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A Quilt for David: Steven Reigns in conversation with Carter Sickels

Event date: 
Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here. 

Charis welcomes Steven Reigns in conversation with Carter Sickels for a celebration of A Quilt for David. The hidden history of a vulnerable gay man whose life and death were turned into tabloid fodder.

In the early 1990s, eight people living in a small conservative Florida town alleged that Dr. David Acer, their dentist, infected them with HIV. David's gayness, along with his sickly appearance from his own AIDS-related illness, made him the perfect scapegoat and victim of mob mentality. In these early years of the AIDS epidemic, when transmission was little understood, and homophobia rampant, people like David were villainized. Accuser Kimberly Bergalis landed a People magazine cover story, while others went on talk shows and made front page news.

With a poet's eulogistic and psychological intensity, Steven Reigns recovers the life and death of this man who also stands in for so many lives destroyed not only by HIV, but a diseased society that used stigma against the most vulnerable. It's impossible not to make connections between this story and how the twenty-first century pandemic has also been defined by medical misinformation and cultural bias.

Inspired by years of investigative research into the lives of David and those who denounced him, Reigns has stitched together a hauntingly poetic narrative that retraces an American history, questioning the fervor of his accusers, and recuperating a gay life previously shrouded in secrecy and shame.

Steven Reigns is the author of Inheritance and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat. He's lectured and taught writing workshops around the country to LGBTQ+ youth, seniors, and people living with HIV. Reigns worked for a decade as an HIV test counselor in Florida and Los Angeles. Currently he is touring The Gay Rub, an exhibition of rubbings from LGBTQ+ landmarks around the world, and has a private practice as a psychotherapist. He lives in West Hollywood, CA.

Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Prettiest Star, published by Hub City Press, and winner of the 2021 Southern Book Prize and the Weatherford Award. The Prettiest Star was also selected as a Kirkus Best Book of 2020 and a Best LGBT Book of 2020 by O Magazine. His debut novel The Evening Hour (Bloomsbury 2012), an Oregon Book Award finalist and a Lambda Literary Award finalist, was adapted into a feature film that premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. His essays and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Atlantic, Oxford American, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, Joyland, Guernica, Catapult, and Electric Literature. Carter is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and earned fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and MacDowell. He is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University.

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

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to info@chariscircle.org. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to info@chariscircle.org immediately.

Event address: 
CROWDCAST
A Quilt for David Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780872868816
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: City Lights Books - September 8th, 2021

The hidden history of a vulnerable gay man whose
life and death were turned into tabloid
fodder.


Event Summary: 
Charis welcomes Steven Reigns in conversation with Carter Sickels for a celebration of A Quilt for David. The hidden history of a vulnerable gay man whose life and death were turned into tabloid fodder.