April 16th, 2014 | United in Anger: A History of ACT UP | Lake Placid, NY
The longest drive of the tour was Tuesday the 15th, from West Long Branch, NJ to Lake Placid, NY with a brief stop at Metropark Train Station to pick up my partner, Nelson Gonzalez. The drive took 8 hours and was a nightmare. I hate to drive and this is why. It takes forever, you have to be continually on guard. It’s so much easier to take the train and read while someone else does the driving. I wish this country had a real public transportation system, but I wish a lot of things were different about this country.
Anyway, I’m driving along the New York State Thruway when suddenly the car in front of me starts spewing clouds of white smoke. I slow down to figure out what’s happening and then the underside of the car bursts into flames. I slowed down some more and gave it a wide berth as did all the other cars following me. Luckily there was a gas station right there so the driver pulled over. It was impossible to determine whether it was some garbage attached to the bottom of the car or the muffler that caught fire.
And then it started raining. At one point, it was raining so hard that I couldn’t see anything and had to pull over until it lightened up. As we neared Lake Placid, we drove along the raging Ausable River. It was astonishing how much water there was.
The Raging Ausable River
And then it started to snow! 4 inches of snow, 12 degrees, and we thought winter was finally over!
The Sign Outside Lake Placid Center for the Arts
Before the screening, I was interviewed by Naj Wickoff of the Lake Placid News. We went into the auditorium in the lovely Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Naj pulled up a chair to sit and talk to me, but it was on the wrong side of the rake and he went tumbling, hitting his head on a seat. Luckily he wasn’t injured and we continued talking about the AIDS crisis and about the Diamanda Galas performance of Plague Mass that he arranged at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine shortly after the Stop the Church action.
This was a lovely screening to end on. I hope it was a good event for the LGBT community of Lake Placid and environs. We had a good discussion afterwards because most of the audience remembered those times and, in fact, were involved in AIDS activism and/or caring for someone. One younger member of the audience confessed that he couldn’t understand how anyone could be against taking care of sick people or giving out life-saving information. In retrospect, I can’t understand it either, but it happened.
Then the long drive and home again, at last!
Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Jim Hubbard.
To listen to a podcast interview with the filmmaker, click here.