A very good film about the Nazi’s and the Homosexual Story see
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: June 4, 2007 – 1:00 pm ET
(Berlin) After nearly four years of delays construction will begin this year on a monument to honor gays and lesbians persecuted by the Nazis. Final approval of the design was made on Monday the government announced.
A government committee approved the design by Danish-born Michael Elmgreen and Norwegian native Ingar Dragset last year but until now could not agree on minor changes for the memorial.
It will be a gray concrete slab, with a window allowing visitors to view a film projected inside showing gay men and lesbians kissing.
The statement said that the memorial will be completed later in the year at a cost of slightly over $800,000.
It will sit on the edge of Tiergarten Park near the memorial to the six-million Jews who died in the Holocaust.
The exact number of gay killed by the Nazis may never be known. Adolf Hitler declared homosexuality an aberration that threatened the German race. Some 50,000 homosexuals were convicted and an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.
The Nazi law against homosexuality remained on the books in West Germany until 1969.
In 2002 the German parliament issued a formal pardon for gays convicted under the Nazis.
There also is a monument to gay holocaust victims is in San Francisco.
Speaking on the subject of Deitrich Bonhoeffer…
A discussion was entertained in class about faith in action, as a model of discussion after viewing a film on Bonhoeffer and his thoughts on church and discipleship.
“Cheap grace is grace without the Cross of Christ, Costly grace is earned through the Gospel. Nothing can be cheap that is costly bought.”
What is the Word of God? Answer: What is it we are called to do? Ethics are an act of faith. The old ideas of ethics are out the window as times have changed. Sometimes we must compromise our understanding of ethics to do the right thing. The purpose of ethics is to change the world for the better. Nothing in the scriptures of Christ compels one to destroy the world.
So one of my classmates asked “Why is faith so weak?” My answer to that question was this. In today’s fast paced – got to have it now – the quick fix path please – how many men and women of faith are actually going to invest ample time, talent and treasure to the works of strong and active faith? There is no economic win fall in active faith. There is no economic payout for the work of active strong faith. And if there’s no win in it for me – then why bother.
NOT MANY would invest in Strong Active faith.
Another classmate speaks up and says – the Evangelicals have money and they have active faith. Yes, they go to church, they get their literal judgment and they give A LOT of money to political parties to get them elected and maybe some will sponsor a child in a third world country or better yet, they might do something small “in town.”
YOU WANT TO END THE WAR IN IRAQ…
The Evangelicals and the Fundamentalists will pray and pay and elect their chosen ones to office AND then they send their children to Iraq to fight the war for George W. Bush. Because George W. Bush is a faithful Christian Man who knows best, RIGHT!!!
I PROPOSE that we ENLIST every Evangelical and Fundamental Christian MAN in the United States (EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM) and we send THEM along with their children to fight in Iraq.
Sure as Shit this war would end – and very quickly.
We could clear out the Red States of all of their men and when they start dying by the thousands you know their wives and daughters will STOP this WAR outright…
You want to see Strong Active Faith, Send all the men who voted for Bush INTO harms way and see how long the killing lasts!!!
Ethics… Do you think Bush thinks about Ethics as he sends our young people to die, do you think he thinks about ethics in killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and occupies their country? Does this war sound a little Hitlerian to you???
The only reason Hitler succeeded in doing what he did was because people listened to him. Even today the people of Great Britain and the United States are listening to a Mad Man. We are killing generations of people and we are killing our own in this needless war. So there is massive killing on both sides. Is this Ethical, I ask you!!!
And Hitler was found in a ditch, covered in Petrol… burned to death…
This is another black mark upon the gay community world wide AND it speaks of the lack of conscience that some HIV positive men live with every day, that they would perpetrate this kind of egregious bodily harm to another human being. This kind of behavior is intolerable and disgusting. But this kind of behavior still exists in many areas of the world.
I have heard of Gift Givers and Bug Chasers. I have read reports about PnP parties and those men who sleep around and do not use condoms when they have sex. This is not a gay phenomena, straight folk do it too. Those who willfully infect another should be punished. This report is disgusting. It makes me sick.
But there is another question we must ask. What about this behavior of non-gay identifying men who seek out same sex others on internet sites? And the fact that some men thought it was ok to drug and infect people just to produce a crop of same sex participants who would be able to have condomless sex!!!
Does this strike anyone as purely insane? What the F*CK??? Just because there are drugs on the market that can extend life doesn’t make these kind of crimes less unacceptable. And the fact that there are drugs available to those newly infected, doesn’t and should NOT lessen the sentence from attempted murder to prison sentences. This kind of blatant abuse of people is unforgivable. Here is the Planet Out Report:
From Planet Out News:
Four HIV-positive men from the Groeningen province in the north of the Netherlands confessed to police that they held sex parties where they drugged men with GHB and injected them with their own blood in an attempt to infect them.
Dutch HIV workers told Gay.com U.K. that they were aware that at least 10 men who attended the sex parties had contracted HIV — which implies that considerably more men were victims of the assaults.
The accused are two 48-year old men from Slochteren and two men from Groeningen, aged 33 and 34. Two have confessed to the sexual assault and deliberate infection attempts: the other two have so far only admitted to dealing in huge quantities of GHB. One does not define himself as gay.
Five victims between the ages of 25 and 50 have reported to the police so far. Four of them have filed charges.
The Dutch public prosecutor has charged the men with premeditated grievous bodily harm, but said it could not charge them with attempted murder or manslaughter because “the life expectancy of the victims can be extended with medication.” The offense carries a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison.
Gay.com spoke to Robert Witlox, Director of the Dutch HIV Association, who took up the story:
“We became aware that something odd was going on in Groeningen about a year ago. Someone came to a support group for people newly diagnosed with HIV and gave us this story about having been drugged unconscious with GHB and raped, which was how he got the virus.
“At first, we dismissed it — you hear many such stories in support groups — but several other people came forward with similar stories. One said he had come to to find a man still fucking him without a condom, while another said that during the experience he had felt a sharp needle-like pain in his anus.”
The suspects have confessed that they drew blood from all four of themselves and injected it into their victims’ anuses.
Witlox continued: “The men would advertise small sex parties — three to five people — on the Internet. It appears they were doing it on a frequent basis, and it continued right up till they were arrested in May.
“We alerted the public health department in Groeningen, who said they had heard similar stories. They put out a press release warning gay men about attending sex parties and saying they had noticed a rise in local HIV infections.
“We finally persuaded the first victim — who does not publicly identify as gay — to make a formal complaint to the police in January.”
Witlox noted that one of the features of the case was that the victims appeared largely to be non-gay-identified men seeking same-sex thrills using the Internet.
