On Scene with Bill Wilson – Not so Straight from the Archives

Rather than the regular format of this column which features two people from my archives, this installment was inspired by my upcoming trip to Washington, DC and involves many friends who I won’t see on this visit. I was looking through my folder marked DC history. When I looked at this photo of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, taken at a performance they gave during an open house at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1984 I was immensely sadden.

GMCW performing in 1984. Many of the people in the picture are no longer living.

I helped take care of Chuck Bailey (second row third from left) when he was in the hospice unable to use his left side. He is standing next to Tom Dudley, whose family treated his partner with such respect during his memorial service, something that didn’t always happen back then. B.J. Sobus is the third from left n the back row. Of all the people in the picture the only one I know for sure is still alive is Ric Rosendall on the extreme right. That seems like such along time ago.

 Elizabeth Taylor signs an autographs after a performance of Little Foxes at the Kennedy Center.  

When Elizabeth Taylor was Mrs. John Warner I was able to photograph her as she left the Kennedy Center after a performance of “Little Foxes.” I was actually standing on top of a planter containing a tree to get elevated enough to take over her limousine which they parked on the sidewalk directly in front of the Eisenhower Theatre Stage Door. This was several years before her involvement in the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR). But her tireless advocacy on behalf of people with Aids earned her the respect of many and made her a true heroine.


Elizabeth Taylor gets in her limousine after making some autograph seekers very happy.

I actually misfiled the following phots because I labeled them “Hands Around the Capitol” when in fact it was “Hands Around the White House”. When I googled  the name I came across an interesting article from a Philadelphia paper about the event.

The red ribbons meet south of the Ellipse in protest of President Bush’s Aids policy.
FROM INQUIRER WIRE SERVICES Posted: October 13, 1992

WASHINGTON — AIDS activists carrying simulated American flags with skulls and crossbones in place of stars ringed the White House yesterday to protest what they say is President Bush’s weak response to the fatal disease.

The thousands of demonstrators, who formed a human chain with the aid of 6,000 feet of red ribbon, chanted, “Three more weeks, Bush will go.” …

The mood was upbeat at the rally, organized by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or Act Up, and police reported no incidents. Park Police Sgt. Patrick Gavin said an estimated 5,000 people took part.

“We are politicizing the red ribbon,” said Mike Petrelis, who helped organize the rally. “We are sending a message to the President and to any future administration that we will not tolerate AIDS business as usual.”


Protestor carrying a coffin covered in flowers are at the start of one end of the demonstration sponsored by ACT UP



The entire article can be found at http://articles.philly.com/1992-10-13/news/25997559_1_aids-protest-aids-baby-aids-activists

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