In 1983 I crawled into detox off the streets of New York. AIDS was not in my consciousness or that of any of the doctors that were treating me. They tested my liver and found I had non-A non-B hepatitis. I was devastated.
On October 16, AIDS Walk LA is packing the streets with walkers! Like so many AIDS Walks throughout cities in the United States, it's always a reminder and a statement of an epidemic that is still here. Wouldn't we all like to hang up our sneakers already?
Welcome to the Show of Shows, Best in Drag 2010, a glorious celebration of generosity, friendship, fellowship and faux fur! It's the fun in fundraiser. (Check out KABC News' coverage of Best in Drag!)
"D as in Dog," as in my dog Romeo is doing much better since my last blog. We have both recovered from the vicious dog attack. From July 16 when the attack occurred to September I am happy to report Romeo has made a complete recovery. He's playing with other dogs, happy, friendly, barking and acting like nothing ever happened! He probably thinks he won! My scars, like Romeo's, are still evident -- but he has fur covering his, thankfully, and I don't. My big scars are on my knees!
Summer 2010 started off with a bang! I took a leap of faith into the "un-OWN" -- the upcoming Oprah Winfrey Network -- along with thousands of other hopefuls who pitched their show ideas online and at open casting calls across the country. After 143 million votes, the top online vote-getters were selected, and the rest remain to be seen. In other words, I'm still waiting to hear!
I attended the 17th Annual Spirit of Hope Awards for Being Alive at the very glamorous, rooftop, poolside Skybar on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. It's more than worth mentioning that Being Alive was not only the first AIDS service organization (ASO) in Los Angeles, carrying the history of the darkest days of AIDS; it also is now the oldest. And like most AIDS organizations in these hard times with constant cutbacks and threats of losing AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) funding, Being Alive has held its head above choppy waters thanks to the generous donations generated by their volunteers, clients and their family members and friends. They truly embraced the spirit of hope.
So how does a girl who popped out of a cake at Studio 54, performed with her band on American Bandstand, and had the honor of being one of the first music videos ever shown on the fledgling MTV Network come to be an AIDS educator? After the glory days of the 80s, my party quickly came to a halt when the reality of AIDS hit my friends in New York City.
A few months after interviewing Sheryl Lee Ralph on my podcast, Straight Girl in a Queer World, I received a call from her asking if I would like to sing and tell my story at her 18th Annual DIVAS Simply Singing! I screamed and jumped up and down! Singing in a show with Sheryl, Patti LaBelle, Patti Austin, Sarah Dash, Loretta Devine, Siedah Garrett, Miki Howard and Roslyn Kind just to name a few and the divine R & B Div-o of the evening, the smooth Kenny Lattimore. I was D.I.V.A., as Sheryl says: Divinely Inspired and Victoriously Anointed to be an HIV DIVA! And so it is. This Straight Girl in a Queer World became the HIV DIVA!
I was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s when HIV was still considered a death sentence. At the time, there were no effective medicines to fight HIV. So I had no choice but to seek alternative treatments. I had to think outside of the box because not doing so would mean I'd inevitably succumb to AIDS.