People With AIDS | Letters | Chicago Reader

People With AIDS 

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To the editors:

I think your reviewer, Diana Spinrad must have been elsewhere on the night of December 1 [Theater, December 8]. What Michael Kearns has done with intimacies is to attach an identity to a statistic. Often we hear statistics about all the prostitutes, hustlers and drug addicts affected with AIDS, yet how often have we been faced with their plight on television, movies or theatre? How often are we given an opportunity to understand? This is what intimacies does. The six characters in intimacies are admittedly not politically or even socially correct. How though could you have no compassion for them? Denny (Gay) is dying of the hatred and prejudice that he has experienced throughout his lifetime, not of the love he has shared with other men. Big Red (Black prostitute) questions why her baby has been born to die, while her mother, who allowed her to be abused as a child by her uncle, lives. Patrick (Gay) has led a perfect existence until now. How can he face his lover? What will happen? Rusty, (Junkie/Hustler) a confused teen, grapples with his sexuality, maintains $100 a day drug habit any way he can, who ultimately wants nothing more than to be loved. Mary (blood transfusion) is forced to deal with her loneliness, religious beliefs, homophobia, having AIDS and the love of her gay son. Phoenix (middle aged junkie) now in his AIDS-related blindness finds time to stop and smell the roses. He finds friendship in another P.W.A. and in the warmth of another living being, a stray cat.

These people are not embarrassments to society. They are a very real part of society. They think and they love. intimacies expands our knowledge beyond television's "An Early Frost," beyond news releases of Rock Hudson's death, or babies born with AIDS. It is a loving and compassionate portrayal of PEOPLE with AIDS who would otherwise have no voice if it wasn't for Michael Kearns and intimacies.

We don't have to like all the characters in intimacies, we don't have to approve of their lifestyles, but feeling compassion for those less fortunate is an innate human characteristic. AIDS makes all of us uncomfortable. AIDS is difficult to understand and to deal with. Chicago and the Midwest are ready for intimacies. If attitudes such as Ms. Spinrad's prevail in this area, then Chicago and the Midwest need intimacies.

Danny Kopelson

W. Cornelia

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