AIDS Is Not Over: A Pioneering Gay Rights Activist Speaks Out


Playwright, activist, and troublemaker Larry Kramer founded ACT UP in 1987, the same year Ronald Reagan first acknowledged AIDS in public. And though the demographics of the pandemic have shifted since then (now ravaging Africa and the world’s poorest), the politicians haven’t changed much (still evading debate questions about it). Just a fact-check: AIDS killed 3 million in 2003, 5 million more contracted HIV, and almost 40 million people are living with the disease, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. Those with access to the latest antiretroviral drugs can thank, in part, Kramer, his heart-wrenching play The Normal Heart, and the legions of whistle-blowing, shouting, and yes, stripping ACT UP protesters, 11 of whom infiltrated Madison Square Garden during the RNC—the world watched on live TV as Bush’s youth brigade went berserk on them. Kramer bowed out of the spotlight years ago, but returns tonight for a major public address, followed by a 60-minute Q&A. Actor John Cameron Mitchell introduces the veteran agitator, whose sudden reappearance should remind everyone that the old ACT UP slogan “Silence = Death” remains as relevant as ever. Maybe more.