Saturday, June 27, 2009

"These Are Not Invisible Men"

It's been a long day. And sort of a sad day. For several reasons. So, it took me awhile to write this "Day Before Pride" post.

My mood probably influenced the content for this post as well. Well, maybe not...

This past Thursday, before we saw La Cage Aux Folles, (and loved it!) my friend Michael Ryczek and I had a quick dinner.

We talked about the show we are going to co-direct at the beginning of next year, and that must have reminded me of the first time Michael and I worked together.

It was a production of The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer - - a play about the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, the confusion about why friends and lovers were dying, the gay community's anger, the political power struggles, and the creation of a grass roots organization that would come to be known as Gay Men's Health Crisis.

Larry was leading the fight against AIDS during those years (and he still is today), so the play is basically his story, told through the central character of Ned Weeks.

I directed the play and Michael Ryczek played Ned. So, maybe that's why the speech that Ned gives the end of the second act has been playing over and over in my mind.

Maybe it was hanging out with Michael or maybe it was the confusion I feel watching Obama as he takes a few steps on the path created by Clinton. Once again, Dems court us for votes but abandon us once in office.

Maybe it's Philip and Eric's I'M A HOMO YOU KNOW campaign that begins tomorrow morning pre-parade.

Whatever the reason, the speech below is what I will have in mind tomorrow as I enjoy the parade, laugh with friends and scream at all the hot go-go boys.

Because while tomorrow is about having pride in who we are, it's also about coming together and seeing just how large our tribe truly is, so that we understand our power, as well as the potential that our power has to change our future.

And most importantly to me, tomorrow is not just about remembering the gays and lesbians who came before us, because, frankly, a good deal of our history has been stolen from us. And only recently have we begun to reclaim it. It's time - - PAST time!!! - - to acknowledge the gays and lesbians from our past AS gays and lesbians. We must tell the world about them, honor their accomplishments and give thanks to them for bringing us to where we are now.

So, enough of the soap box.

Here's the speech from Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart.

Just before this, Ned has been informed that he has been removed from the board of directors of Gay Men's Health Crisis, an organization formed in his living room and created, fought for and built by him. His anger fueled it.

Which is exactly why I've always been a Larry Kramer fan. That anger is something we share.

P.S. To see the speech a little bigger and a little clearer, double click on it.

Or have a double vodka stinger.

Either way.

tomato / toMAHto...


D said...

Thanks for reminding me of Larry's words.... I actually did this monologue my senior year of High school for college auditions (way before I was brave enough to admit I was gay)--- I think it was my small step towards coming out (a way to test the waters and tell others its ok to be proud of who I am).... Its nice to know that after all these years this piece can still stir something in me, remind me of the journey I've taken and the winding road we have yet to travel.

Happy Pride!

Anonymous said...

Time for a revival!!!

Michael Pacas

Anonymous said...

thanks, guys. it it makes me feel great that this stuff still stirs somebody! who knows, maybe one of these days someone will come along and make the movie! happy pride! larry kramer

Project Christopher said...

I am surprised to hear about the HOMOYOUKNOW movement... After Pride.

I didn't do anything this weekend. I took a year off of ROTC so when the weekend came on, I wasn't running around to be here and there and everywhere and didn't feel motivated to do anything. Hearing about the HOMOYOUKNOW meet would have been something to get out for. Not that I'm the end all be all of getting the 411, but while I hope it's a raging success, I wonder how well it was put out there in time.

Please don't take this as a critique, I'm just disappointed to have missed the launch of what sounds like a great process. Good luck with it Philip & Eric!

philip said...

-We only had time to do eblitzes and facebooky type stuff.
And then pamphletting on the parade route.
We ended up printing over 1,000 shirts. Can you believe it!?!?

But, do find me on facebook so we can be friends. i'm listed as Philip Edward Dawkins. I would love to keep you in the know for when we do it again.

Mark in DE said...

Thanks - good stuff.