This event takes place in person at Charis and on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. This event is free, but registration is required for virtual attendance. Click here to register to attend virtually. Please read the in-person event guidelines at the bottom of this page to be sure you can participate in the event.
Charis welcomes Sarah Schulman for a reading and discussion of Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993. Twenty years in the making, Sarah Schulman's Let the Record Show is the most comprehensive political history ever assembled of ACT UP and American AIDS activism.
In just six years, ACT UP, New York, a broad and unlikely coalition of activists from all races, genders, sexualities, and backgrounds, changed the world. Armed with rancor, desperation, intelligence, and creativity, it took on the AIDS crisis with an indefatigable, ingenious, and multifaceted attack on the corporations, institutions, governments, and individuals who stood in the way of AIDS treatment for all. They stormed the FDA and NIH in Washington, DC, and started needle exchange programs in New York; they took over Grand Central Terminal and fought to change the legal definition of AIDS to include women; they transformed the American insurance industry, weaponized art and advertising to push their agenda, and battled—and beat—The New York Times, the Catholic Church, and the pharmaceutical industry. Their activism, in its complex and intersectional power, transformed the lives of people with AIDS and the bigoted society that had abandoned them.
Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members and rich with lessons for today’s activists, Let the Record Show is a revelatory exploration—and long-overdue reassessment—of the coalition’s inner workings, conflicts, achievements, and ultimate fracture. Schulman, one of the most revered queer writers and thinkers of her generation, explores the how and the why, examining, with her characteristic rigor and bite, how a group of desperate outcasts changed America forever, and in the process created a livable future for generations of people across the world.
Sarah Schulman is the author of more than twenty works of fiction (including The Cosmopolitans, Rat Bohemia, and Maggie Terry), nonfiction (including Stagestruck, Conflict is Not Abuse, and The Gentrification of the Mind), and theater (Carson McCullers, Manic Flight Reaction, and more), and the producer and screenwriter of several feature films (The Owls, Mommy Is Coming, and United in Anger, among others). Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Slate, and many other outlets. She is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at College of Staten Island, a Fellow at the New York Institute of Humanities, the recipient of multiple fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and was presented in 2018 with Publishing Triangle's Bill Whitehead Award. She is also the cofounder of the MIX New York LGBT Experimental Film and Video Festival, and the co-director of the groundbreaking ACT UP Oral History Project. A lifelong New Yorker, she is a longtime activist for queer rights and female empowerment, and serves on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace.
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
In-person event guidelines:
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Winner of the 2022 Lambda Literary LGBTQ Nonfiction Award and the 2022 NLGJA Excellence in Book Writing Award.
From intimate relationships to global politics, Sarah Schulman observes a continuum: that inflated accusations of harm are used to avoid accountability. Illuminating the difference between Conflict and Abuse, Schulman directly addresses our contemporary culture of scapegoating.
A revelatory portrait of McCarthy-era Manhattan--back in print
In this gripping memoir of the AIDS years (1981–1996), Sarah Schulman recalls how much of the rebellious queer culture, cheap rents, and a vibrant downtown arts movement vanished almost overnight to be replaced by gay conservative spokespeople and mainstream consumerism.
Hailed as "a cri de coeur woven into a utopian vision" by Susan Brownmiller (author of Against Our Will), Ties That Bind is the highly praised work of prizewinning writer and professor Sarah Schulman on "familial homophobia," a phenomenon that, until now, has not had a name but is nevertheless an integral part of most people's experience.
"Hilarious, hard-core . . . makes Bright Lights, Big City and Less Than Zero seem thin and dated."--Publishers Weekly
"More persuasively than any other contemporary novelist, Sarah Schulman traces the ways in which the disenfranchisement that begins as a political evil pervades every aspect of life, from the metaphysical and spiritual to the most intimate moments of two people together."--Tony Kushner
From the prizewinning author of Let the Record Show, a "wry and playful" (Out) novel of lesbian sex, politics, and art in 1980s downtown New York.
It's summer in New York City and the streets are sizzling. Below 14th Street the girls at the Kitsch-Inn are hard at work on their new lesbian version of A Streetcar Named Desire.
A "captivating, perceptive, and empathic novel of New York" told with "panache and mischievous ebullience" (Booklist, starred review).
Maggie Terry is the most beautiful, most bitter, most sweet, and all around best detective novel I've read in years. Precise, insightful, heartbreaking, and page turning. --Sara Gran, author of The Infinite Blacktop
Sarah Schulman's writing is bold, provocative, and refreshingly unrepentant. First published in 1994, My American History: Lesbian and Gay Life During the Reagan and Bush Years combines critical commentary with a rich and varied collection of news articles, letters, interviews, and reports in which the author traces the development of lesbian and gay politics in the U.S.