It's been a while since I heard from Vince, who created a sensation here in the Berkshires with his one-man-show, I Am My Own Wife at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield. That was last May and June, and previous to that he was here for another tour-de-force, Fully Committed. I had a serious, in-depth conversation with Vince for Berkshire Fine Arts about his role as Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite and antiques collector who survived and outwitted both the Nazis and the Stasi of East Germany. He loves the Berkshires and looks forward to returning soon.
First, a bit of bragging: this Tuesday, my sister, Dr. Barbie Gatton, is being inducted into the AIDS Walk Hall of Fame, in honor of her volunteer efforts over the last twenty years.
She and her friend Carron Leon have been running the first checkpoint at AIDS Walk for ages now, and on Tuesday they're being honored for it. Brava, ladies! If you've ever been to the Walk, you've seen them: always at Checkpoint 1, passing out water and snacks, shouting into headsets, pointing, sweating, and cheering.
Now, I'm nowhere near as impressive. But I have been doing the walk and raising money for the last six years, and AIDS Walk New York 2009 is coming up on May 17th; so I'll be walking again this year with my Salty Bitches team. (It's a Shakespeare thing.) Rah!
Thank you so very much, and I hope you are well and happy.
Here's a link to Vince's AIDS Walk page where you can become one of his sponsors and see who his friends are. Some are from the Berkshires.
Of course, GMHC , sponsors of this AIDS Walk, is a worthy organization, not just for the HIV/AIDS community, but for their work with elders - they coined the phrase Eldersexuals - and with Women's Issues. They are co-sponsors of the We're Not Taking it Laying Down campaign with the Women's History Month project, and dozens of other initiatives. You have to admire their spunk, imagination and energy.
While we are talking about Vince, here are some photos and video clips of his performances. You can also visit his website for more if you get hooked, like me.
I Am My Own Wife Videoclip from the Barrington Stage Production:
Fully Committed Videoclip from the Barrington Stage Production:
Here are a few of the shows he has starred in:
There's a Berkshire AIDS Walk, Too!
There is a Berkshire AIDS Walk each September in Pittsfield. According to Pat Wood at the ARC it was created, designed, and is owned by the Red Cross HIV/AIDS Program (the AIDS Coalition was invited to participate). Many Red Cross staff and volunteers donate their off-duty time to make this happen. And they always welcome more help. All the more reason to be sure to make Red Cross donations to the local chapter, not the generic national campaign in which no funds - zero, nada, zilch - gets back to the Berkshires. We will post more local details this summer.
There are many AIDS Services offered by the Berkshire Chapter of the American Red Cross, and many types of volunteers needed as well as on-line donations. It is always a good idea to let them know which program you are supporting, too. (There is no place for a note on the online form, but perhaps you could mail them a check. The address is on their website.)