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AIDS US - Honoring World AIDS DAY

AIDS US / QueerWise

Written and performed by QueerWise

Directed by Michael Kearns

Do you know the stories? The fourth installment of the groundbreaking AIDS US.

QueerWise, a Spoken Word Collective in residence at Skylight, offers two performances about the tumultuous years of survival with new revelations, fresh gossip, the inevitable tears, and some inappropriate laughs.

A free event, donations are requested online or at the door in support of Skylight's continuing efforts to put Art In Action through community outreach and education.

  • AIDS US QUEERWISE honors World AIDS Day at Skylight Theatre

Schedule

Skylight Theatre - Dec 3 and 10
In recognition of WORLD AIDS DAY
8:00pm

Tickets: Donations Requested

Reserve Your Seat

No intermission

Supported in part by: Broadway Cares/EQUITY Fights AIDS

STC/Community Outreach & Education

BEYOND CONVERSATION

Enhance your experience.

We hope to bring more to the conversation begun by AIDS US | QueerWise. Informal chats with invited guests last 20-25 minutes and begin immediately after the performance.

Dec 3 - “Is AIDS Queer?”

This question that has been posed by the multiple generations who have fought to keep from minimizing AIDS’ cultural, artistic, scientific, and spiritual impact on the world by limiting its defining aspects.  Guests: Darcy Buck, English teacher and Director of the Poetry Festival at Harvard-Westlake School with Trevor Norris, artist and QueerWise member

Dec 10 - “How does AIDS history and cultural memory impact LGBTQ Youth?” Sponsored by Antioch University
Guest:
Enrique Lopez, PsyD., Clinical Supervisor of Antioch University's Colors LGBTQ Youth Counseling Services.

BACKGROUND

In April of 1986, Artists Confronting AIDS (ACA) and Skylight's Producing Artistic Director, Gary Grossman, produced the first known live theatrical presentation in which Persons With AIDS told first-person stories illuminating their intimate experiences with the disease, joined by family members and a few significant forces from the nascent AIDS community.

While attempting to find meaning in AIDS through artistic expression had begun, placing those who were battling the disease onstagesome in the final stages—was a revolutionary act for all involved.

“Revolutionary, yes,” says Michael Kearns, who directed the show and served as one of the producers, “It was also scary. You know the Equity rule about having a cot backstage? We had more than one. And there were often cast members lying on them right up until curtain.”

Kearns and his artistic partner, James Carroll Pickett, had formed ACA, not knowing that AIDS/US would become the phenomenon that it did. The “docudrama” received ecstatic reviews, attracting the likes of Governor Jerry Brown and Shirley MacLaine sitting next to a contingent of boys from the nearby A.T. (Alcoholics Together) Center. The general public was intrigued but concerned about attending. It wasn't uncommon for potential audience members to call the box office asking if they “could catch AIDS from the cast” by sitting in the audience.

Set for four Sunday matinees, AIDS/US ran for a year at Skylight while making visits to schools, churches, and a special performance for the State Assembly in Sacramento. Successful sequels followed: AIDS/US II and AIDS/US/WOMEN.

Now, thirty-two years later, a fourth installment AIDS/US/QUEERWISE will be produced on the Skylight Theatre stage in honor of World AIDS Day. While the work tracks thirty-two years of AIDS history, “This show will not be glum,” Kearns promises. “We look at these years as a kaleidoscopic, rollicking roller coaster ride. I think that’s how most long-term survivors perceive the plague.”

Before he died in ’93, James Carroll Pickett said to Kearns (of AIDS’ impact), “Well, honey, you’ve got to admit it’s never boring.” And how right he was. After all this time, there are new revelations, fresh gossip, and even some inappropriate laughs. “We are determined to share with our audience specifics of the tumultuous years we survived; giving them an experience that we hope they will find relevant."

“And perhaps,” Kearns says, “store in their hearts.”


Skylight and QueerWise have collaborated on World AIDS Day events since 2015, supported in part by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The Artists of AIDS US - Honoring World AIDS DAY

QUEERWISE is a Spoken Word Collective that has continued to gain traction since their first appearance at Skylight in 2013.  In this production not all Company members will perform.

