San Francisco Gay Historical Places and Points of Interest

Singing the Blues for Derek Jarman

FLUER - available for free download

Fluer

Available for Download: "The City Was Electric"

The City Was Electric

Dustin Lance Black on giving hope to kids through the Trevor Project

my film "Electric City ~ far from Normal" premiered World AIDS Day 2008

Electric City ~ far from Normal from Dennis Neal Vaughn on Vimeo.

Dennis Neal Vaughn’s autobiographical short film, “Electric City ~ Far From Normal," tells his personal life story of a man's journey from rural Central Illinois and a town named Normal to begin a new life in San Francisco. The short film deals with his coming to terms with his AIDS diagnosis and how he must adapt to changes and grow from the experience. The film is based on Mr. Vaughn’s short story, “The City Was Electric.”

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The day I knew I was an AIDS Activist

When I was asked to speak before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on behalf of saving the Shanti LIFE Program from the Mayor's budget axe, I jumped at the chance.

I am a cancer and HepC survivor. I have AIDS. 

I was in awe as each speaker before me told their story and I realized their story was also my story. Suddenly it was my turn and I stepped up to the podium. Before Shanti's LIFE program I was desperate, overwhelmed, and suicidal. 

"There is far more one needs than just taking pills every day and the Shanti LIFE program is the only program that provided what I needed most to live a quality life."

As I spoke those words I looked Supervisor Scott Weiner right in the eyes as he sat in Harvey Milk's chair. "When you think of Shanti and the LIFE program, think of me and the countless number of others like me who with the Shanti LIFE Program can not only survive,but thrive while living with AIDS," I said.

After speaking I stood in the back of the chambers as two more men spoke about saving the Shanti LIFE Program. It was then I knew.

I was an activist and proudly so.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Speech to save SHANTI LIFE funding given before SF Mayor and Board

Hello, my name is Dennis Neal Vaughn, thank you for this opportunity to speak.

I am a cancer And HepC survivor.

I have AIDS.

When my family found out, all but my Mother disowned me simply for the fact that I had AIDS. My family had known for years that I was gay, but AIDS was just too much for them.

Before Shanti's LIFE program I was desperate, overwhelmed, and suicidal. 

Shanti taught me that I am never alone. I am one of many. Far too many.

Through Shanti I have a safe environment to handle and cope with this disease. They have given me back my life.

They connected me to a community.

They game me tools with which I have turned my life around. Tools that I still use every day in my life. Tools that are not found or taught anywhere else. Through Shanti I Got Informed, I Got Inspired, and I Got Active.

There is far more one needs than just taking pills every day and the Shanti LIFE program is the only program that provided what I needed most to live a quality life.

Shanti is more than a word, it is a face. It is my face. It is the face of all who are fighting serious illness and who need vital help.

When you think of Shanti and the LIFE program, think of me and the countless number of others like me who with the LIFE program can not only survive but thrive while living with AIDS.

I thank you for listening.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"what is a friend, anyway?"

"what is a friend, anyway?"

"A friend wants what is best for the other person.

A friend is honest, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth.

Friends have mutual understanding and compassion.

Friends trust in one another (able to express feelings - including in relation to the other's actions - without the fear of being judged); able to go to each other for emotional support.

Friends share positive reciprocity - a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World Aids Day, December 1

- Never Forget -
Tell One that You Know One - I am One of Many.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends theme

"Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Proposition 8 is “clearly and unequivocally unconstitutional.”

The American Foundation for Equal Rights held a conference call on Tuesday to discuss the brief they filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The legal team believes that US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker was correct in his ruling that – as AFER’s Yusef Robb put it- Proposition 8 is “clearly and unequivocally unconstitutional.”

Lead attorney Ted Boutrous (pictured) told reporters that the US Supreme Court has already held in 14 cases that “marriage is a fundamental right of all persons and it’s a fundamental relationship – the most important relationship in life.” He said when you put cases such as Loving v Virginia (right to marry), Lawrence v. Texas (individual liberty), and Evans v Romer (equal protection) together with the marriage cases, “the law is overwhelmingly on our side.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My personal philosophy:

"To see beauty at any moment all you have to do is really look and you will find it.
Beauty surrounds you always, it is just a matter of taking the time," Dennis Neal Vaughn

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fighting the good fight -"It gets Better"

Despite my ongoing pneumonia and adverse side effects from the meds, I am feeling agitated enough to keep speaking up and out. Especially in light of all the teen suicides.

