costume if their kids, when they get old enough to understand the more gruesome details, then tell them. I expect you've already taught them that NYC liberals are generally not nice people and are gun-banners. (That's all they need to know at a young age.)
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Ma, You really do need a nice hot cup of WAKE THE F*** UP!
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 1:02:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:
Originally Posted By FLAL1A: He wasn't dressed as, or pretending to be, Mrs. Claus. He was dressed as the character he plays in a show (Broadway?) wearing Christmassy clothes.
View Quote
You're wrong. Read the article again:
The Santa Claus in today's parade would be half of a same-sex couple, he declared, with him as the other half, "dressed in holiday finery portraying the one and only Mrs. Claus."
View Quote
View Quote
Actually, I watched it and heard the commentary as it happened. "There's Harvey Fierstein (sp?) as Divine from the hit yakayakyak in a Christmas outfit specially designed by SumGaiGie of Paris." BTW, if he was supposed to be Mrs. Claus, she was going stag - or whatever.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 1:23:08 PM EDT
Well this blows all to hell my latest post i was going to make, it was gonna be titled: "Hey guys, did you see me in the parade?!?!"
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 4:07:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By FLAL1A: Actually, I watched it and heard the commentary as it happened. "There's Harvey Fierstein (sp?) as Divine from the hit yakayakyak in a Christmas outfit specially designed by SumGaiGie of Paris." BTW, if he was supposed to be Mrs. Claus, she was going stag - or whatever.
View Quote
While his message may not have transmitted well without his narration, his intention is crystal clear from his statement in the article.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 4:16:45 PM EDT
We need pics of Fineswine...
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