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'The Normal Heart' Teaser Trailer Unearths the Panic, Grief, and Humanity of the Early Days of AIDS: VIDEO


The film adaptation of Larry Kramer's largely autobiographical Tony award-winning (for its revival in 2011) play The Normal Heart is coming to HBO on May 25 and a new trailer debuted yesterday.

The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons, and chronicles the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York City as seen through the eyes of an activist.



Continue reading "'The Normal Heart' Teaser Trailer Unearths the Panic, Grief, and Humanity of the Early Days of AIDS: VIDEO" »

ACT UP Crashes Ceremony Dedicating Ed Koch's Last Residence as Historic Landmark: VIDEO


Members of ACT UP NY crashed an event naming former NYC Mayor Ed Koch's Fifth Avenue residence an historic landmark this week, reminding attendees of Koch's slow, inadequate response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

Watch (warning: autoplay) WPIX cover the ceremony and protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

(image facebook bill bytsura)

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Activists Disrupt 'Stoli Guy' Pageant in NYC in Protest Against Russian Vodka: VIDEO


ACT UP New York and Queer Nation activists disrupted another Stoli event last night protesting the promotion of Russian vodka. Stoli, which is produced by SPI group has denied that it is a Russian-owned company since it is based in Luxembourg and bottled in Latvia but has said that its ingredients and production are sourced in Russia.

Gay City News reports:

Five demonstrators affiliated with ACT UP New York and Queer Nation stormed the stage at Marquee New York in Chelsea at the start of the Most Original Stoli Guy national finale, which brought together the winners from competitions in 12 cities. Blowing horns and holding up signs with messages including “Dump Stoli,” the group –– Mark Milano, Brandon Cuicchi, Terry Roethlein, Piro Rexhepi, and Chris Kohler –– brought the show to a halt for about a minute, before they were dragged from the stage by the club’s bouncers.

As the men were hauled away, one of the evening’s hosts said, “We are very lucky to live in a country where we can speak freely.” The host added, “And one of the things we are celebrating tonight is the passion that is the Stoli brand, and that is passion.”

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

In July, another Stoli event at Splash bar was disrupted byt the same group of activists.

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ACT UP Protests Lack Of PrEP And PEP Outside New York Department Of Health

Taking a break from their recent protests of human rights atrocities taking place in Russia, members of ACT UP in New York City took to the streets in front of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) this past THursday, August 15, to protest the lack of funding and education surrounding PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) as effective means to prevent the transmission of HIV. Approximately 25 group members were gathered that afternoon, carrying signs with slogans such as “D’OH! I refused to fund PEP. Now 1000’s of NYers will get HIV,” “The ‘Healthcare’ Mayor Missed HIV,” and “Pozitively FRAUDulent & Absolutely NEGligent.”

ACT UP, best known for their pivotal roles during the initial outbreak of HIV and AIDS and the documentary How To Survive A Plague, organized the demonstration as a response to rapidly-increasing infection rates among young gay men and trans women. They allege that DOHMH committed "negligence and fraud" by failing to collect data on these new infections, and by presenting condoms as the only effective method for preventing the spread of HIV. Several ACT UP members could even be heard yelling  “Give us data! Give us numbers!” ACT UP activist Jim Eigo expanded on DOHMH's alleged negligence in the group's incendiary press release: 

“ACT UP has told DOHMH to start an information campaign to tell New Yorkers about PrEP. Their answer? DOHMH is afraid that such a campaign would create demand for the drugs in advance of a network of doctors equipped to oversee their safe and effective use. What a vicious cycle of ignorance and inaction!”

The group previously protested outside of Mt. Sinai Medical Center, after a man entered its emergency room asking staff for PEP after a possible exposure to HIV. ER staffers allegedly had no idea how to treat the patient. In their report, Out magazine went on to explain precisely how the two treatments work:

"Typically prescribed as thirty daily doses of the antiretroviral drugs Truvada and Isentress, PEP medication is used to prevent HIV infection from taking root in the body after an exposure to HIV, typically in the form of condomless sexual contact with a partner who is HIV-positive or of unknown status. The exact mechanism of PEP is unknown, but Truvada and Isentress are also used to prevent the virus from multiplying in already-infected patients. PrEP is similar to PEP except that it is given prior to possible exposures, typically only to patients who have taken PEP before or who have a history of high-risk sexual behavior, to prevent any exposures to HIV from turning into an actual full-blown infection."

