“Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo,” with author Michael Schiavi

March 30, 2023 | 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM



Vito Russo was a prominent and beloved figure in New York City’s LGBT community, beginning with his popular Friday night “Firehouse Flicks” at the Gay Activists Alliance headquarters in Soho in the early 1970s. As a co-founder of GLAAD and ACT UP in the 1980s, Russo helped push for better media representation for LGBT individuals and brought attention to the AIDS crisis at a time of government inaction and widespread public apathy. He is best remembered as an activist and for his 1980s book, The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies (1981; rev. 1987), a pioneering achievement that directly influenced the creation of LGBT media studies.

Join us for a book talk with Michael Schiavi, biographer of Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo (2011). Schiavi will discuss his book and Russo’s legacy 33 years after his death from AIDS-related complications. Ken Lustbader, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, will also highlight historic places on the Project’s website where Russo helped shape the course of LGBT history, including his long-time residence in Chelsea.