Alison Bechdel, Grand Isle, VT, 1995
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel was born in 1960 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, to Roman Catholic parents who were both teachers. She attended Simon’s Rock College, and then transferred to Oberlin, graduating in 1981 with a BA in studio art and art history. She moved to New York, where the feminist newspaper WomaNews published her first work in its June 1983 issue. This drawing represented the beginning of her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, which developed from single-panel drawings to multi-paneled strips and from unconnected stories to a serialized plotline focused on a group of lesbian characters. A year later other outlets started running Dykes to Watch Out For, and a collection of the strips to date was published by Firebrand Books in 1986. From 1988 to 1990, The Advocate published “Servants to the Cause,” Bechdel’s one-page serial comic strip about the staff of a gay community newspaper.
She moved to Duxbury, Vermont, in 1991, and continued her career as a full-time cartoonist, writing and drawing strips for numerous magazines and Web sites. In 2006, Bechdel published the autobiographical book, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which chronicled in text and line drawings her childhood and her relationship to her gay, closeted father. The graphic memoir received mainstream success and critical praise from sources such as The New York Times, The Times of London, New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and Time magazine. Fun Home was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and earned the Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work.
Bechdel’s second book, Are You My Mother?, also a graphic memoir, was published in 2012 and investigated her relationship with her mother. It received acclaim from The New York Times Book Review, won the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Non-Fiction, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir or Biography. Bechdel was a Mellon Residential Fellow for Arts and Practice at the University of Chicago in 2012. In the same year, she received the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle, and is a 2014 MacArthur Genius Award recipient. The author currently lives in Bolton, Vermont.
Mark Doty, Provincetown, MA, 1992
Born in 1953 in Maryville, Tennessee, Mark Doty is an award-winning poet and memoirist. He holds a BA from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. His first book of poetry, titled Turtle, Swan, was published in 1987. When his partner Wally Roberts tested positive for HIV in 1989, Doty’s writing changed dramatically. My Alexandria, Doty’s 1993 book, is largely informed by the AIDS epidemic; it brought the author important accolades, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Roberts’s death in 1994 inspired Doty’s 1995 book of poetry, Atlantis, as well as his 1996 memoir Heaven’s Coast. Another memoir, 1999’s Firebird, deals with the author’s childhood in the American South and in Arizona. Dog Years (2007), which won the American Library Association Stonewall Book Award, is about coping with the loss of a lover and the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Doty’s poems are published frequently in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Ploughshares, Poetry, and The New Yorker. His most recent collection of poems, Fire to Fire, won the 2008 National Book Award for poetry. Doty is currently Distinguished Professor and Writer-in Residence in the English Department at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. He lives in New York City and the Springs in East Hampton, New York.
The Robert Giard Fellowship Comes Home to the Hamptons
A Benefit with Guest of Honor Mark Doty
Sunday, August 24, from 5-7 p.m.
at the home of Sue Shapiro 280
Gerard Drive, East Hampton, NY
Please join us for the Robert Giard Foundation’s first event on the East End, a benefit for the Robert Giard Fellowship, with guest of honor, American poet and memoirist Mark Doty, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry.
This is an exciting homecoming for the Foundation after 12 years of activity as a New York City-based non-profit focusing on the visual arts. The East End is where Bob Giard lived. It is the place he loved and where he matured as a photographer.
The fellowship extends the spirit of Robert Giard, for it supports visual artists like him whose content in the area of human sexuality, gender and the LGBTQ experience is often closed to official channels of support. In fact, our annual grant of $7,500 is the largest visual arts fellowship given in these subject areas. Click here for info about our current Fellow and here for info about past Fellows.
Clare Coss & Blanche Wiesen Cook
Jack Drescher & Nishan Kazazian
Katrina Foster & Pamela Kallimanis
Michael Hampton & Carlos Sandoval
Charles Hitchcock & David Wilt
Dan Mongan & Anna Bernasek
Joe Pintauro & Greg Therriault
Jonathan Silin & David Townsend
Kathryn Szoka & Maryann Calendrille
Tickets: $125 per ticket; Benefit Sponsor tickets: $250, $500 (pair).
