March #45 : Gay Guru - by Paul Festa

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues

Table of Contents

Dog Days in Malibu


Born in Flames

Gay Guru

Soldier of Fortune

Rare Gem

Marathon Man

On the Waterfront

Race With the Angels

Mean Streets


To the Editor

Ticket to Ride

Death by Disclosure

Slip Off the Old Block

Poster of the Month: Ruff Times


Say What

HIV in the Hood

No Brownie Points

Grades for AIDS

French Twist

Southern Discomfort

Sister Act Up

Sister Act Up


POZarazzi: Call It a Day

Verse: Terminal Girl

Primary Concerns


Naming Names

Fast Company

Junk Mail

Life After Legacy

Spin Doctors

PWAs’ Best Friend

What’s Up, Doc?

HIV’s Incredible Endgame

The ABCs of Baby AZT

Hit the Dirt

Selling Sustiva

Publish or Perish

Best of the Rest

Where to Find It

What a Waste

Full Disclosure

People, Their Pets and Pet Peeves

Parental Guidance

Aunt Evelyn's Letters

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

March 1999

Gay Guru

by Paul Festa

Men and the art of satsung in the Castro

It was 1970, and Adrian Brooks was lying naked on a sofa in a New York art gallery. Not passed out or posing, either -- he was portraying a corpse in Andy Warhol's The Adventures of Brigid Polk. Yet the young actor was disobeying Warhol's orders. "I didn't want to be a dead body, so I started moving," Brooks recalls. "Not really moving -- just sloooooowly slipping off the couch. It was more interesting than doing nothing."

Flash forward 29 years, and guess what? Brooks is still refusing to play dead. HIV positive he reckons for some 20 years, the 51-year-old attacks his newest role with all the enthusiasm of an ingenue: Brooks is a guru.

Born into Philadelphia high society, he long ago bucked his family's expectations by embarking on a career in the arts and activism. Now, taking a page from the great Hindu texts, Brooks instructs his San Francisco disciples in the painstaking practice of detachment from the body.

On this rainy Sunday afternoon in the Castro, Brooks is teaching half a dozen students who sit cross-legged in a circle in his living room satsung, Sanskrit for "being with truth." The hour is equal parts meditation, philosophy and group therapy. "It's wonderful to have satsung here," he tells us. "Not just in this house, but in this neighborhood -- the heart of the gay capital of the world."

But the gay guru goes on to voice mixed feelings about his ghetto. "Gay men are seriously off track with this crazy cult of the body," he says. "It's a no-win situation. How can you possibly age, come to awareness or greet death if you're supposed to devote your days to looking like a 23-year-old with washboard abs?" Brooks smiles. We all smile back, secretly sucking in our stomachs.

So does enlightenment equal life? "I don't know how my virus responds to my mentality, but I'm still here," a post-satsung Brooks tells me. "And whether my life goes on for another two weeks or 35 years, I'm fulfilled. The opportunity to recognize the truth and share it with people -- that's what I wanted in this life."

[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Did you participate in an event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.