Mr. Helbing served as Managing Editor of The Drama Review for four years beginning in 1977 and contributed to many theatrical and gay and lesbian publications, including "The Advocate" and "TheaterWeek". He was theater editor at "New York Native" from 1981 until his death, and he contributed a weekly theater news column at "Stonewall News". In 1979, he was founder and publisher of the JH Press (named for his father, John Helbing), which became the drama division of the Gay Presses of NY. GPNY was also started by Helbing in conjunction with Felice Picano and Larry Mitchell in 1982 and they published Harvey Fierstein's successful "Torch Song Trilogy", among others. In addition, he cofounded the Gay Theatre Alliance, an international organization dedicated to the growth of gay theatre by connecting theater companies and playwrights through a quarterly newsletter. He served as President of the organization and edited the "Gay Theatre Alliance Directory of Gay Plays".
Helbing also played in a gay bowling league. Helbing co-founded the Meridian Gay Theatre Produciton Company in 1983 with Terry Miller and together they produced plays and musicals with gay and elsbian themes. The Meridian's most immediate parent was The Glines (founded in 1976 by John Glines), which was an off-off Broadway theatre and Production Company. The Glines was turned over to Helbing and Miller and, through a generous grant, they started the Meridian which became the only continuously operating gay theatre with a homebase on the East Coast. Helbing became Artistic Director but was largely responsible in all areas. The Company moved into the Shandol Theatre at 137 W. 22nd Street and produced a number of plays including "Stray Dog Story" by Robert Chesley and "Last Summer at Bluefish Cove" by Jane Chambers. They initiated a Playwrights and Directors Series which featured staged readings of new plays nad they sponsored a national gay playwriting contest every year.
Terry Helbing passed away from AIDS on March 28, 1994 in New York City.
For one thing, he lived and breathed theater. And while we were also interested in theater, it was never on the daily, or I could almost say hourly, scale that Terry lived theater. Most of the time that I knew him, he was a stage critic, and also usually engaged in one or another stage production, in one capacity or another. And in time I ended up being drawn into his theater obsession and having plays of mine produced by him. --Felice Picano
Terry Helbing, 1992, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1121477)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
True Stories by Felice Picano
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions (March 1, 2011)
Amazon: True Stories
From author Felice Picano, co-founder of the path breaking Violet Quill Club, comes a new collection of memoirs, many of which have never appeared in print. Picano presents sweet and sometimes controversial anecdotes of his precocious childhood, odd, funny, and often disturbing encounters from before he found his calling as a writer and later as one of the first GLBT publishers. Throughout are his delightful encounters and surprising relationships with the one-of-a-kind and the famous-including Tennessee Williams, W.H. Auden, Charles Henri Ford, Bette Midler, and Diana Vreeland.
Art and Sex in Greenwich Village: A Memoir of Gay Literary Life After Stonewall by Felice Picano
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Basic Books (June 28, 2007)
Amazon: Art and Sex in Greenwich Village: A Memoir of Gay Literary Life After Stonewall
A decade after the Stonewall rebellions, a small, all-gay press named Seahorse began along with Calamus Books and JH Press, which all came together to form Gay Presses of New York. Gay Presses of New York was not only the most successful gay press of its day, but the founders had made their move at the right time and place. Gay Presses of New York also played apart in the growth of what is now gay culture, consisting of bookstores, magazines, newspapers, theater companies, and art galleries. Many aspects of the arts, as they swirled around New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco during the 1970s through 1991 were connected to Gay Presses of New York.