Midway through award-winning author Rabih Alameddine’s new novel-in-fragments, The Angel of History, his narrator Jacob compares AIDS to a river that drowned everything he knew but him. “I thought I had triumphed,” he says, “only to discover years later that the river’s persistence, it’s restlessness, trickled into tiny rivulets that reached every remote corner of my being.”
I was reminded of a radical faerie credo Mac had intoned early in the evening: We don’t worship the noun, but the verb. We don’t worship the artist, but the making of art. We don’t worship the creator, but the act of creation. That night, we had become the noun and the verb, the artist and the art, the creator and the creation. We were simultaneously acting in the show, watching the show, and being forged into something new by the show.
This is queer history: A game of telephone played down the decades, preserved by passionate individuals and community institutions working on the margins; half-forgotten documents telling of wholly forgotten times, of lust and fear, shame and pride, butches and femmes, lovers and fighters.