Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Activist, author Mixner brings unique story to Chicago
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

This article shared 5281 times since Wed Nov 4, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Storytelling has always been a big part of civil-rights activist and author David Mixner's life, and he's bringing his unique story to Chicago's Greenhouse Theater Center Friday, Nov. 13.

The production, "Oh Hell No!," will feature Mixner's first-person accounts of important moments in his life as an LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist, as well as musical interludes by artists Chris Bolan and Emily Swallow, who are donating their time to do this performance. The music will seamlessly follow poignant parts of Mixner's stories.

"I'm on the stage the entire time and Chris and Emily come out and do musical performances in between me telling my stories," Mixner told Windy City Times. "We have a lot of audiovisual elements, including slides from the movement. I tell the stories and you get to see them behind me."

Mixner noted that he grew up in a place where storytelling wasn't just a tradition, but also the main form of entertainment on a Sunday. He explained that after Mass ( his family was Catholic ) they would all gather around and share stories.

"I developed the art of storytelling sitting on the front porch back home in the days when we didn't have a radio or television," said Mixner. "Storytelling comes naturally to me but I'm not an actor. I'm a classic, old fashioned, southern storyteller. I remember walking two miles across the fields when I was eight to a surviving member of the Civil War's house. He happened to be a Confederate soldier and would tell me stories about the Battle of Antietam. That was in 1954 and since the soldier went into the Civil War when he was 14 in 1863 he was 104 when he told me those stories. I would also listen to my Aunt Ollie talk about when President William McKinley was assassinated."

Mixner explained that he's been a witness to many events and the people who were making the history, and every once and awhile making that history himself.

"My show goes from 1976 when I came out to 1996 when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed by Congress," said Mixner. "I think some of the proudest moments in that journey was when I led the successful campaign to defeat Proposition 6 in California in 1978. It was a night I'll never forget. The fact that we never stopped fighting for our freedom. During the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, I never saw so much courage and nobility in a community in my life. I've been fortunate to walk among many courageous people. I was a pioneer in bringing the gay and lesbian communities together in the late 1970s and I'm really proud of that accomplishment. I talk about that in the show. "

The idea to produce and star in this play came to Mixner after coming out of intensive care about a year and a half ago. Mixner was critically ill and the doctors gave him an eight percent chance of surviving. But he did survive, and decided that he had to tell his story.

"I realized that I had all of these stories about our [LGBT] journey, and I've been fortunate to be on the inside of these things like the Briggs Initiative, the formation of AIDS organizations and many other things that I've participated in, witnessed and helped create," said Mixner. "I thought it's really important to get these stories out there in an entertaining way and how much fun it would be to go on stage and tell the stories of our journey with a sense of humor and a few tears here and there."

Mixner's life and career has encompassed more than LGBT and HIV/AIDS activism. While growing up in rural, southern New Jersey, Mixner encountered segregated schools, restaurants, etc. Although his parents were segregationists, he and his sister went in the opposite direction and became very active in the civil-rights movement of the 1960s. He's also been involved with the anti-war movement over the years.

Mixner also got involved with politics for the first time as a volunteer for John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, and has participated in more than 75 political campaigns as a campaign manager, fundraiser or strategist. He's also been an unofficial advisor to many presidents over the years.

Not only did Mixner share a room with President Bill Clinton briefly when they both attended Oxford, but he also worked closely with Clinton on his presidential campaign and brought a lot of LGBT people aboard.

In the play, Mixner also talks about his disagreement with Clinton over the administration's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) policy and what effect that had on their relationship, as well as the time he got arrested protesting DADT in front of the White House.

Mixner noted that critics in New York City and Los Angeles gave the show rave reviews and the audiences in both locations told him they loved the show.

"It was far beyond anything I could've dreamed of or hoped for when I was putting this show together," said Mixner.

Like the NYC and LA shows, proceeds from the Chicago show will benefit Point Foundation Scholars. According to Point Foundation's Communications and Marketing Director Eugene Patron, together the NYC and LA productions raised enough money to fund six scholarships for a year.

Mixner explained that he chose to give the proceeds for all of his shows to Point Foundation Scholars because of his involvement with the organization and his desire to help future generations of LGBT students go to college.

"I was very moved by the stories of the students I would hear at Point Foundation events who've been kicked out of their homes and living in their cars or streets who were getting 4.0 GPA's in high school," said Mixner. "When you hear the success stories of these young people who went to Harvard or Columbia or the University of Chicago or Stanford or Berkeley, who are now doctors and lawyers and are giving back to our community, I couldn't think of a better investment. That's the attitude all of us had going into the production. We're raising money to help LGBT kids go to college who wouldn't have been able to go otherwise."

"It's an honor and a joy to support David's storytelling," said Swallow. "I'm beyond grateful for the work he's done for civil rights so it's a pleasure to watch the show and contribute to the riveting evening he creates simply by sharing from his heart."

