Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis


My first time at circus. April thirtieth nineteen eighty three madison square garden. I'm twenty four years old. And i am not a date berry is not my date yet. We haven't fallen in love yet. But we are at the circus together. We're the very first big aids fundraiser. In new york a few early supporters of the gay men's health crisis got together and bought out a performance of the barnum and bailey circus. The greatest show on earth wasn't prepared to officially host an event for his cause. But gmc got around that by reselling the seventeen thousand six hundred seats to raise money and tackle the growing crisis ernest. See of gay men when the ringmaster introduces broadway star patti. Lupone lose it. After meeting speech from patty leonard bernstein walks across the floor of the arena to conduct the orchestra of the star spangled banner mezzo-soprano shirley varez voice feels. The garden joined by thousands of voices in the audience. Patriotism clowns and aids seems improbable now but felt so right in the moment.

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