Monday, April 20, 2009

Utter Bravery

Donnie was not a close personal friend, but I feel this loss deeply. He is an icon of a time that this generation of young gay people don't know or understand.

It is on the shoulders of Donnie Jay and many men and women like him that we stand now, able to look the world straight in the eye - so to speak - and demand to be treated like equals. There are things that Donnie had seen in his lifetime that I cannot begin to comprehend.

Always the consummate entertainer, Donnie did some of the most hilarious (and at times, hilariously inappropriate and dreadful!) drag - even after losing half his foot due to diabetes. I heard him once quip that he was headed out on the town to "kick up his heel"...

And he just didn't care what the world thought - he is the personification of Stephen Sondheim's stunning "I'm Still Here" from Follies, but that's not the song I associated with his passing last week.

There are many definitions of bravery, and exponentially more quotes about it too...I found this one via Google, and didn't know the author's names so I googled that too. There's something deliciously fitting, and somewhat campy in the way that would tickle Donnie Jay - it's from Meg Cabot, author of the Princess Diaries.

“Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. For now you are traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be."
Meg Cabot

Donnie Jay knew who he was - and lived and lived and lived. And the world is a little dimmer without his light. And here's what I have had playing in my head since hearing of his passing: George Hearn, and no other, singing "I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles.

3 comment(s):

Vatican Lokey

What a lovely tribute to Donnie; thanks. I've known Donnie for over 15 years, and not as a performer. Donnie and I first met working together at the old Andrew Jaeger's House of Seafood on Rue Conti in the Vieux Carre when he was the head chef and I was on the waitstaff. We hit if off instantly and have been friends ever since. It wasn't until many years later that we ever saw one another onstage. The first time he came to one of my shows was "Grand Hotel."

Imagine that, Count.

He will be missed by many, but never, ever duplicated.


Agreed. Thanks for stopping by - hugs. K

soccer mom in denial

Ugh. Another loss. I'm so sorry darling. I can't wait to hug you. Soon.

What a terrific tribute.

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