"David is a part of a generation of LGBTQ individuals that were at the forefront of change in this country," said Bolan. "His innate capacity for storytelling and ability to connect with the audience on a deeply personal level allow us to see this important history through his eyes. His charisma, vulnerability and humor on stage create a dynamic piece of theater and I for one am honored to be a part of this important show."

Ahead of the Chicago show, the production will be traveling to Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center Thursday, Oct. 29.

Mixner noted that they've also had inquiries to bring the play to the Embassy in the Dominican Republic and the Kennedy Center as well as an interest from the Mayor of Milan, Italy, to bring the show there.

"Come see this play," said Mixner. "Hear your history, some great music and help kids go to college. Enjoy the laughter and bring a few tissues to wipe away the tears. You'll have a great evening while also supporting a fantastic cause."

To purchase tickets, visit .

This article shared 5281 times since Wed Nov 4, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson on new book, 'Our Fair Share' 2021-09-22
- In Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson's new book, Our Fair Share: How One Small Change Can Create a More Equitable American Economy, he posits that receiving a Citizen Dividend will help all U.S. residents achieve ...

Gay News

BOOKS 'Mission Possible' released before 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' anniversary 2021-09-20
- C. Dixon Osburn, co-founder and former CEO of the Servicmembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), has written Mission Possible: The Story of the Repealing 'Don't Ask Don't Tell. This is the inside story of SLDN, which was ...

Gay News

Women & Children First hosting virtual event with Anita Hill on Sept. 29 2021-09-11
- Anita Hill—the University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's and Gender Studies at Brandeis University who played a major role in the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas—will be part ...

Gay News

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame announces 2021 class of new inductees 2021-08-18
--From a press release - Chicago, August 17, 2021 — The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame (CLHOF) announced that its 2021 Class of Inductees will include Frank London Brown, Jeanette Howard Foster, Carlos Cortez, and Gene Wolfe. The inductees will be ...

Gay News

Chicago-area author releases book about gay, autistic African-American 2021-08-18
- PenPower Book Marketing Services and Chicago-area author Jaire Sims have released his debut young adult novel, Getting By, which was named a finalist in the African American (Fiction) category in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book ...

Gay News

Printers Row Lit Fest returns to Chicago Sept. 11-12 2021-08-12
--From a press release - CHICAGO (August 12, 2021) Printers Row Lit Fest, the largest free outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest, returns for its 36th year with 100% free programming for book lovers the weekend after Labor Day, Saturday, Sept. ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Rent 2021-08-10
- Playwright: book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson At: Possibilities Theatre Company at NorthCenter Town Square, 4100 N. Damen Ave. Tickets: suggested donation $20; or ...

Gay News

Equality Illinois' new deputy director talks goals, position and books 2021-08-01
- On July 15, Mony Ruiz-Velasco officially started in the new position of Equality Illinois' deputy director. Ruiz-Velasco is an experienced attorney who has worked for immigrants rights for many years, and has even been the legal ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart comedy benefit Sept. 18 2021-07-31
- Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, 6500 N. Clark St.. will host a comedy benefit, "Stacks of Laughter," on Saturday, Sept. 18. At 6 p.m., there will be a VIP reception with local historian John D'Emilio. Also, a ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Amazon, condo collapse, T-shirt controversy, GLSEN 2021-07-18
- At least two Amazon employees have resigned in recent weeks to protest the company's decision to continue to sell a book they say frames young people who identify as transgender as mentally ill, NBC News reported. ...

Gay News

BOOKS Author, activist Roy Wesley on his new book about his father 2021-07-12
- Gay Chicago author, activist and Fermalogic, Inc. COO Roy Wesley has written a new book about his father—Invisible Vision: The hidden story of Dr. Newton K. Wesley, American contact-lens pioneer. Windy City Times: What made you ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Pray Away,' film contest, LGBTQ book, musicians, 'Star Trek' 2021-07-11
- The new Netflix Original Documentary Pray Away, from executive producers Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum, will make its global launch on the platform Aug. 3, a press release noted. In the film, former leaders of the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes on TV, trans jazz musician, book award, 'Red Table Talk' 2021-06-27
- Wanda Sykes has been tapped for a recurring role in the upcoming fifth season of Robert and Michelle King's legal drama The Good Fight, on Paramount+, Deadline noted. She will play Allegra Durado—a brilliant, strategic attorney ...

Gay News

BOOKS Grandma, Grace Jones are heroes in non-binary author's children's book 2021-06-22
- Non-binary author, alternative hip hop artist, mother and activist Ris iRAWniQ Anderson has published the children's book in Charlie's Best Work Yet. Charlie's Best Work Yet tells the semi-autobiographical story of Charlie—a shy, artistic ...

Gay News

New book: Majority Leader Hoyer unsung hero of Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal 2021-06-22
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — In a new book, LGBTQ Lobbying in the United States, authored by Dr. Christopher Pepin-Neff, LGBTQ researcher and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Sydney and first lobbyist for Don't ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.