Saturday, 25 June 2011

Vito Russo: How To Go To The Movies

'"Well, it's about fuckin' time!" This was the late playwright Doric Wilson's reaction when he was approached by Michael Schiavi to be interviewed for The Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo, just published by the University of Wisconsin Press last month.
'A serious study of Russo's life was long overdue. In 1981, he wrote The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies, a groundbreaking look at how Hollywood had long depicted gay characters as either sex-crazed predators or helpless victims. (It was later made into a documentary featuring stars such as Lily Tomlin and Tom Hanks.) He also co-founded ACT UP and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; GLAAD now presents an annual award named after Russo (last year’s recipient was Ricky Martin).
'Russo died in 1990 at the age of 44. I had known him for only four or five years, but I was referred to Schiavi by a mutual friend. I sent him an email with my reminiscences of Vito, which I’ve included below, slightly edited. Some of these episodes were expanded in Vito's biography. (I thoroughly recommend that you read it!) Though this doesn't begin to enumerate Vito's accomplishments or his charms—and he had plenty of both — I'm presenting it here as a brief personal footnote to a very big public life...'

Tim J Luddy, The Man Who Outed Hollywood, Mother Jones.
The Celluloid Closet on YouTube. (Ssh!)

1 comment:

  1. There's a nice video on youtube of Vito Russo interviewing Harry Hay and Barbara Gittings. I love Barbara Gittings, especially...

    Part 1