The two suspects who have confessioned to the police said that they were motivated by lust, saying that if they made other men positive, they’d have the opportunity to have unprotected sex with them.
Witlox commented: “In many ways, this is a straightforward case. The legal argument about HIV transmission has always been about reckless infection,” (meaning not intending to infect, but not caring either) “whereas this is a clear case of rape and of attempted deliberate infection.
“In talking to the media yesterday, not just I but also representatives from the Dutch Health Ministry said that this behavior was not typical of gay men or people with HIV.”
Witlox added, however, that since then his organization has been accused of fostering a culture of normalizing unsafe sex.
“Journalists are now linking the case with the fact that we have a support group called Positive and Proud, where subjects like serosorting” (consensual, unprotected sex between HIV-positive people) “are discussed. We’ve been asked if we have any norms.
“We’ve said, ‘Yes, we do. We’re saying it’s not all right to rape people and deliberately infect them with HIV!’”(Gus Cairns, Gay.com U.K.)
If you’d like to know more, you can find stories related to Dutch men confess in HIV sex party predator case.
This evening I went to a lecture about El Camino – Santiago De Compostela by a member of the United Theological College here in Montreal. I have to say that I have been interested in this topic for some time. I have had friends walk part of the journey and bring me back mementos from their journeys.
Our guide began his journey in St. Jean Pied De Port – A little farther East of Pamplona on the French side of the mountains…
On the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains climbing Westwards into Spain. This is a six week journey, about 40 to 45 days.
St. Jean Pied De Port. This quite an exhaustive journey and many make the pilgrimage for many reasons. I have often thought in the past to make this journey. I spoke to our host this evening about making the journey being HIV positive. He said if my doctor would clear me to make the journey, that he didn’t see why I could not do it. He also told us that there might be a group returning to Compostela in 2009, and I would have to be not only physically prepared, but mentally and spiritually prepared as well.
He had a preparatory plan in his mind which he shared with us, the few that were there and were honestly interested in finding out more about this pilgrimage. He spoke about this pilgrimage as a journey. Every ounce you carry – may keep you from making it to the end. Leaving every comfort of home behind and not carrying what you don’t have to is crucial. Every day you walk, as the sun rises. I cannot recall everything he said verbatim, but the thoughts come to me as this: If you can live with very little, carrying only that which you need, and if you can make the journey with no expectations, and if you can make the journey “not knowing everything” you could complete the pilgrimage.
He told us about people he met on his journey and some of the issues that they were dealing with, to give us insight to how it went for him. Ms. New Jersey who carried a suitcase on her back, and had to jettison items as she walked because they were holding her back. Those who were not prepared for the sacrifice of the journey and those who had serious medical issues along the way.
I know that there is a journey still left in me, I just don’t know which one it will be. But this is now, several times I have crossed paths with Compostela. This is where I begin to pray for discernment. I know that I want to make a pilgrimage because I feel for me, religiously and spiritually, that I am meant to make one pilgrimage that I will pray to find my way into.
I guess this is an invitation to you my readers who might be inclined to take a journey of this magnitude. We are setting our sights towards a Spring 2009, (May – June) departure.
I know that hubby would never make this journey with me. He told me on the way out that he was (Patsy) of Edina and Patsy. That he would ride along side in a car eating bon bons and cheering me on. He is not inclined to make a spiritual pilgrimage because he is not as “spiritual” in that sense as I am. But he’d support me going. So this is where I put it out there and ask you to pray for me and maybe someone out there would decide to walk with me as well…
Where there’s a will – there’s a way…
By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer
BAD AROLSEN, Germany – Looking back at the first weeks after World War II, a French
lieutenant named Henri Francois-Poncet despaired at ever fulfilling his mission to establish the fate of French inmates of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
For the living skeletons who survived the Nazi terror, the Displaced Persons camp set up two miles away offered little relief from misery.
A bleak picture springs with stark immediacy from typewritten reports by the Allied officers, found in the massive archive of the International Tracing Service in the central German town of Bad Arolsen. The Associated Press has been given extensive access to the archive on condition that identities of victims and refugees are protected.
People still died at the rate of 1,000 to 1,500 a day. Corpses were stacked in front of barracks, to be carted away by captured SS guards. “Bodies frequently remained for several days in the huts, the other inmates being too weak to carry them out,” Francois-Poncet wrote in a report for the Allied Military Government.
“As most of the survivors could not even give their own names, it was useless trying to obtain information as to the identity of the dead,” he wrote. He reported a meager 25 percent success rate.
When the Third Reich surrendered in May 1945, 8 million people were left uprooted around Europe. Millions drifted through the 2,500 hastily arranged DP camps before they were repatriated.
Far from scenes of joyful liberation that should have greeted the end of Nazi oppression, the files reveal desperation, loss and confusion, and overwhelmed and often insensitive military authorities.
Many had nowhere to go, their families among the 6 million Jews consumed in the Holocaust, their homes destroyed or handed out to new occupants. Those who wanted to get to Palestine were shut out by a British ban on Jewish immigration to the Israeli state-in-waiting.
“Owing to ill treatment by the Germans, most DPs have a distrust and fear of the Allied authorities,” said a September 1945 report signed by British Lt. Col. C.C. Allan. “Many DPs have sunk into complete apathy regarding their future.”
Liberated concentration camps were transformed into DP camps. Food was still scarce — often just coffee and wet black bread — and medical care was insufficient, said a report written for President Harry Truman.
Inmates were kept under armed guard to maintain order. They still wore their old striped, pajama-like concentration-camp-issue uniforms and slept in the same drafty barracks through a bitter winter.
Compounding their misery, they could watch through barbed wire fences and see German villagers living normal lives. In some places, those villagers were forced to tour the camps and help with the burials or at least face up to what their Fuehrer had wrought. But it was scant comfort to the victims.
“As things stand now, we appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them, except that we do not exterminate them,” wrote presidential envoy Earl G. Harrison in his famously quoted report to Truman after visiting that summer.
Known for its unparalleled collection of original concentration camp papers, the ITS, a branch of the International Committee of the Red Cross, also safeguards the world’s largest documentation on postwar DP camps. It has nearly 3.4 million names on its card index of those who sought designation as refugees eligible for aid.
Until now, the documents have been used only to trace missing people and verify restitution claims. But now the full breadth of the archive, filling 16 miles of shelf space, is to be opened to historians for the first time. At a meeting last week in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the archive’s 11-nation supervisory commission agreed to begin transferring electronic copies this autumn to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Within weeks after the war, U.N. agencies and volunteer charities took over the DP camps, processing applications for relief and emigration. By 1947, a quarter million Jews — a piteous remnant of European Jewry — shared space with displaced Eastern Europeans fearful of return to what was now the Soviet bloc.
Also among the DPs were ex-Nazis.
