The Skinny With Patrik-Ian Polk, the Gay Filmmaking Love Child of Spike Lee and Tyler Perry

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Before meeting the director of The Skinny for lunch recently, I had seen Patrik-Ian Polk refer to himself on his Twitter profile as "The gay Tyler Perry. Shut up." But I'd also heard of him referred to as the gay Spike Lee.

So which is it, I inquired when we met, especially since many people consider the former of those two directors to already be gay?

"It's both," he says laughing.

Polk considers himself something of the kind of love child Lee and Perry would have had they gotten together and been able to procreate. (Pushed as to whether he thinks Madea's alter ego could possibly be interested in women, Polk says, "He says he's straight," with something of a smirk on his face, adding, "I have no reason not to take him at his word.")

The influence of both filmmakers can clearly be seen in The Skinny, Polk's third feature film which just concluded a run at the Quad and premiered on Logo this month. In a similar way that Lee put black (hetero) sexuality on the screen in a raw, in-your-face manner completely unlike how it had ever been seen before with She's Gotta Have It, Polk puts black homosexuality up there in a way rarely seen in narrative movies from the opening minutes of the film. Like Lee's early films (and, actually, from early dispatches we've heard about Red Hook Summer), Polk is wearing many hats behind the camera on The Skinny, a project he largely financed himself.

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Aundaray Guess, Artist and Writer, on Graduating from NYU as an Adult with HIV

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Twenty-five years ago, Aundaray Guess started college at the age of 19. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with HIV and dropped out of school. Guess, who is from Minneapolis, then got kicked out of his house when his mom found out about his status and sexuality.

For months, he slept in his car and applied for job after job until he was hired by a community theater. It was there that Guess began writing plays and launched Flayva Cabaret, a company focused on LGBT artists of color. About 11 years ago, Guess decided to move to New York for a life change. But it wasn't until a chance encounter at a drug store that he also decided to return to school and complete his degree.

Guess graduated from New York University with a social science degree on Monday, and received extensive academic accolades. The Voice caught up with him to talk about the challenges of going to school as an adult with HIV.

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AIDS In Oral History - Looking Back at 30 Years of the Epidemic (VIDEO)

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This past Pride Week has marked some amazing events, from passage of Marriage Equality in New York, to a President ducking that issue while visiting the city, to that same President marking National HIV Testing Day and preparing to host a White House Pride reception.

This Pride also marks the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic, which has killed over 33 million people worldwide. Marking the occasion, the New York Public Library's Mid-town branch is hosting an event tonight called "AIDS in Oral History: Doctors and Activists Look Back on 30 Years of the Epidemic," featuring the work of two historians on this subject.


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Today Is The 30th Anniversary of AIDS

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via
‚ÄčToday marks the 30th anniversary of the first formal report of the disease that came to be known as AIDS. The disease baffled doctors and public health officials when it first appeared; described in some places as a "gay cancer," the HIV virus took three years to be identified and much longer than that for doctors to develop drugs that would effectively tamp down symptoms without debilitating patients.

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The 5 Bodily Fluids That Can Transmit HIV (Video)

5 Bodily Fluids (2011) public service announcement from jason wishnow on Vimeo.

I actually didn't know all of these! This is servicey. Slightly gross, but servicey.

[via BoingBoing]

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

Free Things in New York City: AIDS Tests, Washington Square Park, Tomorrow

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Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, which is neither a celebration of AIDS nor the day everyone in the world gets AIDS, but a day dedicated to AIDS awareness, which there will never be enough of. Like AIDS tests. Which are going to be given away for free in Washington Square Park tomorrow.

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