Actup-signDOHMH responded to ACT UP's allegations in an email response to Out, in which a spokesperson promised that:

"The Health Department plans to expand information about biomedical HIV prevention interventions for at-risk populations, as well as information for clinical providers both on its website and in a format that can be disseminated easily by funded sites...In 2013, DOHMH spent $22.4 million on programs specifically for HIV prevention. Funding supported HIV testing, free female and male condom distribution, treatment adherence for HIV infected persons, biomedical prevention, including PEP for uninsured New Yorkers with clinically appropriate exposures, behavioral risk reduction, syringe exchange, harm reduction, and mental health screening...

"We stand by the favorable results we have achieved in reducing citywide morbidity and mortality associated with HIV and in the quality of our data. Since 2005, we have seen an increase in the proportion of people diagnosed with HIV who are in treatment, a decrease in the number of HIV-related deaths, and an increase in life expectancy for people with HIV. From 2001 to 2011, the number of new HIV diagnoses in New York City declined by 40%."

You can read more exceprts from the department's statement on

Dr. Alan Stein, an infectious-diseases specialist who treats many HIV/AIDS patients, disagrees with ACT UP, arguing that, while PrEP and PEP do play a role in reducing transmission, he still believes that condoms should be used as the first and primary line of defense:

“The way to curb the epidemic is to get more people tested. Then, once they are tested, getting them into treatment and staying on treatment. If you can do that, that will reduce the community viral load and the risk of transmission. Putting people on PrEP isn’t going to do that much to prevent further transmission of the disease. It’s more like individual protection. It’s not really a public health concept... While PrEP is important, and I do believe in it, I think it’s useful in select cases: someone who’s going to be compliant and adherent. It shouldn’t just be given willy-nilly to people who want to get it.”

BREAKING: Photos Of Russian Consulate Protest Hit The Web

Yesterday, Queer Nation and RUSA LGBT announced that the two organizations would be holding a joint protest of anti-gay violence and legislation outside of the Russian Consulate in Manhattan today. Now, according to Joe My God, "100 activists are demonstrating outside the Russian consulate". They've also apparently been joined by members of ACT UP, and photos are now hitting the web thanks to the Memeographs Facebook page and the ACT UP New York Twitter Account.

View some of the photos AFTER THE JUMP...

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UPDATED: ACT UP Disrupts Stoli Event At Splash In New York - VIDEO

  Most Original Stoli Guy
Less than a dozen members of ACT UP / NY stood up in front a crowd of roughly 150 at a "Most Original Stoli Guy: New York" event taking place at Splash Bar in Chelsea yesterday, and began shouting and displaying signs with slogans such as "Russia Kills Gays" and "Dump Stoli". Most of those in attendance viewed the demonstration in "bewildered silence", according to Gay City News. The show's drag queen host was the only one who vocally supported the Russian vodka brand, quipping, "This is what happens when you drink Absolut".

As security began tearing some of the group's signs and escorting them out of the building, the host went on to add, "Look at those assh*les being taken out of the bar. This is America, not Russia!" 

While ACT UP's demonstration turned out to be brief, one of the group's organizers, Mark Milano, was still pleased. "I think it was great," he said. "They were totally taken off guard. There were Stoli executives in the room who saw their event crashed." Another ACT UP member, Brandon Cuicchi, told Gay City News that “Stoli was doing an event they could not do in Russia. You’re not LGBT-friendly marketing to gay people while saying nothing in your home country. 

Act UpACT UP, an HIV awareness and activism group, first started making headlines during the late 1980's, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Now, the group is expressing its concern that Russia's new anti-gay "propaganda" law might cause harm to groups seeking to combat HIV in the country:

"The ACT UP demonstrators voiced specific concern that under the new Russian legislation, dissemination of safe sex education, condoms, and AIDS treatment drugs will be targeted as 'homosexual propaganda,' something that could cripple effective prevention efforts. The group is calling on UN AIDS to condemn the new Russian law."

Stoli's parent company, SPI Group, has already decried the Russian vodka ban and expressed its support for the international LGBT community. Many human rights activists, including the likes of Dan Savage, remained steadfast in their efforts to "dump Russian vodka". Last night's demonstraton no doubt serves as a reminder of that fact. 

UPDATE: Video footage of the protest has hit the web. Watch it AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "UPDATED: ACT UP Disrupts Stoli Event At Splash In New York - VIDEO" »


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