Dated: JANUARY 3, 2005


Even more hilarious today, the snide back and forth comments between the glamorous and brilliant Germaine and the proudly sexist Mailer were almost topped by Jill Johnston's reading of her essay on the Bible's BEGATS, followed by Jill and friends rolling around on the stage, and Mailer's fatuous "Come on Jill, be a lady." Added drama (and comedy): Comments from the audience by Betty Friedan, Susan Sontag, Lucy Komisar, Cynthia Ozick and Anatole Broyard, and a flashing finale as Greer replied to Broyard's question.. "What do women want?"


(Norman Mailer, Germaine Greer)

On Monday, April 12, 2004 VFA hosted the Return Engagement of TOWN BLOODY HALL at the NATIONAL ARTS CLUB (15 Gramercy Park South, New York) -- VIDEO Screening OF THE classic and HILARIOUS 1971 SO-CALLED DEBATE ON FEMINISM
with Germaine Greer, Norman Mailer, Jacqui Ceballos, Jill Johnston Diane Trilling.

From Jacqui Ceballos...

Dear Friends

In 1971 Germaine Greer 's book "the Female Eunich" was a sensation, as was she. Norman Mailor ( whose "The Prisoner of Sex" infuriated us) was the most notorious MCP in town. The Theatre of Ideas organized a panel at Town Hall between Greer and Mailor, with Diana Trilling and Jill Johnston. They wanted a feminist activist, too, but no one would accept to be on stage with Mailor. (Kate Millett, Robin Morgan and I think, Susan Brownmiller refused).. I was president of NYC NOW and helping Shirley Broughton, the organizer, to find someone when Broughton decided she wanted me. "As president of NYC NOW, it was my duty to appear" she said. So I did -. Luckily I was the first to speak, because it was out of my element...It became a fracas between Germaine and Norman and the audience...( made up of the literati of NYC) .. It was a hilarious and stimulating evening , and is still funny today...My contribution was minimal, and thankfully I was the first to speak. But I came on with the feminist platform, which was the ammunition needed.

The VHS or DVD costs $60 ($120 for Univerisities, including performance rights.)
You can purchase the video through the Pennebaker Hegedus Films website using

Purchase Film at Pennebaker Hegedus Films

A Film by Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker
1979, 88 min., color .
Full Credits

Pennebaker Hegedus Films

First Blood In The Debate On Womenís Liberation

On the evening of April 30, 1971, a standing room only audience of local literati and feminists packed New York Cityís Town Hall to watch Norman Mailer, who had just written The Prisoner of Sex, grapple with a panel of passionate feminists. The subject was Womenís Liberation, an issue on which Mailer seemed like the devilís own advocate.

There to test him was a fearsome panel of feminist representatives, among them journalist and lesbian spokeswoman, Jill Johnston; legendary literary critic Diana Trilling; president of The National Organization of Women (NOW), Jacqueline Ceballos; and possibly his toughest match, the glamorous and razor-tongued author of The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer.

On the streets it was simply Mailer versus Greer in a knockdown debate on womenís liberation. The event, produced by Shirley Broughton and her ongoing Theater For Ideas, turned into true theater for the celebrity-stuffed audience, who vigorously offered opinions and roared their approval and disdain throughout the raucous affair. It remains the most stimulating and entertaining action to date in the continuing comedy / drama of the war between the sexes and is reverently referred to by writers on the subject.

Dated: JANUARY 3, 2005
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