All tickets are tax deductible less $25.
Tickets can be purchased by clicking here or by check made payable to the Robert Giard Foundation and sent to:
Robert Giard Foundation
555 Fifth Ave, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Att: Barry Klingman
There will be a silent auction of Robert Giard’s Hedge and Hillocks, 1984. The signed and framed print will be available to those in attendance.
Info about the silent auction photograph:
Hedge and Hillocks, 1984
14x14 inch image on 16x20 inch Gelatin silver paper
Signed, dated, copy 5, au recto
Signed, titled, dated (negative 1981, print 1984), in pencil, au verso
Provenance: Direct from the Estate of Robert Giard, New York
This image comes from Robert Giard’s South Fork Portfolio commissioned by Robert Menschel for the Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY and first exhibited there in 1983. In 1989 the picture, along with the artists’ statement, appeared in Photography Speaks: 66 Photographers on Their Art. (Aperture: The Chrysler Museum).
(reserve price: $1750)
Michael Callen, 1987
Singer, songwriter, author, and AIDS activist Michael Callen was born in 1955 in Rising Sun, Indiana, and was raised in Hamilton, Ohio. He attended Boston University on a music scholarship and graduated in 1977. After college, he moved to New York, singing in cabarets and with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. First diagnosed with AIDS in 1982, he became a significant voice during the early response to the AIDS crisis. He was a founding member of the board of the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in Manhattan in 1983 and a co-founder of the People with AIDS Coalition in 1985. Through its hotline, monthly newsletter, and library, the coalition provided information about treatment and resources for people living with AIDS. With Richard Berkowitz, Dr. Joseph A. Sonnabend, and Richard Dworkin, he wrote How to Have Sex in an Epidemic: One Approach (1983), a book that outlined early views about safe-sex practices. Callen was the editor of Surviving and Thriving with AIDS: Hints for the Newly Diagnosed, which was published by the People with AIDS Coalition in 1987; the collection of articles was revised and expanded in 1988. His acclaimed book, Surviving AIDS, published in 1990, recounted the stories of 14 long-term AIDS survivors. He remained devoted to music, performing and writing songs throughout his life. In the early 1980s, Callen was part of the gay and lesbian band, Lowlife, playing piano and keyboards, singing, and twirling a baton. As one of its founding members, he recorded two albums with the gay male a cappella singing group The Flirtations. In 1988 he released his solo album, Purple Heart, which included his most popular song, “Love Don’t Need a Reason,” written with Oscar winner Peter Allen and Marsha Melamet. Callen died of AIDS-related complications in 1993 at the age of 38.
Storme DeLarverie, 1999
Singer, male impersonator, and lesbian activist Storme DeLarverie was born in New Orleans in 1920 to an African American mother and white father. She was a pivotal figure in the riots at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in 1969. Although rumors that she threw the first punch cannot be confirmed, her participation in the uprising and her continued activism led her to be recognized as a forceful presence in the modern gay rights movement. DeLarverie started performing as a singer in her late teens. She sang in a jazz group and performed in Europe for a number of years. From the mid-1950s through the 1960s, DeLarverie hosted and performed in a touring variety show called the Jewel Box Revue in which she dressed as a man, and the rest of the cast members, who were all men, dressed as women. In 1987, Michelle Parkerson made a movie titled Storme: The Lady of the Jewel Box. DeLarverie was a self-appointed guardian of lesbians in the Village, working as a bouncer in the 1980s and ‘90s for several lesbian bars; she also patrolled the streets to make sure gay women were not being harassed. In 2012, Brooklyn Pride honored DeLarverie at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, and in April 2014 she was honored by the Brooklyn Community Pride Center and received a Proclamation from New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. DeLarverie was a member of the Stonewall Veterans Association and a regular at New York’s Gay Pride Parade. She died on May 31, 2014 in Brooklyn at the age of 93.