Browsing: Thirty Years of HIV, Part II

May – June, 2011

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

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The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood by Glen Retief
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THE HISTORY of gay male literature in South Africa is select, and almost entirely white. To this reviewer, the grace and insight of its finest exemplar, Mark Behr’s novel Embrace, is now equaled by The Jack Bank.

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Double Play: The Hidden Passions behind the Double Assassination of George Moscone and Harvey Milk by Mike Weiss
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Mike Weiss was a reporter at the trial of Dan White, the city supervisor who killed Harvey Milk along with Mayor George Moscone. After being interviewed by Randy Shilts, he decided to turn his notes into a book. Double Play was first published in 1984 with the subtitle “The San Francisco City Hall Killings.” This choice of words was deliberate. Dan White confessed to the shootings, but as a result of a successful “diminished capacity” defense, he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, not murder. White was given an amazingly light sentence and served only five years in prison. Less than two years after his release, he committed suicide.

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Holding Still for as Long as Possible by Zoe Whittall
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“YOU PROBABLY like to imagine your death the way it should be: You are old. By old, you mean ready to die. Resolved. You are in bed, with your mind intact and loved ones encircling you. Your regrets are few; your pain minimal. Your last words: golden.” So opens a novel that is both timeless and contemporary, set in Toronto. If you suspect that this beginning does not foreshadow a serenely predictable death, you’d be right. This is a novel in which there’s always the possibility of violence and sudden endings.

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From the Closet to the Courtroom: Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits that Have Changed Our Nation by Carlos A. Ball
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In From the Closet to the Courtroom, Carlos Ball personalizes the history of the GLBT legal rights movement of the last thirty years by providing a lively narrative account of five extraordinary court cases and the ordinary people behind them.

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Salt and Paper: 65 Candles by Janell Moon
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JANELL MOON’S latest novel is one of those books about which it’s easier to say what it isn’t than what it is. Salt and Paper: 65 Candles is presented as a journal, and it does have ascending dates as the year passes, offering a day-by-day record of Janell Moon’s 65th year.

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A Passionate Engagement by Ken Harvey
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[Ken] Harvey’s memoir, A Passionate Engagement, follows Ken and his partner Bruce as they come to grips with whether to marry legally once their home state of Massachusetts makes it possible.

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THE CREATION of new drugs to treat HIV/AIDS has just about run its course. The next generation of therapies will involve modulating the body’s own immune system to better control the infection, and modifying its cells to make them more resistant to continued assault by the virus. The most advanced example of this line of research was recently presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, held in Boston. It is the world’s premier meeting on HIV science.

The study involved just six patients, but it demonstrated the proof of concept that it is possible to change the DNA of a person’s CD4+T cells so that they no longer express the CCR5 molecule that the virus uses to enter cells. The modified immune cells can be put back into a patient and they appear to thrive for at least three months and counting. Just how long they might last and how well they function has yet to be determined.

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Patti LuPone: A Memoir by Patti LuPone, with Digby Diehl
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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.

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IN THE PERIOD of the first reports of the new syndrome of immune deficiency (1981 to 1985), before we were certain about the primary role of HIV in the epidemic, sides were taken about putative cause(s), and about what the future held for the epidemic, gay sexual life, and the gay community in general. The range of viewpoints fell into several discernible camps.

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