Longtime Companion

LONGTIME COMPANION

When I was 22, I was a youth minister in a small Missouri town and the highlight of my week was when my new issue of Entertainment Weekly came in the mail.  I first learned about the movie Longtime Companion by reading it’s review in EW.  It wasn’t until a few years later, when I was living in New York, in Chelsea no less, before I saw the movie for the first time.  It’s one of my favorite movies.  It’s a movie about AIDS, but it’s also a portrait of my people at a specific time in history.  I watch the movie now and it reminds me of outfits and hairstyles I wore, but more importantly, of friends I had in the early 90s when I was discovering what it meant to be a gay man.  Some of those friends are dead now, but I also think of friends that I’ve simply lost touch with or that I only see on facebook.  I’ve posted my two favorite scenes from the movie.  The first is the character Fuzzy (Stephen Caffrey) dancing and lip-syncing to Dreamgirls.  As gay men, we are conditioned that masculinity is sexy and it was the first time I watched a gay guy dancing like a gay guy that I thought, hey, that is sexy, too.  My other favorite scene is the end with the haunting song by Zane Campbell, Post Mortem Bar.  That moment where they look up to see a herd of men running down the piers to the beach, it makes me cry every time.  Just a few days ago, several people posted on facebook a link to an article about AIDS being curable “within months.”  It’s unimaginable, really.  Living with the specter of AIDS is all I’ve ever known, but as Willy (Campbell Scott) says at the end of the movie, I just want to be there.

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