Adam Friedrich’s 1949 application to the International Refugee Organization to join relatives in St. Louis, acknowledges that for three years he belonged to the Waffen SS, the combat arm of Hitler’s dreaded paramilitary organization. He also noted he had been imprisoned for 20 months after the war.
An IRO official scribbled on his form, “The applicant was forced to report to the SS in Jan. ’42. Served in the infantry and took part in fighting.”
Friedrich was rejected.
But U.S. authorities did not have that information four years later when he applied again through the U.S. Refugee Relief Act. Then, Friedrich reported he had been in the German army but said nothing about his SS service.
Decades after he obtained citizenship, the Justice Department uncovered Friedrich’s past. He was stripped of his citizenship in 2004, lost a Supreme Court appeal, and was due to be deported when he died last July.
At Bad Arolsen, questionnaires and affidavits are stuffed into 400,000 envelopes which, including families, refer to 850,000 displaced people, and fill binders spreading over several rooms of floor-to-ceiling shelves.
The last DP camps were closed in 1953, so “when you feel the paper tug as you try to pull it out, that means no one has opened it for 40 or 50 years,” said Rudolf Michalke, head of the archive’s postwar section.
Some files contain detailed histories of survivors and the tortures they endured. Refugees relate their futile struggle to resettle after the war, and their hopes of rebuilding their lives far from Europe.
An Austrian pastry chef recounts the hostility he found when he returned to Vienna. “Given the large and increasingly negative climate against Jews, I have not been able to get a job and am forced to emigrate,” he testified, seeking passage to Australia.
Others describe their tormentors, hoping they will be prosecuted.
A Polish Jew writes about “Workmaster Batenszlajer,” one of about a dozen guards he named as particularly cruel.
“He made selections. Those who lost their strength because they were exhausted and looked bad were picked out and shot down,” he wrote. Batenszlajer would pick four girls at a time and hold them for several days. “He raped them and afterward he took them into a wood and shot them down.”
In a world where racism was rampant, finding a new home was not easy, as one Yugoslav-born man with Asian features learned. “Being a Kalmyk of Mongolian race, (he) is ineligible for most Anglo-Saxon countries,” authorities scrawled on his form.
“The doors are closed to unmarried mothers,” said a note from strongly Catholic Ireland.
Lining up employment in a new country was critical for obtaining a visa. Yugoslav-born Nikolai Davidovic, a mathematics professor who spoke seven languages and authored two textbooks, left for America in 1950 with his wife Larissa — but only after she had been promised a job as a maid.
Friedrich was not the only war criminal to slip through the screening process. Dieter Pohl, of the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, estimates that up to 250,000 Germans and Austrians had participated in the Holocaust, but only 5 to 10 percent were ever punished — most of them in the Soviet zone. Altogether, an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people committed crimes against humanity, he said.
But no one knew who the perpetrators were. “More than 90 percent of files on Nazi war crimes were destroyed,” Pohl said in a telephone interview.
The U.S. zeal in pursuing former Nazis came late. In the war’s aftermath, the Americans were more concerned about the looming threat from Stalin’s Soviet Union.
In 1979, the Justice Department created the Office of Special Investigations to pursue ex-Nazis who committed visa fraud by lying about their past. Since then, it has won 104 prosecutions and denied entry at the U.S. border to 175 people from its watch list of 70,000 suspected persecutors.
“We are still very busy with World War II cases,” said OSI director Eli Rosenbaum. “We have always routinely checked Arolsen’s DP holdings when we’ve been investigating someone,” he told the AP.
But the ITS files are far from complete, and unlike Friedrich, most former SS members concealed their crimes with lies or half-truths.
John Demjanjuk, a Ukranian-born camp guard who became an auto worker in Cleveland, reported in his refugee papers, seen in Bad Arolsen, that he had been a “worker” in Sobibor. Although Sobibor later became infamous as a death camp in occupied Poland, few people had heard of it after the war because it had been dismantled in 1943. Demjanjuk was awarded DP status.
In 1977, the U.S. government moved to revoke his citizenship, misidentifying him as “Ivan the Terrible,” a notorious guard at Treblinka extermination camp. He was extradited to Israel tried and sentenced to death in 1988. The sentence was overturned on appeal and Demjanjuk returned to the U.S., where his citizenship was restored — only to be taken from him again for concealing his work for the Nazis. He is now fighting deportation.
The file on Valerian Trifa, who became the U.S. archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox church and who once gave the opening prayer for the U.S. Senate, sheds light on the deceptions he deployed to win a ticket to the U.S.
Trifa, a leader of Romania’s fascist Iron Guard, told refugee officials he had been interned in Dachau and Buchenwald, but he said nothing about the privileges or protection he received from the Germans, according to Paul Shapiro, who investigated the Trifa case in the late 1970s for the Justice Department. Shapiro is now director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Shapiro saw Trifa’s file at ITS for the first time when he visited Bad Arolsen last year with an AP reporter. “I knew the facts that are in here, except for the manner in which he was treated in terms of his Displaced Persons status,” he said, flipping through aging pages in the manila folder. “It’s quite shocking when you actually see it.”
Trifa relinquished his citizenship in 1980 after it was discovered he gave a speech in 1941 in Bucharest that unleashed a pogrom in which more than 150 Romanian Jews were killed. He left the United States in 1984 for Portugal, where he died three years later.
“To see someone receiving citizenship based on lies is not a great thing,” Shapiro said. “If this stuff had been available then (in the 1970s), his case would have been resolved earlier. He would have lived fewer years in the United States.”
AP correspondent Melissa Eddy in Bad Arolsen and AP investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.
What is going on at Seattle Grace Hospital???
I am just besides myself.
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(Lynchburg, Virginia) The Rev. Jerry Falwell died Tuesday. He was 73.
Falwell was found unconscious in his office Tuesday and rushed to hospital where he died about an hour later.
Falwell survived two serious health scares in early 2005. He was hospitalized for two weeks with what was described as a viral infection, then hospitalized again a few weeks later after going into respiratory arrest.
Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and Liberty University, had a long history of opposing gay rights.
In 1976 he, along with Anita Bryant, led the charge against gay adoption in Florida leading to the most repressive anti-gay adoption law in the US.
Following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in 2001 Falwell declared that gays and pro choice advocates were to blame.
Speaking on the 700 Club religious program Falwell said, “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen’.”
In 2003 Falwell announced that he was putting aside everything to devote his time to passage of a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage.
“I am dedicating my talents, time and energies over the next few years to the passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which will protect the traditional family from its enemies who wish to legalize same-sex marriage and other diverse “family” forms,” Falwell said.
In the 2004 election campaign he worked with Republicans to use same-sex marriage as a wedge issue.
