Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



Roger Goodman's ambitious AIDS movie about Chicago
by Kate Sosin

This article shared 5490 times since Wed Sep 29, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

One of Roger Goodman's favorite moments in the trailer for his upcoming film is also the hardest to sit through. Gregory Ignatius, a middle-aged man living with AIDS, admits to the camera that the first time he knew what "grace" actually meant was the moment he came to terms with his roommate's death.

Those who don't know Roger Goodman might not understand the significance of that confession. But in Goodman's world, it speaks to heartbreaking paradox.

"I really believe that as the queer body was dying by the thousands, queer spirit grew and grew," Goodman said.

From outside his neighborhood coffee shop in Rogers Park, Goodman recalls that when the AIDS crisis swept through Chicago in the 1980s, gay people united against illness and discrimination. Now, he said, those days of kinship are over.

"People aren't dying anymore," Goodman said. "There's no need for compassion anymore. There's no need for respect."

Goodman's "paradox" is the subject of his upcoming documentary, From the Ashes Risen, from Tribal Elder Productions. Tentatively due out next spring, From the Ashes Risen follows the stories of 10 middle-aged men living with AIDS in Chicago. It also includes conversations with three nurses who treated AIDS patients and LGBTQ youth.

The film is not just a historical look at Chicago during the AIDS epidemic. It's meant to serve as a conversation between at-risk youth and elders. Goodman worries that infection rates among queer youth are high because they haven't lived through an epidemic. He wants elders to relay that history.

It's a history that Goodman is attached to personally. He's living with AIDS, a fact when he is reminded of when he counts out the 60 pills he takes daily. As a spiritual director in the '80s, he facilitated AIDS funerals for more than a decade. People don't talk about AIDS now, he said. "They have no use for the story," he explained. "They're having a good time, so it's irrelevant."

In an eight-minute trailer for From the Ashes Risen, Goodman and two other gay men talk about finding out they were HIV-positive and losing close friends to AIDS. A nurse who worked in the AIDS unit at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital also talks about her experiences caring for AIDS patients. Original music by Sheldon Atovsky forecasts a heavy-hearted film.

Goodman's filmmaking approach is far from conventional, perhaps even a little ambitious for an ailing 64-year-old first-time filmmaker. He pulls from his wallet a list of the 29 medications he's taking, complete with dosages and ailments they're intended to quell. Is he nervous that health problems will prevent him from making the film?

He shakes his head no. His health has been bad for the last two months, but he's getting better, he said.

Still, he has no funding to start shooting. He needs to raise $185,000 to finish the project. He's a retired harpsichordist living on disability. He's not sure how he'll scrape together the money, but he's confident that he will. Several people have already offered to help him for free.

The film's oddities may also border on controversial for some. Goodman regularly refers to the 1980s AIDS epidemic as a gay "holocaust," stating that gay people were the victims of institutionalized homophobia. Goodman was raised Jewish, and he said he leaves the "h" in "holocaust" lower-case to differentiate between the AIDS epidemic and the Jewish Holocaust. But the explanation may not satisfy all. Goodman also previously referred to the epidemic as "genocide" but gave up that label because he said it upset so many people.

And there's something else unique about Goodman's plans for the film. From the Ashes Risen is spiritually inspired. Goodman believes in queer mysticism and magic. He sees gay men as a "tribe," bound by ancient history and special gifts. He supports the tenants of the Radical Faeries, a subculture of gay men who embrace gender fluidity, communalism, and spirituality. In making the film, he wants to inspire older gay men to mentor LGBTQ youth, teach youth to revere their elders, convince the community to abandon its "individualism," and heal what he calls the "queer spirit." And he plans to do it in less than one hour and 45 minutes.

"What I think we have to pursue right now are spiritual issues, not political issues," Goodman said of his peers. "Gay men have bought into consumerism, and materialism, and individualism."

While the idea of gay men as a "tribe" may not resonate with audiences everywhere, From the Ashes Risen grounds its message in relatable truths. Goodman's nostalgia for a coherent queer community is also informed by his feelings that the LGBTQ community needs to heal racial, economic, and generational divides. It's a call that has been echoed by many LGBT activists this year.

When asked if he'll be satisfied if audiences take away his message of community,without adopting a message of spirituality, Goodman shrugged, as if he can't imagine one without the other. He's been told by fellow crew members that he needs to separate himself emotionally from the film. He isn't sure he wants to. For Goodman, it's not just about making a documentary. It's a film about all of his deepest hopes, a last-ditch effort to bring us back from bar culture and retail therapy. His ambitions are at once idealistic and incredibly simple. "I think what I want in terms of the making of the film, I want a want a family," Goodman said.

