Taylor Mac, Holly Near, Toshi Reagon, and Bridget Everett Offer Tribute To Michael Callen at Joe's Pub

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As an activist, writer, singer, and songwriter, Michael Callen played a major role in shaping America's response to the AIDS epidemic. On November 11th, Veteran's Day, a stellar cast of singers and musicians breathes new life into Michael's music at PURPLE HEART: The Music of Michael Callen. The event will be held at the iconic Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street. Doors open at 6pm, show at 7pm. Tickets start at $40, sponsorships at $250.

Special guests will include Taylor Mac, Bridget Everett, Toshi Reagon, Holly Near, David Cale, NathAnn Carrera, Richard Barone, Xavier Smith, Kat Edmonson and more. The evening is being organized by pianist, musical director and arranger Matt Ray and drummer Richard Dworkin, Callen's partner in life and music. All proceeds benefit Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, named in memory of Michael Callen and Audre Lorde. Callen-Lorde cares for 18,000 patients each year, regardless of ability to pay.

"Michael was not only a pioneer in the HIV movement, he was also a gifted musician. And so it is beautifully apt that we should celebrate him through the singing of his music, in his memory, as a tribute to the legacy of his activism," said Callen-Lorde Executive Director Wendy Stark.

From the time of his diagnosis with Gay Related Immune Deficiency (the original and outmoded name for AIDS) in 1982, Callen was involved in virtually all of the positive responses to the epidemic, including the self-empowerment of People with AIDS; the invention of safer sex; the community-based research movement; propagation of prophylaxis for major opportunistic infections; and the establishment of buyer's clubs providing low-cost access to both experimental and approved AIDS treatments. Callen co-authored the Denver Principles, which introduced the term "people with AIDS" (PWAs), replacing the early characterizations of PWAs as victims. Through his work and life, Callen emphasized and demonstrated that people living with AIDS could continue to make significant contributions to society.

Callen's AIDS activism had a major influence on his music, as reflected in his first solo album, Purple Heart (1988), which the Advocate called "the most remarkable gay independent release of the past decade." As a member of the gay a cappella group The Flirtations, he toured internationally and recorded two albums, The Flirtations (1990) and Out on the Road (1992). His posthumously released double album Legacy (1996) netted four awards at the first Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards, including album of the year.

Tickets are on sale now at publictheater.org, and sponsorship opportunities are available through Callen-Lorde at 1 (212) 271-7172.

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