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MAY 15

I’m not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with it), but one of my heroes is fey octogenarian Englishman Quentin Crisp. Crisp is a master of aphorism in the Wildean tradition, minus Oscar’s anger. In his 1984 book, Manners From Heaven, Crisp writes, “The war between the sexes is the only one in which both sides regularly sleep with the enemy,” and that there is nothing “more overrated than the epidermal felicity of two featherless bipeds in desperate congress.” But Crisp has a simple formula for surviving any relationship: “You should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster,” and he’s done just that his whole life, usually as a matter of survival in his severely repressive homeland. In 1980, while in his 70s, Crisp left the one-room London apartment he had inhabited for decades for a similar box in N.Y.C., to resume a love affair with the States that began with American movies and continued with the servicing of some soldiers during WWII. But what Crisp loves most is how tolerant and polite a nation we are—an unlikely position that might only be taken by a long-ostracized foreigner. He details his life in the Big Apple in Resident Alien: The New York Diaries, and the book, like everything Crisp writes, is a mixture of brutal truth and dreamy fancy, all dressed up by a fabulous wit. Say hello to the formerly naked civil servant at 6 p.m. at Lambda Rising, 1625 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 462-6969. (Christopher Porter)