Queerty is better as a member
LONG overdue tribute. I was honored to meet him in 1975 when his “Celluloid Closet” presentation—which he, then, could only schlep around on a closely guarded reel of 16mm film—was a sensation at that year’s Gay Awareness Conference at Indiana University which I helped organize and chaired, and Vito wrote about for “The Advocate.” If the documentary has actual video footage of the ’73 NY pride confrontation during which Midler sang “Friends” accompanied by Barry Manilow on piano, I will be additionally thrilled as one of my treasures all these years has been the audio he sent me of her performance, and comments about listening on the radio on her way there, and it sounding like people were beatin’ each other up.
And while I adore her, I’m also intrigued to see how Lily Tomlin will be introduced, and what she’ll say. One of Vito’s frutrations he shared with me in ’75 was her refusal to listen to his urgings to publicly come out; fearful, as I recall, of hurting her family. In 1977, covering the American Film Institute’s 10th Anniversary Gala for a DC gay rag, I said Hello to her, asked for her autograph on the program, and, as she was signing, mentioned I knew Vito. She immediately looked me in the eye, her eyes frozen with fear, but saying nothing. I simply said Thank You, and moved away, both shocked and saddened. Given—no matter HOW many ways she tries to spin it—she didn’t finally come out to MSM until 11 years after he’d died. I’ve often wondered how his never living to see it makes her feel.
GAY PRIDE…have it and know our communities amazing history. Just because the heteros want you to be ignorant to it doesn’t mean you have to be.
I had the privilege of attending a lecture and demonstration he gave in the early 90’s. Watching Bugs Bunny cartoons with his commentary – unforgettable.
And I had the privilege of working alongside Vito in the “Media Comittee” of the Gay Activists Alliance back in the day.
I also had the privilege of appearing in this movie.
Sad he couldn’t be still around to witness the historic day in San Diego of our military men and women proudly marching in the parade.
Beautiful brave man. I used to be soo ignorant to our LGBT communities rich history, struggles, champions, poems, art, history until a few years ago when Prop 8 failed. It woke me up, and made me a farrr better person to be educated on our history and realize how beautiful our story is. Everyone should experience that same feeling.
The sad thing is that the same fight is still going.. with different shape.. but the same fight
Here’s a link to a rather positive NYT review
Long overdue critique of The Celluloid Closet. Shoddy scholarship at best.
I meant the book’s was.
@Drew: Who? Whatever you mean by that. Vito Russo who? Live and learn and perhaps, just perhaps, you’ll be spared from making the same mistakes. Those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. Vito was a friend and fine person, a great community leader and someone who should be known, remembered and respected in the annuals of gay history.
“A bigot is someone who resents losing control of a world he thought belonged to him.”–from “The Celluloid Closet.” Truer words have never been spoken.
The author of your “so-called critique of The Celluloid Closet,” reads like nothing more than a bitchy queen whom Russo might have refused to trick with. Or, if not old enough to have been in that category, simply someone pissed to her green gills because someone else is famous and she is not. As for her cherry picking whining about Russo leaving out Visconti and Fassbinder, his focus was on the influence of films that the average American MIGHT HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN. “Shoddy scholarship at best” describes the article far more than its subject.
This new HBO documentary on Vito Russo is a must see. He is an inspiration to all and his life story is an example to those struggling to find acceptance and equality. HBO did amazing work with very detailed accounts of gay history. Again, I couldn’t stop watching and brought tears of pride and respect. Thank you Vito Russo, a modern day crusader, and a hero! John
@Michael Bedwell: SING OUT LOUISE!
Must see documentary! Saw it yesterday and I was left in awe.
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