John Kelly, performance artist When was your last good cry? Three weeks ago when a lover left town. It was the end of an affair. Your last good laugh? When I saw drag performer Joey Arias at Bar d’O in New York City. He’s so irreverent. Which is better medicine—laughing or crying? Crying, because you’re focused on “it,” whatever “it” may be. When you laugh, you’re wonderfully distracted, but you still have to go home and face “it.” Tearjerker (makes you cry): The littlest thing can trigger a volcano. Sometimes just being alive, juggling a career, love, coexisting with a virus—it gets to the point when you look around and say, “Wait a fucking minute.” Jawbreaker (makes you smile): The Tao Te Ching puts me back on track. It makes me feel grateful and humble.
Scott Williams, AIDS writer Last cry: When I left San Francisco 14 months ago, I cried for 24 hours. I started while saying goodbye to friends in the Haight and stopped when I landed at New York’s Kennedy airport. Last laugh: At Sandra Bernhard’s Broadway show, I’m Still Here, Dammit. Better med: Tears and laughter are great combination therapy. Tearjerker: The 1989 documentary about the AIDS quilt, Common Threads, and the patty-cake scene in The Color Purple. Jawbreaker: My best of ’70s funk album, especially “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus.
Emily Carter, writer Last cry: Watching Emergency Vet on the animal channel. This old lady had to put her sheep down. She’d had it forever. Last laugh: One morning my boyfriend woke up and did an interpretative dance that he called “Good morning to the king of buttercups.” Better med: It depends on why you’re laughing and why you’re crying. There are different remedies for different ailments. Tearjerker: The Replacements’ “Here Comes a Regular,” a bar-room ballad. Jawbreaker: Salsa.
Dominic Hamilton-Little, performer, writer, POZ contributing editor Last cry: Last night in therapy. If I don’t cry, I feel like I wasted my money. Last laugh: When my former roommate and I performed our own version of Cirque de Soleil. Better med: Laughter is the best antiretroviral. Tearjerker:BriefEncounter, the 1945 black-and-white film by David Lean. It’s a classic weepy: As soon as the credits roll, I’m up and running. I don’t even sit down without a full box of Kleenex. Jawbreaker: Any novel by Georgette Heyer. Romances are my guilty pleasure. Some turn to alcohol—I turn to Georgette.
Jane Fowler, cochair, National Association on HIV Over 50 Last cry: In 1995, months after my father died, I took my car for repair work and misunderstood how much it would cost. There was a bit of a scene, and by the time I left I was near hysteria. If my dad was alive, he could have dealt with those car-repair people. I felt so undervalued as a woman that I lost it. Last laugh: Reading Al Franken’s Why Not Me? He becomes president in 2000 by promising to eliminate ATM fees. Better med: Oh, God, laughter! It’s the best. Tearjerker: The scene in One True Thing when they’re singing Christmas carols and it’s obvious that Meryl Streep’s character won’t be around for the next season. Jawbreaker: Biographies of journalists. They cheer me up because I get out of myself and into someone else’s life.
Maggie Atkinson, cochair, AIDS Action Now! Last cry: Last year, when I found out my boyfriend wasn’t faithful to me. Last laugh: When I saw the movie There’s Something About Mary. Better med: Laughing. I choose comedy over tears. I like happy endings. Tearjerker: Old-fashioned films like It’s a Wonderful Life, where human goodness and charity prevail. Movies like Stepmom make me cry, but I feel manipulated so I resent it. Jawbreaker:Top Hat, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
...BRING FLOWERS A rose is a rose is a rose, even when Madonna draws it. In Signature Flowers, a coffee-table collection of 100 flower doodles by a who’s who of art, lit and entertainment, Victoria Leacock weaves a daisy chain of pop perennials. Here, the Material Mom picks one for her painter pal, the late PWA Keith Haring. Thirty percent of book sales go to ASOs.