As of Friday, Dec. 3, two days after World AIDS Day, AIDS doesn’t just go away or crawl into a locked box and remain adequately out of reach from the ones you love. HIV infection continues along a familiar course: Indiscriminately dismantling the health and happiness of millions of people as if nothing or no one will ever be able to stop it. And since we can’t see the magnitude of the crisis from our front porches, why dwell on it, especially during this cheery holiday season?
You know what else never seems to go away? The hate. The bigotry, single-mindedness, and ignorance that continue to creep into our homes, our schools, our legislative bodies, our courtrooms — our places of worship. Identity and HIV infection are not mutually exclusive. First it was a gay disease. Then it was gender-focused. Then it became a minority problem. And now it’s labeled either a teen issue or a poverty issue. No matter how you slice it, there’s a steaming side of stigma to choke down right alongside living with the illness.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Santa Fe’s Plaza obelisk was illuminated red to raise awareness about the continuing global AIDS crisis and to promote an AIDS-free planet by 2015. But here’s the thing: you can light up a million national landmarks and cover yourself head-to-toe with red ribbons; that’s a lovely sight and a nice communal gesture with (usually) good intentions. But to affect a real paradigm of consciousness and conscience regarding AIDS and AIDS discrimination (and discrimination of any kind, really), you have to strike at the jugular, pierce the heart, and shake the soul loose from the bonds of parentally and institutionally ingrained opinions and fears that you are led to believe can keep the real world and all of its discomforts and suffering at a safe distance. (They don’t).
You and I need people like performers and aka who present their semi-autobiographical hip-hop opera,
at at arts center (1614 Paseo de Peralta, 989-4423). Blending rap and spoken word, they discuss their lives growing up in San Antonio, Texas, one of them identifying as Chicano, the other identifying as queer Chicano. Following a glut of gay-bullying cases throughout the country, many of them ignored by “responsible” adults and some of them ending in death, the time is ripe for the hip-hop community — which has never been particularly gay-friendly — and the LGBTQ community to find more common ground. It’s also time for hip-hop artists to set a better example for their peers and audiences.
Racial and sexual identity can be uncomfortable topics for young people to discuss. Commendably, Foxx and Esquivel leave themselves exposed in order to help set the dialogue in a framework that can be more comfortably absorbed. Thanks are also on order for Southwest CARE Center, Warehouse 21, New Mexico Community AIDS Partnership, Santa Fe Mountain Center, and the New Mexico Department of Health, who co-present these two performers in an atmosphere where they, and their audience, can feel safe and welcome. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all feel that way 2015? There is a requested $5-10 donation at the door, but no one will be turned away.
— Rob DeWalt Formed in 2002, Albuquerque outfit is the joint to hit in the 505 if you’re looking for retro funk, neo-soul, and classic and contemporary R & B. Describing themselves accurately as “kinda like Prince meets Sade at Rick James’ house party,” JDS can bring it loud and heavy Funkadelicstyle or rock a slow jam that could smack the “sexy back” right off Justin Timberlake’s stubbly face. Catch these 2009 New Mexico Music Award Winners for Best Adult R & B group at
at (401 S. Guadalupe St., 983-4559). Tickets are $5 at the door.