April #46 : The Last Dance - by Gabi Horn

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L.A. Confidential

Fat Chance

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Ron Rosa

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Michelle Lopez


To the Editor

The Last Dance

Truth or DARE

Piece of Mind

Poster of the Month: Absolutely Not Enough

Hang a Right

Out in Africa

Mutual Disgust

8 Years to a Vaccine and Counting

Say What

POZarazzi: Shock Troops

High Time

POZ Picks


Back to Life, Back to Reality: Don Kao

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Roy Mead

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Linda Grinberg

The High Cost of Living

How to Make Art in an Epidemic

The Seven-Year Itch

Varsity Blues

A Woman Under the Influence

Integration Now

Get Over It

A Pocketful of Protein

Under-Celling PWAs

Brain Storm

Reefer Rap

Get Baked

All You Can Eat

Raging Hormones

Het Connect

Where to Find It

Frequent Flyer

April Showers . . .

Payback Time

From Fruits to Nuts

When Adam Met Eve

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

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April 1999

The Last Dance

by Gabi Horn

GMHC won’t party like it’s 1999

AIDS isn’t over, but the Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ famous Fire Island fundraiser is. Some bittersweet 16 years after it began as a beach-house memorial to the dead, GMHC pulled the plug on its annual Morning Party—the group’s last major fundraiser rooted exclusively in the gay community. The summer Sunday-afternoon-on-the-sand ritual had morphed into one of the nation’s fattest AIDS cash cows, raking in $464,000 from some 4,000 revelers in 1998.

A red-letter date on the gay party-circuit calendar, the event’s drug-rich reputation—reinforced by several busts and a few ODs—was one GMHC decided it could no longer afford. “We were getting it from all sides,” said communications director Greg Lugliani. “The press made it out to be a gay drug orgy. It was undermining our efforts to educate people about how substance abuse relates to HIV.”

Larry Kramer, a GMHC cofounder, fired the first stop-the-party shot in a 1993 Advocate column, and other gay writers such as Michelangelo Signorile and Gabriel Rotello then upped the rhetorical ante. Troy Masters, publisher of New York City’s gay biweekly LGNY, even played the conspiracy card when he told The New York Times, “The Morning Party was a self-perpetuating machine: It gave GMHC not only money, but future clients.”

But many were disheartened by the decision. “It reminds me of the ’80s bathhouse closings,” said Steve Kammon, editor of the zine Circuit Noize. “Shutting down parties doesn’t change behavior. It closes avenues of education and funding. Now the money will go to profiteers instead.” The party’s wreck only threatens to worsen the downsizing GMHC’s budget woes. Ironically, plans to recoup may bring fundraising full circle with a return to small beach-house parties, said Lugliani.

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