I was bullied and maliciously teased not only at school but also at home by "family" from as early an age as I can remember. Even in grade school I remember contemplating suicide save for the fact of the love of my dear Mother. If it were not for her loving grace and unconditional love I never would have made it. Jealousy, lies, and bitterness separate many from those near me who should be close and trusted.

It is amazing that it is easier to throw rocks at others than deal with one's own shortcomings and clean one's own dirty house full of secrets and shame. Ahhh, the blind eye and deaf ear to one's own inner self and voice is so much easier to block out than to lend a helping hand and give of your heart, and to open to understanding and caring and unconditional love.

HIV+ Minotaur - self portrait

HIV+ Minotaur - self portrait
4" x 6", watercolor, pencil, salt, and gold marker on 140 lb cold press paper. Submission for Visual AIDS. Created 11/28/2010.

You have a right to be here, and whether or not it is clear to You, No doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.
"We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions.
We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I'm going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it." – Harvey Milk's "Hope Speech," 1978

World Aids Day, December 1

- Never Forget -
Tell One that You Know One - I am One of Many.

Marriage Equality For All is a basic Human Right.
Fight against discrimination and ensure that every person has the opportunity to realize their hopes and dreams by being able to marry the person they love.

Marriage is a "basic human right" as declared by the U.S. Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, the case that ended race-based restrictions on marriage.

To deny gays and lesbians that right, and the 1,041 state and federal legal and economic benefits of marriage, is discrimination and in violation of the 14th Amendment.


In traditional Buddhist thought, people are said to have 108 afflictions or klesas.
There are 6 senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and consciousness)
multiplied by 3 reactions (positive, negative, or indifference) makes 18 "feelings."
Each of these feelings can be either "attached to pleasure or detached from pleasure" making 36 "passions"-- each of which may be manifested in the past, present, or future.
All the combinations of all these things makes a total of 108, which are represented by the beads in the ojuzu.

Mom

Mom
Gladys M. Vaughn

For my Mother, Gladys M. Vaughn

"Death ends a life but it does not end a relationship."

from the play "I Never Sang For My Father"



"Death is not extinguishing the light;

it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come." - Tagore



"Into the Light"

by Tagore


"Into a larger existence Peace my heart,

Let the time for the parting be sweet.

Let it not be a death but completeness.

Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.

Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.

Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.

Stand still,

O Beautiful End,

for a moment,

and say your last words in silence.

I bow to you and hold up my lamp

to light you on your way."





A First Memory
- To my Mother

“Rocky Me Mom”
spoke a tiny peep.

Sleepy eyed,
Too soon to wake,
Too soon to eat.

Hold close, tight in
A squeaky wood Rocker.
Eyes close to Mother’s Heart beat which
Resonates deep, heart to heart beat to beat.

Across Time Across Miles
Across Oceans Across Ages
Across Tears Across Fears
Across Jeers Across Sneers
Across Laughter Across Joy
A Cross to bear.

Big Hand on Little Head and
Little Head rested on scented shoulder
Of lovingly cooked food and
A freshly scrubbed perfume.

From this eternal
Sweet dream,
This breath,
Never do I want to wake.

For this moment,
This very First Moment,
Lives both
With and within me
Every breath of every day.
And to this moment I hope to return
Upon last breath,
At such a moment let this
Angel with a Heart of Gold
Take me away to
This moment to shine brightly
To Live on
Forever and a Day.

Thank you! Thank you!
Thank God for you!

To ask for more
I would never pray.

###

To my Angel with a Heart of Gold, I love you.

Dennis Neal Vaughn

"Electric City - Far From Normal" film by Dennis Neal Vaughn

"Electric City - Far From Normal" has been awarded a Harmon Arts Grant with the help of the Human Rights Advocacy Council & the Aids Task Force of McLean County, Illinois


ELECTRIC CITY - Far From Normal

ELECTRIC CITY - Far From Normal
Click on image for more shots from the film.