The Company
Joe Brazeau
Antonia Garcia-Orozco
Cheri Gaulke
Josh Allen Goldman
Jessie Jacobson
Sophie Kim
Darrell Larson
Timothy Mack
Jen O'Connor
Christine Papalexis
Jim Pentecost
Ken Pienkos
Robin Podolsky
Tyler Stafford
Dave Trudell
Minerva Vier

Schedule

Skylight Theatre - Dec 3 and 10
In recognition of WORLD AIDS DAY
8:00pm

Tickets: Donations Requested

Reserve Your Seat

No intermission

Supported in part by: Broadway Cares/EQUITY Fights AIDS

STC/Community Outreach & Education

Media

BEYOND CONVERSATION

Enhance your experience.

We hope to bring more to the conversation begun by AIDS US | QueerWise. Informal chats with invited guests last 20-25 minutes and begin immediately after the performance.

Dec 3 - “Is AIDS Queer?”

This question that has been posed by the multiple generations who have fought to keep from minimizing AIDS’ cultural, artistic, scientific, and spiritual impact on the world by limiting its defining aspects.  Guests: Darcy Buck, English teacher and Director of the Poetry Festival at Harvard-Westlake School with Trevor Norris, artist and QueerWise member

Dec 10 - “How does AIDS history and cultural memory impact LGBTQ Youth?” Sponsored by Antioch University
Guest:
Enrique Lopez, PsyD., Clinical Supervisor of Antioch University's Colors LGBTQ Youth Counseling Services.

BACKGROUND

In April of 1986, Artists Confronting AIDS (ACA) and Skylight's Producing Artistic Director, Gary Grossman, produced the first known live theatrical presentation in which Persons With AIDS told first-person stories illuminating their intimate experiences with the disease, joined by family members and a few significant forces from the nascent AIDS community.

While attempting to find meaning in AIDS through artistic expression had begun, placing those who were battling the disease onstagesome in the final stages—was a revolutionary act for all involved.

“Revolutionary, yes,” says Michael Kearns, who directed the show and served as one of the producers, “It was also scary. You know the Equity rule about having a cot backstage? We had more than one. And there were often cast members lying on them right up until curtain.”

Kearns and his artistic partner, James Carroll Pickett, had formed ACA, not knowing that AIDS/US would become the phenomenon that it did. The “docudrama” received ecstatic reviews, attracting the likes of Governor Jerry Brown and Shirley MacLaine sitting next to a contingent of boys from the nearby A.T. (Alcoholics Together) Center. The general public was intrigued but concerned about attending. It wasn't uncommon for potential audience members to call the box office asking if they “could catch AIDS from the cast” by sitting in the audience.

Set for four Sunday matinees, AIDS/US ran for a year at Skylight while making visits to schools, churches, and a special performance for the State Assembly in Sacramento. Successful sequels followed: AIDS/US II and AIDS/US/WOMEN.

Now, thirty-two years later, a fourth installment AIDS/US/QUEERWISE will be produced on the Skylight Theatre stage in honor of World AIDS Day. While the work tracks thirty-two years of AIDS history, “This show will not be glum,” Kearns promises. “We look at these years as a kaleidoscopic, rollicking roller coaster ride. I think that’s how most long-term survivors perceive the plague.”

Before he died in ’93, James Carroll Pickett said to Kearns (of AIDS’ impact), “Well, honey, you’ve got to admit it’s never boring.” And how right he was. After all this time, there are new revelations, fresh gossip, and even some inappropriate laughs. “We are determined to share with our audience specifics of the tumultuous years we survived; giving them an experience that we hope they will find relevant."

“And perhaps,” Kearns says, “store in their hearts.”


Skylight and QueerWise have collaborated on World AIDS Day events since 2015, supported in part by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The Artists of AIDS US - Honoring World AIDS DAY

QUEERWISE is a Spoken Word Collective that has continued to gain traction since their first appearance at Skylight in 2013.  In this production not all Company members will perform.

The Company
Joe Brazeau
Antonia Garcia-Orozco
Cheri Gaulke
Josh Allen Goldman
Jessie Jacobson
Sophie Kim
Darrell Larson
Timothy Mack
Jen O'Connor
Christine Papalexis
Jim Pentecost
Ken Pienkos
Robin Podolsky
Tyler Stafford
Dave Trudell
Minerva Vier

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