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Seasons in Hell

DAVID FRANCE’S HISTORY of AIDS opens with a memorial service for Spencer Cox, an ACT UP activist, to whom we come back in the epilogue. In between are approximately thirteen years of Hell. Although How to Survive a Plague pretty much follows the plot of the documentary film he released four years ago with the same title, the difference between the two is enormous. When the film came out, this reviewer wondered if a book would not give us more nuance, more insight into what people were really thinking in those ACT UP meetings we saw on screen. Well, here is the answer to that wish.

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Gay Resilience and HIV Prevention

WE HEAR a lot about advances in HIV treatment, the use of Truvada or PrEP to prevent HIV infection for the sexually active, and the latest programs designed to promote safer sex. Largely unreported, however, has been a huge shift toward addressing “upstream” mental health issues—such as depression, substance abuse, or partner violence—because it has finally become clear that gay men who don’t feel good about themselves or their lives are less likely to protect themselves and more likely to take risks.

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Where HIV Has Not Been Tamed

OVER THE PAST DECADE, we’ve seen a great deal of progress on HIV/Aids in the U.S. Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late 2015 indicate that diagnoses of HIV in the U.S. declined significantly over the last decade. … However, black and Latino gay and bisexual men actually saw an increase in HIV diagnoses of 22 percent and 24 percent.

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Playwrights Who Rewrote the Rules

By writing plays that call attention to the unreality of theater, Albee and Shaffer called attention to the inauthenticity of modern life: both how people are influenced by movies and commercials and how they fashion their sexuality to conform to socially celebrated norms. Relying heavily upon the conventions of Greek tragedy, plays like Albee’s The Goat and Shaffer’s Equus attempted to return theater to its ancient roots in which one wore a mask to deliver a primal authenticity that could not be enacted in everyday life.

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George Michael Made It Big

To millions of fans, George Michael will remain the “father figure” of which he sang with a blend of lust and longing, and for that, we can collectively say: Wham, bam, thank you, Georgios Panayiotou—or, as you will be forever loved and remembered—George Michael.

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Kirstein’s Letters, Part 1: Balanchine

LINCOLN KIRSTEIN was born in 1907 to a newly prosperous Jewish couple—his father Louis had risen to a top executive post in Filene’s, the famed department store. As a young man, Kirstein was precocity personified.

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A Farewell to Edward Albee

Edward Albee died on Friday, September 16th, 2016, at the age of 88. He passed away at his summer home in Montauk, New York, after a short illness. He was one of the most important and iconic American playwrights of the 20th century.

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What Is Sex? What Is Gender?

“Gender,” as distinct from sex, is normally thought of as pertaining uniquely to humans, something that’s constructed by culture and finding highly divergent expression in different cultures.

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On the Medicalization of Gender

Sex Science Self … is a legitimate and earnest expression of cultural anxieties (particularly in the gay community) about the prominence of transgender issues and the role of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex in the medical construction of gender.

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Postcards from the Fringe

CULTURAL TRANSFORMATIONS swept across this country in the mid-20th century, affecting every aspect of American life, including the arts. A new wave of outsider artists underscored the mood of restlessness through powerful photography and filmmaking.

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