A week after the November election he announced he was organizing battle plans for what he called an “evangelical revolution.” Falwell said that the election showed that Americans want to return to “traditional values”.
He promised to roll back gay rights laws in communities across the country.
“Reverend Falwell’s death today causes my thoughts to turn toward the members of our community who have at great personal sacrifice contended with the Reverend’s work and teachings,” said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese.
“As I remember Reverend Falwell’s life, I also remember all of the families of people who have died of AIDS,” said Solmonese.
“Reverend Falwell’s legacy is not about the tenants of Jesus’ ministry such as healing the sick and standing with the disenfranchised but about shunning and ridiculing those who have suffered and died of AIDS and their families. Many faith leaders today are moving away from his divisive approach and toward the compassion and inclusiveness that Jesus modeled every day of his ministry.”
AND GOD WEPT…
Dear Mr. Andrews,
It is with great pleasure that I am inviting you on behalf of the Department of Religion to an end-of-year party to celebrate your Graduation and acknowledge all your hard work and success. There will be an awards ceremony for the recipients of the various Department of Religion and Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies awards, scholarships and fellowships.
I have been waiting for some sign that Graduation was going to happen for me and I guess this is the first real “sign” that I am really going to graduate next month. YAY!!!
In other solemn news, tonight I will be attending funeral services for the Rev. Craig Chaplin here in Montreal at St. James United Church. Brother to one of my fellows over on the Blog list “My Journey with AIDS, Kenn Chaplin.”
We are now about half way through the Summer session 1, and Wednesday is Midterm exam day and 1st paper due date day. I have four more weeks of classes and I am DONE for the Summer. YAY!!!
We pray for Craig today.
Eternal Rest Grant Him and may Perpetual Light Shine upon him.
By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – As the Third Reich headed to defeat in World War II, the Germans burned millions of records to cover up history’s worst genocide. But the fraction that survived was enough to make up the largest Nazi archive in existence.
This week, efforts to lift the 52-year-old blanket of secrecy from this historical treasure are likely to take a big step forward.
The 11-nation commission governing the International Tracing Service, an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross, meets in Amsterdam Monday and Tuesday to decide when and how to make electronic copies of its files available to researchers.
So far the archive of 30 million to 50 million pages in Bad Arolsen, Germany, has been used only to help reunite families and verify restitution claims. The files were closed in 1955 because it was feared that unfettered access could violate the privacy of Holocaust victims, both living and dead.
But survivors have been pressing for direct access, unsatisfied with the formalistic and partial answers to questions about the persecution they suffered. So a year ago the commission decided to unlock the vast storehouse for research.
As the survivor generation dwindles, the decision to digitally scan the documents and make them available will shift the archive’s primary function from a humanitarian service to a historical resource.
“We have been living in splendid isolation all these years. Now we have been told we must be part of the system,” said the archive’s director, Reto Meister.
“If we can network, our worth multiplies,” Meister, a former Swiss diplomat, said in a recent interview. “You have to share your wealth.”
The Associated Press has visited the archive four times since October and has written extensively about its contents on condition that the identities of victims are protected.
But the overall opening-up has taken longer than expected. All 11 governments have to ratify the decision. The United States, Israel, Poland, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium have completed the process. Luxembourg, Greece, Italy and France have yet to endorse it.
The U.S. delegation says it will press the meeting on Monday to allow scanned material to be distributed immediately, even before ratification is finished.
“Everyone’s expectation is the vote to distribute the stuff will sail through,” said delegate Paul Shapiro, director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Shapiro said once the raw material is in hand, it will take several months to prepare it for academic use. By that time, the legalities might be complete.
The collection takes up 16 linear miles of space filling six buildings. By the end of next month some two-thirds of it will be ready for transfer to authorized national institutions in the 11 countries, Meister said.
The Nazis destroyed 90 percent of their files, said Dieter Pohl, of the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich. The office headed by Adolf Eichmann, who orchestrated the transport of millions of Jews to the gas chambers, began burning its records in February 1945, nearly three months before Germany surrendered.
Eichmann’s office had 3,500 employees working over six years, Pohl said. “Imagine the number of files it had.”
Among the documents that survived are millions of pages of death registers, concentration camp records, transport lists, and internal Nazi communications, such as Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler’s command to evacuate the concentration camps before they were captured.
“No prisoner must be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive,” it said.
The last files to be prepared will be postwar records from displaced persons camps — hundreds of thousands of envelopes containing applications for immigration visas by people whose homes and families were consumed in the Holocaust.
Three out of four envelopes have never been opened since they were first processed, said Bad Arolsen archivist Rudolf Michalke.
Over the decades, the Tracing Service has responded to some 11 million inquiries from survivors or families, but it has rarely allowed anyone to view the actual records. However, the U.S. National Archive and Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial were allowed to copy some of them in the early 1950s.
This article comes from BC PWA news letter. I publish this article because I will be taking these meds starting next week. (TMC114 – Prezista-Darunavir and TMC125 – Etravirine)
May 02, 2007
The human immunodeficiency virus could have killed Vancouver artist Tiko Kerr 20 years ago, just as it claimed so many other promising lives.
Instead, his successful battle to live is now propelling him on a whirlwind world tour, talking to drug researchers, doctors and scientists about his story of survival and the two controversial AIDS drugs that helped him beat the odds.
“I’ve really come to the conclusion that the worse you have to go through, the greater the reward,” Kerr says of his dramatic change in fortune.
The tour began in December, when Kerr, just shy of the one-year anniversary of his initial treatment with TMC114 and TMC125 as part of a small clinical trial at St. Paul’s Hospital, traveled to New Jersey where he was invited to speak at the corporate headquarters of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, and its subsidiary, Tibotec, which developed the two drugs.
Colouring his talk with a mini-retrospective of his paintings over 25 years, Kerr related his own sometimes desperate struggle with the virus since his diagnosis in the mid-1980s. “You kind of lived your life in gulps,” he said of his mindset at the time he was told he was HIV-positive.He also told of his life-and-death fight with his own government in order to gain access to the drugs.
Immunity To Treatment Developed
In 2005, clinical research on (TMC114 – Prezista-Darunavir and TMC125 – Etravirine) had caught the attention of Kerr’s doctor, noted HIV researcher Julio Montaner. The drugs appeared to be successful at suppressing HIV in long-term patients, such as Kerr, who had developed an immunity to other treatment options.
Montaner applied to Health Canada for limited access to the drugs on compassionate grounds on behalf of Kerr and a handful of other dying HIV-positive men in Vancouver.
At the time, Kerr was very ill. The HIV in his body had risen to alarming levels as more conventional drug therapies used to keep the virus in check failed. Doctors feared he would be dead within a year without new treatment.
