Memoir of a BlackGay AIDS Activist

At times funny, biting and somber Marching in Gucci: Memoirs of a Well-Dressed AIDS Activist is a Semi Biographical Multimedia Solo Performance exploring the creator’s paradoxical relationship between fighting to save lives of others while simultaneously engaging in multiple self-harm behaviors. 

This is my most significant, complex and terrifying body of work to date. I moved to NYC in the fall of 1992, at the height of the AIDS Crisis. The next three years were the deadliest, and a disproportionate number of the dead were Black and artists. That I am still here has never been lost on me.

We live in a time where HIV/AIDS is manageable, and same-sex marriage the law of the land. To voluntarily return to a time where I buried friends and lovers on a near-weekly basis, and witnessed parents refuse not only to visit their dying children but to claim their bodies as well, is not an easy task. Yet one worthy of bearing witness to.

My struggle has allowed me to transcend that sense of shame and stigma identified with my being a Black gay man. Having come through the fire, they can't touch me. Marlon Riggs

 What I find most exciting about this project are the multimedia elements. These elements will allow the audience to experience moments in real time as if they were there. Unlike my previous solo shows where I was both the narrator and main character. this performance is the story of many people. Many now dead, being brought back to “life” via multimedia elements. Creating new layers of narrative, space and time within the live performance.While this work shares its name with a previously staged reading the comparisons stop there. In addition to a complete rewrite, the performance length will double, now consisting of two acts, and relying heavily on multimedia. Whereas the original staged reading heavily featured voices associated with privileged gay white men this production privileges the voices most affected/impacted by the AIDS Crisis: Blacks, Sex Workers, IV Drug Users, Poor, Un/Under Insured.

Stuck in the White House fence, trampled by a horse & covered in human ashes and bone fragment. The Ashes Action October 11, 1992


Travel to NYC to review and gather archival materials from The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, ACT UP and other AIDS-related archives. This trip will also provide an opportunity to interview surviving members of the ACT UP Oral History Project and fellow AIDS activists.

Secure film, video and music rights. Most of the films and videos I plan on using are available under The Creative Commons copyright. However, to use music, I will need to secure performing rights. These rights are not administered by ASCAP, BMI or any other similar performing rights society, so I must contact each song's composer and publisher, and negotiate the terms of a license individually. Having spoken with several solo performers who have produced similar projects these rights are not cheap and should expect to spend around $3,500

Fund multi-media material acquisition and creation. MulMultimediar this show is critical and will involve culling, organizing and re-imaging material from hundreds of hours of video, film, and audio. One 45 second video mash-up on religious bigotry, may include 15 separate clips of preachers preaching their version of “God Hates Fags.” “In Their Own Voice.” A video about surviving members of ACT UP. Will draw from The ACT UP Oral History Project, a collection of 150 audio interviews with surviving members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York.

Secure a multimedia friendly venue, Hire dramaturge/multimedia designer/ director/sound/light/visual tech/


Chad Goller-Sojourner is a Seattle-based writer, educator, solo-performer, and recipient of a distinguished Artist Trust Washington State Arts Commission Performing Arts Fellowship. His work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and featured on NPR.

He is currently working on his third solo performance “Marching in Gucci: Memoirs of a Well-Dressed AIDS Activist” which explores the paradoxical relationship between fighting to save lives of the unknown while simultaneously engaging in multiple self-harming behaviors. The story is told through the lens of a black gay AIDS activist in the nineties in New York City.

In 2013 he debuted his sophomore solo show: Riding in Cars with Black People & Other Newly Dangerous Acts: A Memoir in Vanishing Whiteness. The groundbreaking and crushingly honest story of what happens when a black boy, raised by white parents, “ages out” of honorary white and suburban privilege and into a world where folklore, statistics, and conjecture deem him dangerous until proven otherwise.

His inaugural solo show, Sitting in Circles with Rich White Girls: Memoirs of a Bulimic Black Boy, debuted July 2008, and chronicles the performer’s life-long affair with the scale and ten-plus year liaison with an eating disorder

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Chad Goller-Sojourner
Seattle, WA

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