The speaker at the Human Rights Campaign‘s recent New Orleans dinner was Patricia Clarkson, the Emmy-winning and Academy Award–nominated star of Elegy, the forthcoming Woody Allen film Whatever Works, and two of my favorite films, Pieces of April and The Station Agent. And, she is, I have to say, possessor of what may be the sexiest voice on the planet.
Clarkson, who delivered the keynote speech, is a New Orleans native. She opened her address by quoting playwright Tennessee Williams. “After all,” she said. “This is New Orleans and I did play Blanche Dubois.”
These are, she said, Williams words, and are inscribed on his gravestone:
The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.
She repeated the line again before continuing. The meaning she said, is clear to her:
The hard, the cold, the oppressive will, at long last, be broken apart by a force that is beautiful, natural, colorful, and alive.
Clarkson continued by speaking out about the injustices and lack of legal rights for gay couples, including the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (DADT).
“The rocks are breaking, and it’s time to call certain people out on the hypocrisy of their stance on gay marriage,” Clarkson said, before encouraging political activism as a way to combat opponents of gay rights.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t be in New Orleans to hear Clarkson live, but HRC has furnished this video so we can all listen (and swoon).