|curator's statement||june 2005 selection|
a t o u r i n l. g. b. t. l a n d f o r p r i d e m o n t h
c u r a t o r : a l a n r e i f f
When Heritage of Pride (HOP) was asked to curate the June Web Gallery for Visual AIDS, we thought, "What an honor!" Two organizations that seek to create safe spaces for acceptance and places to be proud of who you are ... a great match. Similar results but different paths to get there. HOP by producing four events in June in NYC that give people -- possibly -- one day out of the year to be "OUT" and proud in the daylight. Creating spaces to be who you are without fear of reprisals. And Visual AIDS, in promoting the work of artists living with HIV/AIDS, they keep the public focused on finding a cure and/or a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. Both organizations are celebrating the individual, yet striving for a better future for society.
With a similar goal in mind, 16 slides were selected to illustrate our common cause. Think of this as a guided tour through "L.G.B.T. land" for PRIDE month. Sit back, relax, prepare to think, get angry, and enjoy all at once.
We start our tour with some angels. (1) Keith Haring bequeathed one of his pieces to HOP. That piece is now our logo. He is a Pride Angel looking down from heaven. Another angel is here on earth. (2) State Senator Tom Duane looks over not only our city, but over Pride as well. Without his help, we are sure Pride would never be the same. Before we return to earth, let's look down a bit from way up here (3) and (4). Here we can see Pride happening all over the world. For some, Pride is a celebration. For some, it is a unifying cause to March and speak up. Yet no matter what, there is always a moment to find time to kiss and find the beautiful colors. Let's come back to earth now. Here we see where the work gets done. (5) We come out by the thousands to say "We're Queer, We're Here." Celebrating and protesting all at once. Everyone's rights in our community are important. (6) and (7). If dykes and trannies were not at the Stonewall in 1969, would we even have a movement now? Our struggle for equality is everyone's fight. Now a brief glance to the left to praise our mothers. (8) Wouldn't we all like to have our mothers fight for our health now, as they did when we were children? God bless PFLAG and all organizations like that. I'm sorry to say we must now turn to the right. Look closely and you can see those not very well informed or educated. (9) What was once a small fraction seems to have taken over the GOP. Still continuing to the right unfortunately, we come to some "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" clowns watching life march by. (10) One can't help but think of all the sad clowns overseas that will never be able to do this. What else does the white make-up cover? At the end of this dead end street on the right we now see a kiss of death. (11) Just as Saddam Hussein got his kiss, so has our community. Advancing our cause for equality has been set back many years from an eight-year kiss of death. Finally, the first left turn appears. In the midst of all this negativity, if you look carefully you can still see a different kind of kiss. (12) One repeated over and over on a pier, under the sun, on the last Sunday every June. Look closer still in this very combative environment, and you can see more ... even joy. (13). No matter what is going on in the world, thank God there is still time to get ready for your float, or to go on to the Rally stage, or to prepare for StageFest. Never forget to find all the joyful colors. Now, we come to the last stretch of our tour: we come back to the world. We see a man who has to feed his physical as well as his spiritual being. He cannot live without either one. (14) After his feeding, he becomes ashamed. He feels he has to hide from God. (15) He has been told that he cannot celebrate that part of himself: not in the world and not in Jerusalem. Why? So we will all be in Jerusalem to help him take that tallis off his head and be proud out in the world ... at a World Pride. The tour closes on a hopeful note. You may be leaving this March, but others will always continue it. Here on earth, as well as in heaven by our Angels. Where it all ends, is yet to be determined. So we March. (16)
b i o g r a p h y
Alan Reiff started his PRIDE career as a volunteer at Heritage of Pride's Dance One on the pier 18 years ago. He was given a hefty garbage bag and told by Janice Thom and Matt Foreman to "help clean up the mess," and he has not stopped since. Since that time, he has held the Executive Board positions at HOP of Recording Secretary, Executive Secretary, Outreach Chair (his favorite one!) and most recently was the Past Male Co-Chair. He holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts and a Masters Degree in Applied Linguistics: TESOL. He was on the Sales & Marketing Team of EL AL Israel Airlines for 18 years until he left in February of 2002 to take up his dream of teaching. He is now a full-time ESL teacher for the NYC DOE as well as being a part-time ESL Adjunct Professor for CUNY. Currently he is Heritage of Pride's PrideFest Director. PrideFest is the FREE street festival that consists of four events in one: The Market Place, KidSpace, ArtSpace, and StageFest. Alan is also very active in international politics. He was on InterPride's first World Pride committee to help plan the first ever World Pride in Rome in 2000, and helped move the 750,000-person March around Rome during the event as well. He has spoken at various Pride events in Europe: Budapest being his favorite one. He is also currently InterPride's World Pride Committee Co-Chair where he is helping to organize the 2005 World Pride event in Jerusalem, Israel, planned for August 2005. This new task, in addition to his other volunteer work (YES, that is correct: all his PRIDE activities are voluntary) give him a unique view and approach to be a curator for PRIDE month's photographic selections at Visual AIDS. He hopes that you will not only enjoy his selections, but that you will be inspired and empowered by them to volunteer in your own way to help advance the cause of the LGBT community.