|George C. Guarino 1-1-1960 to 3-3-1992|
|Beautiful anemones from Keith in Valerie's pretty vase|
|Keith's Walking Iris' first bloom opened today|
|anemones close up so delicate and colorful|
|Keith working to prepare for his first demonstration 3-2-2011|
I am always a little sad this couple of first days of March because my red bearded partner George Guarino died of complications of AIDS in 1992 on the third day of March. It was a shock and a relief because he went through some really hard treatments none of them worked in the end. We fought the good fight together but he didn't make it through. Then the following year the great guy Harry Powers who shared his mansion with us on Logan Circle died on March 2nd 1993 as I was serving him dinner in his bed. He had a heart attack at 64 and was dead in an instant. From there things got worse before they ended up getting better but I learned a lot from these people.
So this is a day that I reflect on how far I have come from the dark days of nearly dying from the scourge of AIDS and the bright spots in my life since I saw a treatment that worked work for me and some of my friends.
I am grateful for so many things. The creative community that I feel part of in the Washington area, the great treatments and care I receive, and my wonderful partner of the last 12 years, Keith who brings me flowers when ever I ask for them and supports my every need. I am proud of Keith who completed his studies to become an Ikebana teacher and presented his first demonstration to the other teachers in one of the premier groups here in DC. I am grateful for the great friends who have come from and support our male figure drawing group now in it's 16th year just to name a few. Each year I reflect on today with sadness that all those great guys like George, and Harry who didn't make it through but I am very grateful to be healthy to make art and share it with anyone who wants to see.
We have come along way since the dark days of AIDS with no effective treatment and hate and bigotry towards those with the virus. Watching the demonstrations in the middle east and north Africa reminds me how important freedom to protest and express freely your needs to power and government is a real valuable freedom. We have many effective treatments thanks to those who protested in the streets and halls of American government 20 years ago. George was one of those protesters and he was a soldier who was thrown out of the Army for being gay which he also protested. He would be so amazed at how effective his activism was in the 21st century, I know I am. Power to the people who speak up for their rights!