He talked about it as if it's inevitable: LGBTQ people will come together in the ways he hopes, and his film will be a part of that.

"There was Stonewall. There was the decade of AIDS," he said. "In 2010, it's another decade. And a tipping point is happening."

Goodman and his crew will be presenting the trailer for From the Ashes Risen at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis, in its auditorium Thursday, Oct. 7, at 5 p.m. For more information, go to .

This article shared 5490 times since Wed Sep 29, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

THEATER Red Orchid's 'The Moors' running through Feb. 27 2022-01-15
- A Red Orchid Theatre is running Jen Silverman's The Moors, directed by Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Kirsten Fitzgerald, through Feb. 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. The plot is as follows: ...

Gay News

THEATER About Face announces cast of queer-themed 'Laced' 2022-01-14
- About Face Theatre begins its 27th season with the world premiere of Samantha Mueller's drama Laced, running March 17-April 16 at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Set in the aftermath of the vandalism of ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theatre announces 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings 2022-01-14
-- From a press release - Chicago, IL—Black Ensemble Theater's Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces its 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings. The 2022 Season includes four World Premiere musicals showcasing the power ...

Gay News

THEATER DuSable, puppet company to run Toni Morrison's 'The Bluest Eye' 2022-01-13
- The DuSable Museum of African American History is partnering with the 4th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to present a production of The Bluest Eye, based on Toni Morrison's 1970 groundbreaking coming-of-age novel. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER 'This Is Only a Test' Feb. 11-March 12 2022-01-12
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, is welcoming back live audiences this winter with the world premiere of Eric Reyes Loo's drama This Is Only a Test, directed by Toma Tavares Langston. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER Queer-themed 'Queen of the Night' to run Jan. 29-March 13 2022-01-11
- Victory Gardens Theater is slated to open its 2021-22 Mainstage Season with Queen of the Night, written by travis tate and directed by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin. Queen of the Night features Terry Guest ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Mary Rose' running through Feb. 12 2022-01-10
- Black Button Eyes (BBE) Productions is concluding its 2021-22 season with the world-premiere musical Mary Rose, featuring book and lyrics by Producing Artistic Director Ed Rutherford, music and lyrics by Jeff Bouthiette, direction by Ed Rutherford ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Queens of Infinite Space' canceled because of COVID 2022-01-07
- With the increase in COVID-19 cases in Chicago and beyond, Proboscis Theatre has decided to cancel the performances of The Queens of Infinite Space set to run at Epiphany Center for Arts, 201 S. Ashland Ave., ...

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf delays '1919' premiere due to COVID 2022-01-07
- Due to the COVID-19 surge driven by the Omicron variant, and out of an abundance of caution for public health, Steppenwolf Theatre Company has postponed its Steppenwolf for Young Adults world-premiere adaptation of Eve L. Ewing's ...

Gay News

Mercury Theater Chicago announces casting and artists for 'Women of Soul' 2022-01-06
--From a press release - Chicago —Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter, Managing Director Shane Murray-Corcoran, and Executive Producers Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizonannounce the cast and creative team for the next Mainstage production of the ...

Gay News

THEATER Trans performer Sis is doin' fine in 'Oklahoma!' 2022-01-05
- This isn't your typical grandma's Oklahoma! The very first musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein opened on Broadway in 1943 and continues to captivate audiences today. The dialogue remains the same, but updated casting choices have ...

Gay News

COVID Raven Theatre cancels production of 'Beautiful Thing' 2022-01-05
- Raven Theatre announced it will cancel its upcoming production of Beautiful Thing due to the current surge of the COVID Omicron variant. The production, written by Jonathan Harvey and directed by Mikael Burke, was slated to ...

Gay News

ATTRACTIONS 'Dr. Seuss' extended through Jan. 23 2022-01-05
- The Dr. Seuss Experience—the immersive spectacle that gives guests of all ages the opportunity to journey through nine different Dr. Seuss books—will now take place on Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, Jan. 23. The attraction is ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Winnie the Pooh' running March 15-June 12 2022-01-05
- After its run in New York City, Jonathan Rockefeller's Disney's Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation will arrive in Chicago on March 15 and will run through June 12 at the Mercury Theatre Chicago, ...

Gay News

Theatre Above the Law to run 'Chernobyl' on Feb. 3-27 2022-01-04
- Theatre Above the Law, a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, will stage its world premiere of Ghosts of Chernobyl on Feb. 3-27 at 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. The production was originally slated to run ...


Copyright © 2022 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.