My photograph “L.I.F.E. Rose Labyrinth”

My photograph “L.I.F.E. Rose Labyrinth”
This photo is in The LGO Project 2008 [the Altruism Project] and is in “The L.I.F.E. PhotoShow” in San Francisco as well as being featured on the Joseph Campbell Foundation "Follow Your Bliss" artist page in August 2008. Also it will be a part of Visual Aid in NYC.

The 11th Annual Postcards From the Edge A Benefit for Visual AIDS

Hosted by Metro Pictures
519 West 24th Street, NYC

Postcards From the Edge is a Visual AIDS benefit show and sale of original, postcard-sized works on paper by established and emerging artists. All works are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The works are signed on the back and exhibited so the artists' signatures cannot be seen. While buyers receive a list of all participating artists, they don't know who created which piece until purchased.

All proceeds support the work of Visual AIDS, utilizing contemporary art for AIDS advocacy and historicizing the work of HIV-positive artists while offering career support.


Donating artists include: Dennis Neal Vaughn, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Ross Bleckner, Kara Walker, Robert Longo, John Waters, Catherine Opie, Glenn Ligon, Tony Feher, Ann Hamilton, Kiki Smith, Nayland Blake, Fred Wilson, Mary Heilmann, David Armstrong, Carrie Mae Weems, Barton Lidice Benes, Adam Fuss, Jane Hammond, McDermott & McGough, Vito Acconci, John Baldessari,Louise Lawler, Marcel Dzama, Patty Chang, Paul Pfeiffer, T.J. Wilcox, Marilyn Minter, Kate Shepherd, Arturo Herrera, Julie Mehretu, Emily Jacir, Alfredo Jaar, Jack Pierson, Barry McGee, Slava Mogutin, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Lawrence Weiner, Annie Sprinkle, William Wegman, Yoko Ono, and many, many
more.

Artist Bio – Dennis Neal Vaughn

Dennis Neal Vaughn’s unique and beautiful visual sensibility includes intimate depictions of flowers that glow with light as well as landscapes and cityscapes with their ever changing light and colors. The images retain a sense of their photographic beginnings but are manipulated to enhance light, color and given a hands-on artist's touch.

Seasons - homage to Claude Monet.

This series of photographs is inspired by the artist Claude Monet who painted the same image from the same location over a period of years. This ability to capture how light and weather changes the mundane or just merely overlooked elevates the viewers experience to be able to see the beauty and joy in one’s every day surroundings and environment.

Flowers series - Inspired by the quote "Save my Soul with Flowers"

from Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac.

“As an artist, for me, Flowers become a reflection and metaphor of the human body and of life experience. Whether gathered in groups or alone, they are expressive in their color and unique forms. The images range from youthful buds, full blooms at their prime, to fading petals on the stem from age. Flowers represent the cycle of human existence in all its stages and forms.”

Diagnosed HIV+ and co-infected with HepC in July 2003, Mr. Vaughn's art work includes short films based on his artwork for MTV, as well as mural commissions for both the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District. Exhibitions of his work include The Spiva Art Center, Center for the Visual Arts, Illinois State University permanent collection, and the H. A. Peine Memorial Library among others. Art works in public and corporate collections include works commissioned by Diversifoods Inc., Atlanta and Seaman Patrick Paper, Detroit. Private collectors of his work span the globe.

Mr. Vaughn has a Master of Arts in photography and drawing. He has a Bachelor of Arts with honors in theatre, both degrees from
Illinois State University. Mr. Vaughn is a past vice-president of the Independent Feature Project/Midwest’s board of directors, the largest national not-for-profit independent film arts organization. The 19th Annual CableACE Awards invited Mr. Vaughn to serve as a finalist juror for cinematography in a movie or miniseries.

2008

~ Joseph Campbell Foundation, CA - featured artist, August 2008.

~ Harmon Arts Grant for "Electric City – Far From Normal" – short film –

Awarded by the AIDS TASK FORCE and THE HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY COUCIL

Film premiere on World Aids Day, December 1, 2008.

Previous Grant Awards:
Friends Of The Arts Grant in photography,
Illinois State University

Films:
"Autumn Blues" - short for MTV
"Techno Lamp" - short for MTV
"an enigma" - short
"Mama Medea" - feature

Wedding Announcement: My Husband and I got Married on August 30, 2008!