For months, Health Canada refused to grant the necessary access. Officials finally relented in January 2006, after significant public pressure. By then, one of the Vancouver men waiting for the treatment had died.
New Therapy Begun
TMC114, now called Prezista, has since been licensed in Canada, while access to TMC125 remains restricted. Kerr began treatment with the new therapy in January, 2006. Within five days, Kerr’s viral load fell a dramatic 90 per cent. Today, Kerr’s HIV levels remain virtually undetectable. Other patients involved in the study have shown similar results. The presentation, which wrapped up with Kerr’s remarkable return to health within days of beginning treatment, brought the house down.
“They were moved to tears,” Kerr said of the audience, which was made up mainly of Johnson & Johnson staff scientists eager to hear how effective the drugs can be. “I had no idea . . . that the research and development staff had never even seen a pill they had designed. They are just so far ahead of the process,” Kerr said.
This January, he was invited again to speak, this time to staff in Orange County, Calif. In March, he travelled to Dresden, Germany to mark the widespread availability of Prezista in Europe. This month, he’s off to Paris. Then it’s on to Madrid, Milan and a destination yet to be scheduled somewhere in Africa.
A hectic schedule, to be sure, but Kerr is thrilled to share his story. It has also given him a whole new perspective on his work as an artist. “I was astonished to realize how the virus had such a profound effect on my work,” he said. “When I was feeling strong, I painted in a vital and dynamic way . . . and when I was feeling weaker, my work was more timid, the subjects more cautious and desperate.
“There were these peaks and bumps that I could immediately see and I had no idea,” he said.
Today, life couldn’t get much better for Kerr. He’s happier and healthier than ever — “scary healthy,” he said. His paintings, which fetch between $5,000 and $27,000, are more in demand than ever. And he and longtime partner, Craig Shervey, exchanged vows in a low-key wedding ceremony at the couple’s West End home in February. Shervey wrote his own vows, while Kerr recited the Elizabethan poem My True Love Hath My Heart And I Have His.
It’s a long way from December, 2005, when Kerr, then still awaiting access to the TMC drugs, had grimly painted a piece he entitled My Government Is Trying To Kill Me.
Face Fascination Developed
These days, Kerr has developed a kind of fascination for his own face. He likes the changes he sees among the grooves and the lines: the plumpness of his cheeks, the ruddiness of his skin, a renewed vitality in his eyes. “I’m starting to look like a man my age instead of one of these freaks you get turned into by the virus,” he said.
By Darah Hansen, The Vancouver Sun
I actually took this photograph myself last Fall.
My friend David took the Via Rail Train East from Vancouver the other day and arrived in Montreal on Tuesday. Today I met him in the village for a day of sightseeing. David and I have been corresponding for many months via this little vehicle.
We set off for Old Montreal, where we spent some time inside Notre-Dame Basilica and the Chapelle du Sacré-Coeur.
The Altar of the main Basilica. It is just amazing. I gave David the “locals tour” of the Basilica – I am always amazed when I step inside the Basilica just how beautiful it is. I used to go there quite frequently in past years, but not any more, life is so busy. But the stained glass windows and the paintings are just heavenly.
This is the woodwork and sculpture behind the altar in the Chapelle du Sacré-Coeur. Another amazing work of art. I have, many times, attended mass in this chapel. There are windows high above the sanctuary and the sun streams in throughout the day and lights up the chapel with Godly light, it is quite beautiful.
I stopped for a few moments to say a prayer and light a candle in my very special nook, where I first prayed when I came to Montreal some time ago, where the grotto with Mere D’Youville’s statue is over on the left side of the main sanctuary.
What was fun today is that we took a horse drawn carriage around Old Montreal. I have never done that. It is (29c) outside, very hot outside. We haven’t seen temps like this since last Summer. I think I prefer single digit comforts.
David and I stopped in the Basilica gift shop and I bought this little cross – made out of wood. It was kinda hanging on the display saying “buy me” so I did. A little work with the web cam and some brightness/contrast and here it is. An outward sign of an inward shift to say, “Here I am Lord…”
They were also selling John Paul II memorial cards and I bought one of those as well, I have been collecting John Paul II books and working on my papal history for some time now.
I like the heat and all – but not having a/c at home is a drag. We were going to rent a ‘box’ for the season, but that is a bust, since we are financially strapped to the wall. We shall manage, we do anyways. We have air towers for air circulation that we bought last year that we are using now. They oscillate and are useful at night. Last night it was downright balmy when I went to bed.
Nothing much else going on. I may write more later tonight.
A snapshot of what was added to my Mission Statement above…
All I need is some serious investors that want to help me build it. If you know anyone with a cool few million dollars to spare, let me know.
**Updated May 9, 2007**
We Now Have a floor plan drawn out for designers and real estate companies. It is quite incredible. I sat down and sketched out what my vision of the location will look like. I know what colors will be incorporated and I am thinking of getting some of our “urban artists” to paint murals on some of the interior walls. Oh, this is going to get exciting.
Imagine the following: We call this the Camille Levesque Centre.
I find myself drawing out floor plans, decorating the space in wondrous colors and comforts of home. On one floor a dedicated space to a “Club Room.” A club room for recovering people that opens at 7 a.m. and stays open until midnight. Manned and staffed with a kitchen, coffee bar, facilities and comfy sofas, tables and chairs.
Where we would host meetings all day into the night (Imagine a dedicated meeting space in the same location every day, throughout the day). This DOES NOT exist in Montreal, but it does in Miami and is a very big draw to recovering people.
Imagine that there are offices to be housed by facilitators and recovery advisers. My office, open to anyone for spiritual direction or counseling. We would have outreach for kids in distress, for Pop’s kids to come and rest. We’d have an open kitchen to feed people who needed it. We’d have dedicated space for child care for parents who need to come to a meeting and need to keep their children and young people occupied for an hour or so.
We would offer HIV counseling. LGBTQ support for young people and adults. We would have a gathering place to have meetings and support for these very important groups. having personal experience in these areas gives me insight to what I know is important, and to build a space that I would want to visit. There are so many areas we could hit all at once in one comprehensive location.
Does this exist in Montreal? No it does not. But we can build it…
With all the recovery experience I have had since 1994, I have seen countless “recovery rooms, spaces, rehabs and such and so forth.” We would combine the best concepts in our location that I have visited and been part of over the last 14 years. In one area of the building we would have a dedicated chapel for prayers.
This is such an amazing concept and brings with it such promise.
I have floated these ideas to my home group participants and they all think that this is a wonderful idea that should be realized. This is more than ‘church’ this is Home. A place that I could build and coordinate and build into a community home that would rival any spiritual/recovery center in the city. I have people already lined up, who would work for me where ever I set up shop. I have people who would utilize the space immediately, upon opening. The desire exists in our community, all it would take is someone to build it and I want to be that someone.
