Seasons of Hope
by Susannah Indigo
525,600 minutes, 525,600 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes -- how do you measure,
measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In
inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes -- how do you
measure a year in the life?
--"Seasons of Love," from "Rent"
How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of
"They say that I have the best ass below 14th Street...is it true?" Rosario Dawson's character, Mimi, asks of upstairs neighbor Roger, while melting the screen with her sexuality near the beginning of the new movie musical Rent. She prowls and sings and dances and you can't take your eyes off of her. "I'm just born to be bad," she tells Roger, himself an ex-junkie, who responds to her (in song, of course), "I once was born to be bad."
Dawson's is just one of many stunning performances/voices in the film adaptation of Rent, originally a Broadway play by Jonathan Larson (who died unexpectedly the night of the final dress rehearsal for the off-Broadway premiere in 1996, a tough way to vault your art into the stratosphere). It's a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning rock opera, which tells the story of one year in the life of a group of bohemians struggling in East Village New York. The film is not flawless, but it's very good, full of high energy and great voices, and the soundtrack is an essential addition for any fan of musicals. For a film that one critic described as: "It's about AIDS. And it's a musical," it's a remarkable achievement.
In another tale of hope and the triumph of the human spirit over desperation and resignation, the Pulitzer/Tony/Emmy/Golden Globe winning epic drama Angels in America is now available on DVD, and is a must-see for everyone with a curiosity about...well, anything in our modern world. And it's an amazing modern world we live in, when you can get six hours of great theater translated into your living room for $16 (used) on Amazon! Even the original playwright, Tony Kushner, must find that remarkable, given that he's the guy who has all of his work encoded in a chip in his watch, so that wherever he goes, it's always on him.
Bringing us up sharply from these great nineties-tales of love and loss in the time of AIDS, the New York Times reported last week that a home-version of "rapid-response" HIV testing will be available by next year. Interviewing attractive young women in bars, the NYT reporter found that the women
said "Absolutely!" when asked if they'd require a potential lover to take the test before sex. It's a whole new vision of foreplay -- "Here, let me swab your gums, baby, and then I'll catch you in twenty minutes...maybe." Let's see the movie musical that fits that in.
On a more serious note, this year's theme for World AIDS Day is a call to governments and policy makers to "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise." December 1 is a day to celebrate the progress that has been made to battle this epidemic, and also a time to realize that we are still fighting to find a cure. Knowledge is the key to prevention. To learn more about what you can do to support the World AIDS Campaign:
Take a minute and
find out what's happening on World AIDS Day in 2005.
Check the stats for the US, state by state.
Visit the Body.com, a complete resource for HIV/AIDS info, and check out what's new there.
View the very interesting moving timeline of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, from 1980 to the present -- and be sure to watch that bottom bar (the number of people living with HIV/AIDS) move.
Read the fascinating long interview in Rolling Stone (11/3/05 issue) with Bono, partially excerpted online here, about working with both Bush and evangelicals on the AIDS crisis.
Visit the Condomania store often, where custom-fitted condoms are all the rage.
Finally, there are a dozen different ways to donate, right here.
And let's hope that after the next 525,600 minutes we can measure the year not just in our own 'seasons of love,' but also seasons of hope and the triumph of human spirit over this worldwide epidemic.
©2005 by Susannah Indigo
Susannah Indigo is the Editor-in-Chief of Clean Sheets.
Read previous years' World AIDS Day writing.