Amsel's panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt finally viewable on the Interactive AIDS Quilt page
I want to thank everyone for their kind comments regarding my recent writeup celebrating Richard Amsel’s two posters for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, to coincide with the film’s 40th anniversary.
June 2021 is also Pride Month, so I’d like to give a shout out the LGBT community, and my (many, many, many) friends who are a part of it. It’s amazing how far things have come regarding the advancement of LGBT rights in just the last few years. It’s affected me personally, too. For most of my life, I never imagined I’d ever be able to get married. And yet, now I am.
But this month also marks a solemn anniversary. On June 5, 1981, a report appeared in the Center for Disease Control's weekly public health digest: Five young, gay men across Los Angeles had been diagnosed with an unusual lung infection known as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) -- and two of them had died. It was the first time that the disease later named AIDS was reported in the US.
More than 700,000 people in the US have died of the disease since then. And while treatments have dramatically improved, there is still no cure.
In 2018, I had a panel made in Richard Amsel’s honor for inclusion in the AIDS Memorial Quilt. (In researching the history of the quilt, I learned that it was conceived in November of 1985 – which, coincidentally, was when Richard Amsel died.) Consulting with David Byrd and Judy Goldman, two of Amsel’s best friends, I came up with a design that I had printed on fabric. I then had a local quilting company add quilted elements and backing to the panel, as I know as much about quilting as I do harnessing fusion power. (Here’s to you, Cat’s Quilting Corner in Monrovia, CA.)
The panel was first unveiled in Los Angeles on World AIDS Day, in December 2018, but it was not until the fall of 2019 that I handed it over to the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, for eventual inclusion into the quilt in Washington DC. I believed that, since Amsel spent the majority of his adult years and career in New York, it was only be fitting to present the panel there.
Since then, I had regularly checked the interactive AIDS quilt’s website every week or so, to see when an image of Amsel’s panel would finally appear.
And now it has. Richard Amsel’s panel is on block 5992:
Limited prints of this panel are included among the thank you gifts for donations to the documentary. Click here for more information.