Wedding Announcement:  My Husband and I got Married on August 30, 2008!
MyQueerWedding.com and Rockwell Studios have teamed up in a ground-breaking documentary about the importance of marriage equality to support same-sex marriage rights! We are going to be included in this ground breaking documentary.

Same-Sex Wedding Announcement a First for Central Illinois Paper

Vaughn-Petty

NORMAL --Dennis Neal Vaughn, formerly of Normal, and Mark Petty, both of San Francisco, Calif., were married at 2 p.m. Aug. 30, 2008, at San Francisco's LGBT Center, San Francisco, Calif., followed by a reception.

Vaughn received his master of art degree from Illinois State University. He is a filmmaker. Petty is employed in telecommunications.

The couple resides in San Francisco, Calif.
http://www.pantagraph.com/milestones/2008/100508/

scroll down the page to Vaughn/Petty and our photo

Our Wedding Announcement of Equality was printed in the Pantagraph's Milestone section in the Sunday edition in Bloomington, IL.

We are the first same-sex announcement that the paper has agreed to print in rural central Illinois.

While they printed the bare minimum amount of information, it is a first step that Mark and I are proud of having accomplished.

Wedding Prelude Music for Dennis & Mark

Wedding Celebration Music of Dennis & Mark

Our New addition to Our Family! Buster Bear

Our New addition to Our Family! Buster Bear
We adopted Buster as a support/service dog from Wonder Dog Rescue. He is a Padderdale Terrier mix and was rescued from the Los Banos shelter. He is a very sweet little fellow, playful with dogs and very cuddly with people!

Buster Bear with Mark and Dennis

Buster Bear with Mark and Dennis

MILK home page

MILK home page
links to the films website and trailer

"MILK"

"MILK"
Actor Emile Hirsch (front row, fourth from right) leads thousands of extras in a staged recreation of the beginning of the candlelight vigil for Harvey Milk on Market Street. Photo by Kat Wade, special to the San Francisco Chronicle. Directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk to be released Fall 2008. Mark and I were extras and while you can't make us out in the shot above, we were a few rows back and on the right outside edge, it gives you an idea of our experience.

A Walk In The Grove, my photos The National Aids Memorial

"A living tribute to all lives touched by AIDS"

"A living tribute to all lives touched by AIDS"
"Thousands of people have died in San Francisco, millions in the world. The point of the Grove is to remember them, one at a time." - Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

Music I currently recommend:

Music I currently recommend:
My partner Mark and I saw her at the Palace of Fine Arts in S.F. and she was amazing!

Support SING by Annie Lennox & help Women and Children with AIDS

Bullmaze iMix - enjoy with me in mind. 71771


My newest tattoo by Shadow at Gotham

Beginning.

A Prayer

“ O, Holy Spirit,
You, who enlighten for me,
Who illuminate my path so that I may reach my goal.
You, who gives me the Divine Grace to Forgive and
Forget the wrong done against me,
To who in this short dialogue I give Thanks
For all you have done for me and
To again affirm that I will never separate myself from You,
As tempting as any material illusion may be;
I wish to be with those I Love in Your Eternal Grace.
Thanks for Your Compassion for me and mine.”

The above is a prayer said by my Beloved partner, Anthony R. Kramer, at least once every day of his Life during which time we shared 19 years together.

This prayer is a Gift he never knew he gave to me. Then again, maybe he did and does know.

This prayer was read aloud at his memorial service.

Since his passing on April 22, 2004, I too have said this prayer every waking day of my Life.

It is my Gift back to him.

It is the very least I can do to keep him in the Present and carry him forward into the Future.


Anthony R. Kramer • 10/26/41 ~ 04/22/04

Anthony R. Kramer • 10/26/41 ~ 04/22/04
"Loving and kind in all his ways, Upright and just to the end of his days; Sincere and true in his heart and mind, A beautiful memory he left behind. He had a nature you could not help loving, a heart that was purer than gold; And to those who knew him and loved him, His memory will never grow cold."

Anthony in prayer

Anthony in prayer

Memorial Stone for Anthony R. Kramer

Memorial Stone for Anthony R. Kramer
"May Flights of Angels Sing Thee to thy Rest." I lost my first partner Anthony to a heart attack after being together 19 years.

"Angels on Earth hide their wings," was one of Anthony's favorite sayings.