We would have a youth center where we would offer bible study and religious education and counseling services to the community. Young people could come and be fed spiritually in safety and serenity. Just imagine the possibilities…
Those are my ideas today…
I’m tired, it’s been a long day…
Come on, folks, let’s build this dream center. It will change the face of Montreal in ways we could never imagine. I know how to do it, I have the inspiration to create this and the desire to see it to fruition.
Here it is, The list of new medications that I will be taking from this point onwards. My doctor says that this regimen will last for at least 1 year. We may change to other medications as they become available. The first drug (TMC 125-Etravirine) is not yet approved in the U.S. but I have access to it here because of the research arm of the McGill University Health Center AIDS research center and the Jewish General Hospital Aids research clinic.
I have had a ‘slow creep up’ of my viral load which is sitting around 6,000 copies and my CD4 levels are around 700. Down from the 1000 mark 6 months ago. Over all the doctor thinks that these new medications will stop the Lipodystrophy from the D4T for the last 10 years. He thinks these new medications will also work seamlessly into my daily regimen, with some pills being a once a day dose and others a two dose a day treatment.
I am confident with this new regimen and so is my doctor. We had some discussion about my last visit. It seems the intern that saw me was a little off with his diagnosis of my case which caused us both some serious stress. But all is well, otherwise.
I am told that the TMC 125 should be available in the next two weeks and that I will begin the entire regimen at that time. There is no reason to start single medication regimen now and add later. The drugs [in combination] work better than single regimens.
It goes without saying that I will be testing medications that some of you MAY be placed on later when the U.S. approves them for use in the states. So stay tuned and I will report what I learn as we go along this new treatment regimen.
Brand Name: TMC 125 – Etravirine
Drug Class: Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
TMC125, also known as etravirine, is a type of medicine called a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). NNRTIs work by blocking reverse transcriptase, a protein that HIV needs to make more copies of itself.
TMC125 is an investigational medicine that is not yet approved by the FDA for use outside of clinical trials. It is being studied for the treatment of HIV infection. Early studies indicate that TMC125 may be effective in treating HIV that is resistant to other NNRTIs. This medicine does not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS and does not reduce the risk of passing the virus to other people.
Brand Name: Viread – Tenofovir
Drug Class: Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (tenofovir DF), also known as Viread, is a type of medicine called a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). NRTIs block reverse transcriptase, a protein that HIV needs to make more copies of itself.
Viread is an anti-HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Viread prevents HIV from altering the genetic material of healthy T-cells. This prevents the cells from producing new virus and decreases the amount of virus in the body.
Brand Name: Prezista – Darunavir
Drug Class: Protease Inhibitors
Darunavir, also known as Prezista or TMC114, is a type of medicine called a protease inhibitor (PI). PIs work by blocking protease, a protein that HV needs to make more copies of itself.
Prezista is an anti-HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called protease inhibitors. Prezista prevents cells infected by HIV from producing new virus. This reduces the amount of virus in your body.
The correct dose of Prezista is 600mg twice a day (two 300mg tablets twice daily) At the present time, Prezista is only approved for HIV-positive people who have tried other anti-HIV medications in the past. Clinical trials have demonstrated that Prezista is an effective option for patients who are not likely to respond to older protease inhibitors, especially when it is combined with other anti-HIV medications that a patient’s virus is still at least partially sensitive to.
“I did not have sex with that woman, he said…”
We all remember what happened next right?
Ya think that Little Bush is in his “Ready Room” drinking a tall neat scotch with his rib eye steak?
This reminds me of “Lady Heather’s Box!” For you C.S.I. fans out there. We love Lady Heather, and you can imagine that the latest bombshell to hit Washington is about the Madame who is about to shake the halls of highest government.
Lady Heather tells Grissom about the fact that she can read men and know what they need and desire, seeing that “Lady Heather’s Box” serves as an outlet for men who wield power all day, come there at night, so that someone might have power over them…
“She likes a little tea and civility before all the needy little boys come out to play…”
From: Knotty Boy:
“Take this weekend’s news of bush’s first global AIDS coordinator Randall Tobias’ resignation. A job which drew criticism for his emphasis on faithfulness to partners and abstinence over condom use in trying to prevent the spread of the AIDS virus; where Tobias was involved with the “DC madam” as one of her clients.
An upstanding, moral, bible thumping, republican politico involved in a seemly game of hide the sausage with high-priced call girls? Naaah.”
This is going to be another smoke screen for Washington to hide war news amid the rubble of burning bodies in the carnage of the next Washington Sex Scandal of the century. Oh I can’t wait to see who Lady Heather OUTS next…
From ABC News.Com
Jeane Palfrey, dubbed the D.C. Madam, says among those she will call to testify are Randall Tobias, who resigned Friday as deputy secretary of state after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of Palfrey’s escort service.
Tobias said he “had some gals come over to the condo for a massage” but denied any sex was involved.
Tobias is the second prominent man to be identified as a customer of the Palfrey’s “sexual fantasy service.” Two weeks ago, Palfrey alleged that military strategist Harlan K. Ullman, creator of the “shock and awe” combat theory and now a senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was also a customer. Ullman has said that the claim was “beneath the dignity of comment.”
Also on Palfrey’s list of customers who could be potential witnesses are a Bush administration economist, the head of a conservative think tank, a prominent CEO, several lobbyists and a handful of military officials.
“I’m sure as heck not going to be going to federal prison for one day, let alone, four to eight years, because I’m shy about bringing in the deputy secretary of whatever,” Palfrey told ABC News correspondent Brian Ross in an interview to be broadcast Friday on “20/20.” “I’ll bring in every last one of them in if necessary,” she said.
Palfrey is due in federal court Monday morning to ask the judge to replace her current lawyer, a public defender, with a lawyer who she says “will be more aggressive in fighting the government.”
The indictment of Palfrey alleges she used more than 100 women over a period of 13 years “for the purpose of engaging in prostitution activity with male clients, including sexual intercourse and oral sex in exchange for money.” She made more than $2 million running the operation, known as Pamela Martin and Associates, according to the federal indictment.
Palfrey, who ran the service by phone from her home in Sonoma County, Calif., is the only person charged. None of her male customers is named by the government.
“That’s very hypocritical,” she says. “Why aren’t these people under arrest? Why just me?”
Palfrey claims she ran a legal operation that offered sexual fantasy but not “illegal sex” of the kind described in the indictment.
She says she hopes her prominent clients will testify they did not engage in actual sex when they hired her escorts.
“This was a sexual fantasy service,” Palfrey told “20/20.” “Occasionally a client would want to go to the Kennedy Center or go to dinner, but generally speaking they went straight to the homes, or they went straight to the hotels,” she said.
