Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Literary Change

The above picture is of me as Condom Man, circa 1996. My power was to save the world through HIV prevention. I've been with the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT) for fifteen years now. It is Southern California's largest provider of HIV/AIDS services to the Asian Pacific communities. I am heartbroken to say that I'll be leaving this fine organization at the end of January.

I started this job when I was twenty-five. I wasn't even writing then. APAIT was made up of writers and other artists when I began. It fostered my creative endeavors. It was at APAIT when my co-worker writer Joel Tan handed me a flyer for a free writing workshop. That flyer began my writing life.

AIDS and art is something I care deeply about. When a position at UCLA's World Arts and Culture Department opened up, working for the Make Art/Stop AIDS (MA/SA) project, it felt right to apply.

MAKE ART/STOP AIDS is an international network of scholars, artists, and activists committed to ending the global AIDS epidemic. With more than 40 million people infected with HIV around the world, and with only approximately 1 million receiving state-of-the-art care, the need for such a network is urgent. MAKE ART/STOP AIDS is founded on the principle that artists are an essential part of anti-AIDS efforts. Artists are master communicators. The arts themselves carry enormous potential as tools of education and information-sharing. Thus, MAKE ART/STOP AIDS seeks to establish artists as key partners in AIDS interventions around the world. You can read more about them here.

I'll be their new Community Organizer. To blend my love for art and all things creative with a cause that is near and dear to me seemed too good to be true. Here's to change!

16 comments:

Peter Varvel said...

This is wonderful news!
A hearty congratulations!

Rich said...

I cannot even find the proper words to describe how, um, heroic you look! But here's to your participation in a noble and necessary cause!

Prince Gomolvilas said...

I can't even pay any attention to your cause. I mean...I mean...that costume...! Distracting!

thelastnoel said...

Hey Peter, thanks for the well-wishing.

And Rich and Prince, my costume is hilarious. From that tiny waistline, you can see that I was a much, much younger man in that photo.

Cheryl said...

Congrats on the new gig, Condom Man! You are now officially WAC (as we Bruins always called that department).

Don Cummings said...

OH MY GOD! THis is so perfect.
Change the world, Noel. We must.

jasonphoon.com said...

Congrats on your new job!

about that costume, I don't know ... condom man kinda conjures up , white perhaps ? or maybe ribbed ? lets not go there ....

thelastnoel said...

Cheryl, I'm happily wacked.

Don, Let's change the world--as writers, we are.

Jason, how do they make condoms in Malaysia?

Hugo Minor said...

CONGRATS! Here's to a new year and a new career!

Angelo said...

Hey Noel. Good luck with the new work!

thelastnoel said...

Hey Hugo and Angelo, I'm pretty excited. Thanks for luck.

Sundry said...

Excellent news. Will you be on the UCLA campus? That's a very nice thing, too. I worked there for 8 years and loved the environment, the free gym and pool,the library, the coffee houses, the Fowler Museum, etc. (Oh, I'm getting all nostalgic!)

thelastnoel said...

Hey Sundry, yeah, I'll be on campus. Trust me, the amenities like the gym and pool were big favors in this decision.

momar said...

congratulations on the new job, noel. that condom man photo's just awesome. requesting to publish please. hahaha. kidding.

Sundry said...

Oh, you are gonna love it!

Liz said...

This is fantastic news! Your new gig blends two things you truly love so that's huge! Congratulations! But, uh, Condom Man??? I am speechless over that blue mask!