"Angels on Earth hide their wings," was one of Anthony's favorite sayings.
My Commemorative tattoo for Anthony

Anthony R. Kramer memorial iMix

My Poems:




Morning Prayer

Give Me Strength,
Bestow Upon Me Forgiveness,
Grant Me Peace and Health and Home and Hope,
Remind Me to Perform Random Acts of Kindness,
Guide Me to Happiness and a Life
of Fulfillment where I may Prosper and
Love and Be Loved.

###

Who Am I?

I am spirit
I am nature
I am light and sunshine
I am creature and creator
I am shaman
I am healer
I am of two worlds
I am of this and of that and everything in between

I am mirror and reflection
I am as God made me
I am Divine

I am faithful
I am love
I am queer
I am curious

I am Brother and Sister
I am Husband and Wife
I am Father Mother Son and Daughter
I am Aunt and Uncle

I am trusted support and confessor
I am self aware

I am body and blood
I am flesh and bone
I am sex
I am water
I am breath
I am meditation and thought

I am song and dance
I am painter and the brush
I am words and action
I am critic and voice
I am politics and peacemaker
I am warrior and worrier
I am doctor lawyer teacher and preacher

I am right and wrong
I am drink and drugs and disease
I am hated
I am abused denied and vilified
I have HIV and HepC
But AIDS will not be the death of me

I am gay lesbian bisexual transgender
I am proud
I am a rainbow
I am a bridge between
Past Present Future
The here the now
the what was and what will be

I am my true self my true being
I am here to stay
This is my time to be alive!

I am myth
I am legend
I am lover and I am loved
I am perfect as I am
I am joy
I am bliss
I love myself as I am

###

Sleep


I don’t like sleeping.
It denies my senses of the Joy of being Awake,
Of taking in the Light
Of both the Sun and the Moon.
No matter how Sweet the Dream
If I could, I would
Be Awake every Day of every Moment
That is given to me.

# # #

Overwhelmed

Is it any wonder
my head hurts,
my body aches,
my bones creak,
my joints squeak,
my heart moans.

Despite the pills and the drugs and the drink
Which all have come to stink.

So much, so fucking much at times.
Seemingly Alone.

Alas.

It is wishful thinking
To have no strife,
To not bear the weight
That comes with this Life.

After all I must be grateful of
Such a pittance to pay
For I have had
A moment of Love along with
The Night and the Day.

###

Play

No matter the age,
Remember to play
Be it in Life or upon a Stage

Since there is no more time to be gay
Once in the grave.

###

Drawing

That mark on paper,
That gouge of black,
That which scrapes the sheet
In such a physical act.
That which makes visible
That in my brain
That screams for
Intense release.

Stand back,
Take a view,
Don’t stop now
What an eraser can do.

Wipe it out.
Rip it up.
Begin again.
Rub it in.

Crack the charcoal.

In a frenzy
With a fever,
Destroy then Birth.
A feast for the eyes.

Stand back,
Take a view,
Wash your hands. Clean.
Look anew.

That once blank slate,
That blinding white,
That waited for me
In bright sunlight.
That thought that passes
That never seemed right, until
That black thunder bolt
Ignited with such delight.

###

A First Memory
- To my Mother

“Rocky Me Mom”
spoke a tiny peep.

Sleepy eyed,
Too soon to wake,
Too soon to eat.

Hold close, tight in
A squeaky wood Rocker.
Eyes close to Mother’s Heart beat which
Resonates deep, heart to heart beat to beat.

Across Time Across Miles
Across Oceans Across Ages
Across Tears Across Fears
Across Jeers Across Sneers
Across Laughter Across Joy
A Cross to bear.

Big Hand on Little Head and
Little Head rested on scented shoulder
Of lovingly cooked food and
A freshly scrubbed perfume.

From this eternal
Sweet dream,
This breath,
Never do I want to wake.

For this moment,
This very First Moment,
Lives both
With and within me
Every breath of every day.
And to this moment I hope to return
Upon last breath,
At such a moment let this
Angel with a Heart of Gold
Take me away to
This moment to shine brightly
To Live on
Forever and a Day.

Thank you! Thank you!
Thank God for you!

To ask for more
I would never pray.

###

"an enigma"