Palfrey provided ABC News with phone records from her business going back four years.
Cue the music, fog the room… Time to write
M People, One night in heaven…
I’ve been stuck in this period of my head for the last few days. But what a great place to be stuck for a time. Memories are good, especially when they explain what gay was like in the early 90′s and how it deeply impacted me. Here is another memory from that time.
We are headed somewhere, so stick with me…
All will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Shift change has started and I am off the happy hour shift that I used to work. Off to the kitchen to change for the night shift that is going to start soon. Farkle is in the booth and he fires up the first song of the night.
Jeans, t-shirt and chaps. The hot little stud is going to tempt the Temple of Earthly Desires once again tonight. A little tug here, and a zip there, I am ready for action. In the grand scheme of things I am a jack of all trades. Larry is in charge of liquor distribution, Kevin is in charge of incidentals, beer, ice, stock and supply. I am following up my fellows with the same.
But I have other responsibilities.
Open up your heart…
Aside from bar responsibilities, I am in charge of taking care of special guests and entertainers. I check them in at the door and escort them through the maze into the back stage area where all the real action is to take place. Nobody has access to the backstage area except employees and management. I am to make sure that they all have what they need, and that means, everything.
We are hosting the Leather man contests that are very common in the Leather community at that time. The schism of the Ft. Lauderdale leather men has not yet taken place, between the Old Guard and the New Guard. I am of the Old Guard group. I was born into this life by my Master Todd on that fateful night some time ago at the old location.
M People, ‘Don’t look any further…’
Someone to count on in a world ever changin’.
Here I am, stop where you standin’.
What you need is a lover, someone to take over.
Oh baby don’t look any further.
Strange when you think of the chances
that we’ve both been in a state of mind.
Too cool to be careless. Looking for the right thing.
Oh baby don’t look any further.
Tonight (tonight) we’re gonna taste a little paradise.
Rockin’ all night long. Rockin’ all night long.
Daylight (daylight) I’ll still be looking in your heavenly eyes.
Oh we rocked on and on and on.
I am in the position of leadership. Part of my education in those early days is obedience and respect. The hierarchy is set in stone and I know my place, I report to the Master, the guests report to me. I am in charge of taking care of their supplies and to make sure that they are treated with respect and the position that they hold in the greater community. This job, I take very seriously, because what the guests tell my boss later will reflect on my future as a man to be trusted and it will also either permit me further access or punishment. To be removed from community or silence is the greatest punishment in my world at that time. I learn that lesson the hard way at one point in the story…
Kevin has just walked in the door. He is young. He is a Leather man of the highest degree. I spent a night with him at the Caribbean Resort a few nights ago. I was caught in a moment of rapture. He is the finest specimen of a man I have ever seen and after the first introduction, I was taken. I was “Taken!” Sitting in the bar with him and his crowd was worshiping God. Kevin has my full attention and then some. There is nothing I would not do for him, and many things I would like to do for him.
He is competing tonight for the crowd, and I am going to make his competition the best of the night. In the grand scheme of things, he who is represented outstandingly is going to win this competition. But first they must prove themselves worthy of the award. A little conversation and a little performance that is going to knock to crowd off their high and mighty pedestals. This is where we separate the real men from the boys. That he is younger than most he is automatically at odds with them.
After all of my settling in work is done and everybody is checked in and I’ve seen to their comfort, I am off to take care of the rest of the bar. Everyone of our guests has a handler, and I am only to take care of Kevin. The lights are swinging at a fast pace, the music is pounding and I am dressed to the nines’ so to speak. I have rounded up all of the young leather men and we have discussed strategy for the night. As representatives for the young leather community, it is our job to look out for the interest of our club and the community at large.
As part of our education as a group, the bar has had weekly meetings of the Young Leather men. There are about 30 members and several Leather MEN to guide us and teach us about protocol, respect and personal safety. We have attended lectures and demonstrations and spent hours discussing situations and life experiences. When the bar is called on to host events, we are the first line of representation and service. I am the closest one to the center of the universe, by my position “to” my Master.
I am in charge of cleaning up the club all night. I am the one who is going to take up bottles and glasses and garbage on the main floor. It is my job to always keep the bar in a condition worthy of proper presentation. In addition to picking up refuse, I am the one who is going to keep the bathrooms up and running. Nasty pig men can be nothing but a head ache because while they are adults, they do not know how to clean up after themselves. They stop up toilets with glasses and mounds of toilet paper and this must be kept an eye on. Running toilets are detrimental to a proper nights business. This is one of the serious lessons that I must learn about because if I cannot clean up shit and dirty toilets, then I won’t be able to do it for myself.
I though about this last night after I wrote my last entry. I was dating a particular man at one time in this life. He was arrogant and yet I liked him. He did things for me that no one else had done. He made me feel things that I had never felt. He had room mates that were sick and could not go out in public without a diaper, because they were struck so hard by illness. It was very sad. They did not make it. but I digress…
The nights fly by one after the other and the job is the same. I am visible to everyone in the bar, because I have planned it that way. Part of my mystique is to get the right men to notice me. I have amassed quite a collection of gear to wear. I have collected it and some of it is custom made. This was the age of “High Leather” and I was at the center of the universe. I would troll the crowd as they came in looking at all the signs that were being flown. The hankies in the right or left pocket, what color they were, and what arm the armbands were being worn on. After a good hour of trolling I could go to my locker and replicate whatever “response” I was going to give back. It always worked. I could play the game just as well as the heaviest hitters.
Nothing pleased me more than to walk out of the kitchen in my chaps and usually by the late hours of the night, I wasn’t wearing a shirt. I could do that then and get away with it. I would be carrying a bucket of ice (they were small garbage cans) full of ice, over to a particular bar, where the heavy hitters would be gathered. I would bounce behind the bar, dancing to the music that was being played and I would fool around with a bar tender, we were all family.
What the ‘lookers’ were very cognizant of was that I knew that many of them were flying red or red brick HANKIES in their left pockets. I had responded with the same hankie in my right pocket. And we would stand there and I would watch them look at me and then they would make a fist and hold it up in front of their faces, pondering the thought, look at me, well, at my backside, and then back at their hands and then they would shake their heads, in disbelief. That was the most excellent feeling…
To know that they noticed me. I played the game and I usually won…
The music would change as mixes were played…
One night in heaven.
I’m on the dance floor, Farkle is in the booth, he is dancing as I look over to the booth from where I stand and I can see him pointing towards the speakers above the booth. He is in a good space tonight. He is playing “up” music and everybody has escaped into that place of utter bliss. It is all well tonight. We have done our jobs. The bodies are gyrating to the same beat, bodies move in unison. Sweat is falling down all around me, I feel arms around me. Hugs and pushes, tugs and tweaks. I set down my bag for a moment on the bass speakers lining the wall and I am engulfed in the arms of some of my friends, and we dance for all it is worth. I am watching the lights swing from one side to the other, and I am in heaven.
