Larry Kramer, Public Nuisance

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“I will never forget the day that article appeared in the Native,'' Tony Kushner told me not long ago. In 1993, Kushner received a Pulitzer Prize for his play Angels in America, which addressed the impact of AIDS on American society. “I was in graduate school at N.Y.U. in 1983, and I was in the second-floor lounge in the directing department. Stephen Spinella, who went on to perform the lead role of Prior Walter in Kushner’s dark epic, was sitting across from him on a sofa. I can still see him there,'' Kushner said. “He was wearing pink socks. I had just started coming out of the closet, and gay life seemed so exciting. By the time I finished the piece, I was literally shaking, and I remember thinking that everything I had wanted in my life was over. I was twenty-six years old and I didn’t really have the strength to deal with what he was saying, but I had to acknowledge that we were faced with a biological event of an awesome magnitudea genuine plague. People were beginning to drop dead all around us, and we were pretending it was nothing too serious. With that one piece, Larry changed my world. He changed the world for all of us.”

Larry Kramer, Public Nuisance, Michael Specter in The New Yorker

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