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Peter Adair (November 22, 1943 – June 27, 1996)

Peter Adair (22 November 1943 – 27 June 1996) was a filmmaker and artist, best known for his pioneering documentary, Word Is Out.

Adair was born in Los Angeles County in 1943. Adair entered the film industry in the 1960s and first gained critical attention with his 1967 documentary Holy Ghost People, a film record of a Pentecostal snake handler worship service in the Appalachians. From 1975 to 1977, he collaborated with his lesbian sister Nancy Adair and other members of the Mariposa Film Group to produce and direct Word Is Out. The film, the first of its kind to present gays and lesbians in a positive light, was a critical hit nationwide. Word Is Out inspired Nancy to collaborate with Casey Adair, Peter and Nancy's mother, on a companion book, published in 1978. Peter Adair always chose the subject matter for his film based on his current passions, and Word Is Out was as much a vital part of his own coming out process as it was an attempt to show gays and lesbians in a very human and non-sensational manner.

In 1983 Peter Adair produced Stopping History and in 1984 acted as consultant and did additional camerawork on The Times of Harvey Milk, directed by his former protégé Rob Epstein. That same year he worked with the Project Read adult literacy program of the San Francisco Public Library to produce a series of tutoring videos.


AIDS Quilt

As he began to see his friends in the art and film communities succumb to the plague of AIDS, Adair co-directed, with Rob Esptein, The AIDS Show: Artists Involved in Death and Survival, one of the first films to examine AIDS' impact on the arts community, in 1986. When he became aware of his own HIV status, he wrote and directed Absolutely Positive, an examination of how asymptomatic HIV positive people live with uncertainty.

On 27 June 1996, Peter Adair succumbed to complications of AIDS at the age of 52 in San Francisco.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Adair


Peter Adair, 1994, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123714)
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/digitallibrary/giard.html)


Further Readings:

Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality by Patrick Moore
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (January 14, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080707957X
ISBN-13: 978-0807079577
Amazon: Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality

The radical sexuality of gay American men in the 1970s is often seen as a shameful period of excess that led to the AIDS crisis. Beyond Shame claims that when the gay community divorced itself from this allegedly tainted legacy, the tragic result was an intergenerational disconnect because the original participants were unable to pass on a sense of pride and identity to younger generations. Indeed, one reason for the current rise in HIV, Moore argues, is precisely due to this destructive occurrence, which increased the willingness of younger gay men to engage in unsafe sex.

Lifting the'veil of AIDS,' Moore recasts the gay male sexual culture of the 1970s as both groundbreaking and creative-provocatively comparing extreme sex to art. He presents a powerful yet nuanced snapshot of a maligned, forgotten era. Moore rescues gay America's past, present, and future from a disturbing spiral of destruction and AIDS-related shame, illustrating why it's critical for the gay community to reclaim the decade.

How to Have Theory in an Epidemic: Cultural Chronicles of AIDS (Series Q) by Paula A. Treichler
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Duke University Press Books; 1 edition (July 19, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0822323184
ISBN-13: 978-0822323181
Amazon: How to Have Theory in an Epidemic: Cultural Chronicles of AIDS

Paula A. Treichler has become a singularly important voice among the significant theorists on the AIDS crisis. Dissecting the cultural politics surrounding representations of HIV and AIDS, her work has altered the field of cultural studies by establishing medicine as a legitimate focus for cultural analysis. How to Have Theory in an Epidemic is a comprehensive collection of Treichler’s related writings, including revised and updated essays from the 1980s and 1990s that present a sustained argument about the AIDS epidemic from a uniquely knowledgeable and interdisciplinary standpoint.
“AIDS is more than an epidemic disease,” Treichler writes, “it is an epidemic of meanings.” Exploring how such meanings originate, proliferate, and take hold, her essays investigate how certain interpretations of the epidemic dominate while others are obscured. They also suggest ways to understand and choose between overlapping or competing discourses. In her coverage of roughly fifteen years of the AIDS epidemic, Treichler addresses a range of key issues, from biomedical discourse and theories of pathogenesis to the mainstream media’s depictions of the crisis in both developed and developing countries. She also examines representations of women and AIDS, treatment issues, and the role of activism in shaping the politics of the epidemic. Linking the AIDS tragedy to a uniquely broad spectrum of contemporary theory and culture, this collection concludes with an essay on the continued importance of theoretical thought for untangling the sociocultural phenomena of AIDS—and for tackling the disease itself.
With an exhaustive bibliography of critical and theoretical writings on HIV and AIDS, this long-awaited volume will be essential to all those invested in studying the course of AIDS, its devastating medical effects, and its massive impact on contemporary culture. It should become a standard text in university courses dealing with AIDS in biomedicine, sociology, anthropology, gay and lesbian studies, women’s studies, and cultural and media studies.

Up From Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America by Larry Gross
Paperback: 295 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press (February 15, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0231119534
ISBN-13: 978-0231119535
Amazon: Up From Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America

A half century ago gay men and lesbians were all but invisible in the media and, in turn, popular culture. With the lesbian and gay liberation movement came a profoundly new sense of homosexual community and empowerment and the emergence of gay people onto the media's stage. And yet even as the mass media have been shifting the terms of our public conversation toward a greater acknowledgment of diversity, does the emerging "visibility" of gay men and women do justice to the complexity and variety of their experience? Or is gay identity manipulated and contrived by media that are unwilling -- and perhaps unable -- to fully comprehend and honor it?

While positive representations of gays and lesbians are a cautious step in the right direction, media expert Larry Gross argues that the entertainment and news media betray a lingering inability to break free from proscribed limitations in order to embrace the complex reality of gay identity. While noting major advances, like the opening of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore -- the first gay bookstore in the country -- or the rise of The Advocate from small newsletter to influential national paper, Gross takes the measure of somewhat more ambiguous milestones, like the first lesbian kiss on television or the first gay character in a newspaper comic strip.

More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices


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Tags: director: peter adair, particular voices
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