The nights would pass by, and this same story repeated itself, for many months. The music, the dress or states of undress, the games and much more important, the fact that we more alive during this period of time, than we would ever be again. We laughed and we cried, we partied and we recovered. We we loved and we were cared for by our champions, My Master Todd, gave me a life I would never have had if I was a stranger in this world. It was as close to Babylon, as we would ever get, no matter where I worked, lived and partied, this ‘place’ would never be seen again, in any incarnation or my greatest wish for it to be.
I became a light man years later and I moved from the main floor to the booth, which was a great time in my life. To be able to get a crowd on the floor to scream and shout because of ones ability to ‘play lights’ to great music was the greatest feeling. But that is another story for another night… maybe later…
From my days at the Stud (The Temple of Sin), I wrote this reflection many years later, at the end of the QAF series as it happened here in Montreal. (Mark) I refer to in this later piece is the same (Farkle) who DJ’d at the Stud during these years I have previously wrote about in the Temple of Sin.
The end of an era has come; the boys and girls of QAF have taken their final bow here in Canada. Tears rolling down my face, she sang, “What have you done today to make you feel proud!” Five seasons and two countries and a lifetime of memories set to the music of the thumpa, thumpa, thumpa.
I was on my slip during this time of my life from Summer 2000- until December 9th 2001 when I got sober this second time. This shows you how insane my life got when I started drinking and doing drugs after four years of sobriety. It was amazing, it was painful and it was another chapter that I lived through.
In my earlier life, QAF would play on Saturday nights before the bars would open for business. I would always watch and I would dream, then I would shower and shave my body bare and dress in the skimpiest shirt and tightest jeans I owned and hail the cab that would spirit me away to “Salvation!” This club was in a HUGE warehouse on the west side of Miami Beach, it was a $5.00 taxi ride from home.
I would work all week, to save enough cash to get as drunk and as high as I wanted every week without fail. This was prior to my second coming! The early boys would gather in the retaining area for free drinks before midnight and we would take the time to do our selected drugs in the hopes that they would kick in by the tolling of the midnight bell as the doors would swing open and the darkness and thump of the music would beckon.
Slowly we would file into the main dance hall and stake our claim to our section of the dance floor as the lights and lasers would begin to spin. The drama began with the opening welcome number performed by the greatest entertainers that Gay Miami Beach could offer. We would sing and dance and cheer on the show and salute the dj from the floor. As the show ended the lights would bow out and once again darkness would envelope the crowd.
The only reason one left the dance floor was to further the high or the buzz. It was just an hour till the real show began, the 1 a.m. tolling of the bell, and as it rang everyone would be pleasantly tipsy and totally spinning in the clouds as one by one we would remove our shirts and the bare cheated SOBE men would appear from under their safe and sane muscle shirts, I was one of them. I was a lot thinner and much younger looking and I thought, well, I prayed that One Day I would become one of those “Babylon boys!”
Each weekend it was the same ritual, an episode of QAF, the proper grooming and dressing with the hopes that each successive Saturday might bring me closer to the nirvana I sought. But, I would always end up dancing alone in the same spot week after week. My friend Mark would find himself too pumped up on special K to remove himself from the stairs that took one to the second dance area upstairs.
On Sunday we would talk about just how terribly high we got the night prior and we would pledge not to do that again, because Sunday’s were a bitch. I would end my Saturday night around 6 am on Sunday Morning, by pouring my inebriated and tweaked out self into a taxi, and I would come home and crawl into my apartment and I would always do the same thing, I would shower, make some food and put on The Cider House Rules to which I would pass out for the few hours that stood between me and work where I had to be at 11 a.m. each Sunday morning.
For some reason, each weekend, I was fixated on one thing and that was to retain my SOBE party boy, Babylon seeking youth. I wanted that life, it was all about looking good and being seen in a sea of men who were no less than perfect in every way, shape and form, except for one thing, the entire weeks efforts were spent working out, tanning on the beach and buying the most fabulous clothes to dress to impress the goggling men who would come to Salvation to find their Salvation.
At one point in my SOBE experience I worked for a friend in his tanning salon, just across the street from where Salvation stood. And you’d never guess this, but a tanning salon on South Beach did incredible business on Saturday afternoons and evenings.
I wanted; well I coveted many things in my younger incarnation. The hot “to die for” body, I wanted the affection of those men I so followed each weekend. Fuck my HIV and the whole being responsible bit, I didn’t care if it meant for a few hours on a weekend that I could be just “one of the Babylon Boys.”
The music was thumping, and for a few hours I could “escape” and that is what it really was, an escape from reality. Sad though, how reality always wins when it comes to fantasy. The fantasy “escape” ended for me on the night that I prayed for the eternally nasty Hangover. God did not disappoint me on that prayer. He made sure he made his point perfectly clear. “THE PARTY IS OVER!!”
I got sober shortly after that response from God.
After I left Miami for the bright lights and big city for Montreal I was sober. And it’s funny that Salvation closed its doors, and here I thought that they closed because I was no longer a paying, drinking customer! HA, HA, HA, HA, the bar closed when the drunk left the establishment.
It’s all about me right? Wrong! Funny huh, I went from the life of Brian Kinney, the bar hopping wonder single boy who lived for Babylon, in Miami, I MOVED to CANADA and met a man whom I eventually MARRIED and became Brian Novotny, but I never forgot who I was, or left that person and memories behind.
There are really bad and nasty memories in my past, but there are also some
Wonderfully special great memories as well, As Melanie and Lindsay reminded us that it good to have bad memories because they keep us grateful for the good ones. Miami was NOT a bad place, I mean I grew up there, emotionally and sexually, and I would not have changed anything at all, save for one thing, I would want all my friends who have died since then to be here again, for one last night at Babylon.
So we say so long to the crew from Liberty Avenue and we say Thank You for what you did for the gay community in the United States and in Canada as well. I thank you for reminding me that as Michael said “Maybe some things are meant to stay the same!” but as Brian has said, “life changes we grow up and get older” but still at age 38 I refuse to grow up and let go of the young man who used to dance until the sun came up, and the boy who STILL appreciates good dance hall music, and the boy who still needs to be seen and loved for all his flawed humanity.
There will never be another series like Queer as Folk, and I for one will miss your visits on Monday nights, but I am forever grateful, that for a little while I was able to dance and party as if I were in “Babylon” itself. Brian said it so eloquently “No apologies and No regrets!”
Good bye boys and girls…….
I am sad that it’s over but as they say
All Good Things Must come to an End!!!