Browsing: Thirty Years of HIV, Part II

May – June, 2011

0

REMEMBER the “good old days” of AIDS service delivery, back when AIDS itself was still a terrifying epidemic? Not knowing how long we could keep our friends alive, wondering who would be next to fall ill-the tension kept us on edge. In the beginning, those of us touched by the virus, whether ourselves, our friends, or our lovers-we were alive back then, even amid the terror, anger, and death.

We held meetings, founded nonprofit service agencies, and started free clinics. We formed support groups, held auctions, dances, and AIDS walks, and sponsored bike rides. We scraped for money any way we could. We demonstrated, lobbied, wrote letters, organized. We wept, grieved and then wept some more. We found ourselves so far past grief that all we could do some days was laugh at the lunacy of death’s intrusion upon our young lives. We fought with those who feared and hated us. We fought with each other, our allies, among ourselves. We felt immersed in the moment and the times. We experienced a deep connection to each other-and to those who had died. We struggled together to make sense of it all, to bring some meaning into the sadness and sorrow.

By the late 1990’s, it appeared that we were succeeding, too. …

More
Patti LuPone: A Memoir by Patti LuPone, with Digby Diehl
0

PATTI LUPONE, who became something of a gay icon in the total role of Gypsy in its 2008 Broadway revival, was born into a Long Island family filled with drama. Rumor had it that her maternal grandmother was a bootlegger who had something to do with Grandpa’s murder. One of LuPone’ aunts was a belly dancer. LuPone’s own parents were divorced at a time when divorce was uncommon. With all this drama in the family, it should come as no surprise that LuPone knew by the age of four that she wanted to become a performer.

More
0

THE FACT THAT Ronald Firbank was an innovator in his medium, that he was a humorous commentator on social mores, has long been recognized. That his novels are wise as well as witty has not been generally acknowledged, a fact that may be due to the strong influence of Oscar Wilde upon his work. However, as literary and cultural criticism has come increasingly to appreciate Wilde as a major writer and as a prophet of our age, Firbank’s fortunes have risen accordingly.

More
0

HERE IS A BOOK that interweaves fiction, social commentary, history, and satire. Eileen Myles’ Inferno offers different attractions to different readers: …

More
All a Novelist Needs: Colm Tóibín on Henry James Edited by Susan M. Griffin
0

When I first heard that Tóibín had written a novel about Henry James, I wondered why. We already had five volumes of the Leon Edel biography. What could fiction add to fact? The answer was a portrait of loneliness. This was an audacious thing to do; there was a certain chutzpah about The Master. Now comes All a Novelist Needs, a collection of book reviews and essays by Tóibín that reflects his deep immersion in the considerable literature by and about James.

More
0

THE OPENING PORTION of We Were Here, David Weissman and Bill Weber’s new documentary about the early years of AIDS in San Francisco, is one of surprising humor, even celebration. Using on-screen recollections of the film’s interview subjects interspersed with archival photography and snippets of the era’s popular music, the film reminds us of the creative energy and sexual exuberance that thrived in San Francisco, particularly in the Castro neighborhood, in the mid-to-late 1970’s. And this upbeat opening is reprised in the film’s wonderfully affirmative conclusion. Between these end points, however, is a sad and sobering look at the ruthlessness with which AIDS ravaged the city’s gay community.

More
Michael Jackson: The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story, 1958-2009 by J. Randy Taraborrelli
0

SOME 700 PAGES into this comprehensive and even-handed biography of Michael Jackson, author J. Randy Taraborrelli remarks that the King of Pop would have paid a million dollars for a good night’s sleep. In the wake of his first child molestation scandal in 1994, Jackson worried that his image had been irrevocably tarnished, and there began a fatal descent into insomnia and substance abuse.

Given the details of his sudden death at fifty-he stopped breathing on June 25, 2009, due to an overdose of propofol, an anesthetic so powerful it’s known as “Milk of Amnesia” among surgeons-Jackson’s desperate search for the big sleep takes on an eerily gothic resonance.

More
0

THE GREAT FILMMAKER Jean-Luc Godard said somewhere that art is not a reflection of reality; it is the reality of that reflection. That being the case, to judge by the feature films coming out of the Sundance Film Festival this past January, it seems that GLBT youths are finding cinema to be the outlet with which to express the oppression of living in the closet and the freedom of coming out, both as individuals and as artists.

More
Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel by Armistead Maupin
0

THREE YEARS AGO, with his novel Michael Tolliver Lives, Armistead Maupin returned to his much-admired “Tales of the City” series after a nearly twenty-year hiatus. It was a welcome homecoming for Maupin’s many fans …

In the latest novel in the series, Mary Ann in Autumn, Maupin picks up the story of Mary Ann Singleton.

More
0

IN THE END, what is most poignant about Undertow, a new film by Javier Fuentes Leon, is the plight of the ghost. In the small fishing village in Peru where this remarkable film takes place, the boyfriends are able to walk down the street holding hands only after one of them has died-and is therefore invisible to everyone but his lover.

More
1 2 3