Monday, March 30, 2009

Literary Chorus

Evelyn Marquez, a new friend, invited me to see the Gay Mens Chorus of Los Angeles. Believe it or not, I'd never seen them before. I don't know why. Lord knows I'd been to every other gay event in town. (Hell, I've even produced some of them!). I guess I just didn't think it would be my cup of tea. I want something subversive, something more edgy.

Well, I was blown away my the Chorus, laughing and singing along. They'd been around for 30 years. Wasn't the act of getting a bunch of out gay men singing a subversive act back in the day? Anyone who has seen a musical can argue that gay men singing en masse is common--but they weren't necessarily OUT!
Read this from their website:
In 1978, as cars burned in the plaza outside San Francisco’s City Hall in protest at the sentencing of Harvey Milk’s killer, a small group of men joined the demonstrations—and began to sing. That’s how the modern gay choral movement was born.

There was a moment in the show when the chorus sang Unforgetable. A screen came down and it listed all of the men who'd passed away. And there were a lot! It wasn't said, but one couldn't help but wonder how many deaths were AIDS releated.
I'd written about AIDS before, but I can't imagine what it was like to have been a member of the chorus when AIDS was at its height.
A Member of the Chorus...hmmmm. Sounds like a book title, doesn't it?


jimmyblueyes said...

Thanks for your kind words for the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles! Now,please rally your friends to join you at our next big event! It's a joy to be celebrating our 30th anniversary.

Regarding the In Memoriam video that accompanied "Unforgettable:" today's choristers stand on remarkable shoulders. GMCLA has buried 154 singers with HIV in the years since Ronald Reagan was elected. Music was the grist that prolonged many lives as our choristers struggled with primitive AZT in those years before "the cocktail."

But GMCLA is also about laughs and politics, costumes, scenery and dancing as you witnessed from our stage last weekend. And spectacular singing. There's more to come! For a kick, visit YouTube and do a search for GMCLA. FaceBook too. You'll see fantastic clips from a variety of performances. (Hint: embed them here, if you'd like!) And note that we're no Choir. We're a chorus of singers and dancers who put on a knockout show! Cya across the footlights.

Sundry said...

I'll bet it was amazing. Oddly, I just saw the Palmdale High School Chorale sing at a bookstore and found them very moving. Voices!

Cheryl said...

I remember seeing the GMCLA perform as part of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion's Christmas Eve programing when I was nine or ten. I think they were the first out gay people I'd ever come into contact with! I'm glad they're still going strong.