Sunday, April 09, 2006

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

So - in an earlier post I promised that I would toss the spotlight on some of the items I found while digging through my closet ... the following are some tidbits. Consider it a photo journey through my past.

First this classic image - the first time I straddled a hog! That's my dad in the red t-shirt and my godfather in the leather ... the picture is circa 1964. My dad was 25 in that pic and an avid biker. Love the DA haircut!

Fast forward to 1982 - this was a graph sheet i used to create a personal ad that I ran in the PGN during the spring and summer - this ad was the second ad I had ever placed. The first one was when I was 17 or so and was searching for other gay friends. That ad and this ad helped build the foundation for Philly's first LGBT youth group - which met every Saturday at the old community center.

The headline to this 1982 ad was: TLA or TLC

It read: Take your pick. Friendship or relationship. I'm a GWM, 19, 6'2, 180, br/br, looking to meet new people and make new friends. Now about me, to use an old phrase 'music is my life', esp. dance, new wave and anything off the wall. Also I'm into clothing of all styles esp. 1940s and 1950s. Now i have tons of other interests but i'm out of space, so if you're a GWM 25 or under and would like to know more write to GN code xxxx. Photo/phone if possible. Ciao for now.

Seems like only yesterday.

This next image fast forwards a couple more years to 1985 - it was my annual Management Door Pass for KURT'S, that allowed me free access every night to the club - of course, as I mentioned in earlier posts - KURT'S was located in what used to be the East Side Club and everytime I went, I felt the energy of the old space. Even cheesy gay disco of the 80s couldn't drown it out!

I left center city in 1986 - as detailed in this post - and one thing I had totally forgotten about until i found this paperwork was one of the other ways that Mike Labance tried to smoke me out - by filing paperwork against me to the IRS and fixing the books so I owed taxes that I shouldn't. A levy was placed on my only source of income at the time (working at a Wawa) and I had to take out a loan to pay the tax, since the IRS was pulling $75 a week out of my little weekly check. I could have fought it, but it would have meant stepping back into the ring with Mike and I was truly over it at that point. The odd this is how I totally forgot about this element of my life until I found the recepits and my Wawa check stubs from 86-88.

The final image in this post is from February 1991, and is a letter from Ennes Littrell, then Executive Director of ActionAIDS. It was in 1990 when Larry Biddle of ActionAIDS, along with Julie Drizin of WXPN and myself had a series of lunch meetings to flush out a new fundraising idea we had created. That idea became known as Dining Out For Life and debuted locally in 1991. This is a personal thank you letter from Ennis to me for my role in the launch.

In 1993, ActionAIDS made Dining Out For Life an international event offering licenses to AIDS Service Organizations around the country. Since Dining Out for Life International's founding the event has grown throughout North America and is now produced in over 33 cities. The Board of Dining Out For Life is constantly working to expand the number of licenses around the country, as well as to gain sponsorships that benefit the entire country. On average two to three cities a year are being added. More than 2,500 restaurants a year donate a portion of their proceeds from this one special night of dining to the licensed agency in their city. Over $2 million dollars a year is raised to support the missions of agencies throughout North America. With the exception of the annual licensing fee of $600, all money raised in these cities stays there.

This, along with serving on the founding board of directors and creating MANNA (the Metropolitian AIDS Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) back in 1990, are the two things that I am most proud of in my life, when it comes to helping others in need.


brandy101 said...

God bless you for all of your philanthropy work!!!

East Side Club...last time I heard that mentioned was a concert event calendar on I-92, I'm sure!

So...I'm sure your readers want to know if any relationships, friendships, or "other" came out fo that ad you placed...


Liz said...

The things you come up with are nothing short of amazing. It's like you saved the era for everyone who was there. No where else could people in our age range find this stuff. Thanks Robert.