Requiescat In Pace - Ferd Eggan - 1946-2007
A memorial honoring the life and times of Ferd Eggan will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 29 at 3 PM, at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.
There will be food and drink for a reception/social time in the Village courtyard after the formal gathering in the theater.
Walt will be compiling a booklet of appreciations or other remarks about Ferd and his work from things that were sent to Ferd or Walt over the past 6 weeks, for distribution that day. If anyone has anything they'd like to add, they're welcome to send it to Walt: WSenterfit@aol.com
Also, there will be a "wall of remembrance and struggle" for the afternoon, with artifacts and photos from Ferd's life and times. If anyone has something they would like to bring and add for the afternoon (or permanently), that would be cool.
Someone has already told Walt he is bringing "a pair of jeans ripped by the Pasadena Police during the Rose Bowl demo."
There should be ample parking in the lots and surrounding streets on a Sunday afternoon.
Anyone who would like to help please contact Walt Senterfitt: WSenterfit@aol.com
About 20 or so folks conducted a wonderful candlelight Vigil in the center of "Boystown" West Hollywood, last Sunday night.
Susan Forrest's pictures here
The marvelous article by Karen Ocamb in the latest IN Magazineis available online
video of the LA City Hall tribute featured in Karen's article on You Tube
And don't forget Ferd's website: www.ferdeggan.net/
I particularly draw your attention to his Cranky PWA pages and his excellent first person videos.
These are also gathered together as series of video communiques here:http://crankypwa.blogspot.com/
Also attached is a wonderful piece he wrote last year: "Fags and Dykes Want Everything: Dreaming with the Gay Liberation Front.". It was published in an anthology and subsequently posted online
Below are some personal tributes & messages:
Walt Senterfitt wrote the following last Saturday 7/7/07:
My friend and comrade Ferd Eggan died this morning at 7 minutes before 7 on the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year of this millennium. I guess he wanted to have an auspicious send off into wherever his spirit and energy goes next!
He was a warrior, strategist, writer, artist, activist, friend ... in the political, social and intellectual movements for liberation of our time. He was engaged wholeheartedly and variously in the southern US civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, women's and gay liberation, Weather Underground, Puerto Rican Independence, political art (as a writer, actor, film maker, website and blog creator), queer and critical theory, ACT UP, harm reduction, "post-Marxist" anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, trans and gender variant rights and freedom, etc etc etc.
I am grateful and proud to have been his comrade in fact for the past 17 years and comrade in spirit far longer than that. We shared the experience of growing up as bright, rebellious, anti-racist, not-yet-aware queer boys-to-youngmen, yet privileged in some ways as males and whites and "lower middle class," escaping the "idiocy of rural life" in small town America to elite universities, on full scholarship, only to find a new kind of alienation, as we were repulsed by the blithely self-confident scions of the ruling class we found there as well as the role proffered us as loyal servants in exchange for a well-off "upper middle class" lifestyle.
We each dropped to work full time in the Southern civil rights movement and then on to the contradictions and joys of sexual and gender liberation and radical politics, sex and drugs and 'personal liberation' and careers as teachers and organizers, meeting up for the first time in 1990 in ACT UP and Being Alive -- the PWA Coalition of Los Angeles, where he was the E.D. and I was the Board Chair. He recruited Mary Lucey to AIDS activism when she was still fresh out of prison with an ankle bracelet and hired her partner Nancy McNeil at being Alive; we both encouraged and supported them in founding what became Women Alive.
Ferd went on to be an innovative AIDS Coordinator for the City of L.A. for 8 years, persuading the Republican mayor to permit and allow Ferd to use city tax money to fund needle exchanges, get federal money to build a housing project (Safe House) for PWAs who might still slip and use drugs sometimes, and to spearhead and fund a landmark study (by Dr. Cathy Reback) of crystal methamphetamine and its effect on the gay community and HIV-transmission-risky sexual behavior. He retired on disability in 2001 and went on to write a novel and then create a variety of multimedia political art and journalism, some of which can be seen on his web site ferdeggan.net, including some compelling interviews with figures from the past several struggles of social struggle, and his blog, "Communiques from a Cranky PWA."
I am honored to have shared the trying and incredibly rich last weeks, days and hours of his life ... filled with incredible conversations, the casual times of hanging out in his living room as friends and family passed through to share comfort and stories or pay respect [as I said in a spontaneous bad joke yesterday that drew a crooked Ferd-ish smile, "a wake is more fun when you're still awake"], silent periods of being present with each other, ... and cleaning his behind and keeping tracks of pills and flushing his IV line to keep that continuous Dilaudid drip working. Together with our common close friends and comrades Mary Lucey and Nancy McNeil, I fulfilled a promise made long ago to be actively present as he exercised his right and determination to exit this life at a time of his own choosing, when he had accomplished all the final tasks he had set for himself and could no longer stay lucid and focused.
The circle of friends around the country, especially in Chicago and San Francisco, as well as the lovely community of friends in his neighborhood and apartment building, were steadfast parts of Ferd's support team over the past six months since his liver cancer diagnosis.
Mary, Nancy and I and other friends are putting together an LA memorial service and will circulate the news when plans are read. Others will be held in Chicago and San Francisco and we will scatter his ashes at Big Sur, a place Ferd had never been but was hoping to visit when his life ran out.
Some of the old LA ACT UP chapter held a spontaneous vigil in Ferd's honor on Sunday, July 8 at 7:30 PM at the intersection of Santa Monica and San Vicente Blvds, West Hollywood, CA 90069 -- in the tradition of the ACT UP political funeral marches of 15-20 years ago.
Thanks, Ferd. You've left the world a richer place. And thanks to all of you who have reached out to Ferd in his last months, and those of you who have supported those of us who were his care and support team.
"Very sad to hear about Ferd, profoundly sad." - Doug Sadownick, Los Angeles
"Oh, my... We were lucky to have known him." - Mark Sprecher, Los Feliz
"He, indeed, sounds like a great man and I'm sure he will be missed." - Robbie McCabe, Bremerton, WA
"Ferd was a very important member of the community and he made it a safer and healthier place for all of us. He will be missed." - Paul (Daniels) Langlotz, Los Feliz
"When last we were in Dallas together, Ferd made Walt and I pose for pictures on the grassy knoll; I protested at the bad taste - which Ferd, of course, adored. I still have a picture of me looking grumpy while he poses beside me, a very Ferd-like glint in his eye. I guess I'll remember that glint for a long while to come......" - Hywel Sims, West Hollywood
"What a life Ferd had." - Walter Armstrong, New York
"I'll stop and say a prayer at 7 minutes to 7pm tonight." - Karen Ocamb, West Hollywood
"Thanks for being with him." - John Duran, West Hollywood
"We maintain a large board of “Guides in Spirit” at the Project Inform office that contains the names and stories of hundreds of people we have worked with over the years. We’d be honored to add Ferd to the board." - Martin Delaney, San Francisco
"Many memories of Ferd. One I particularly cherish. Spring 1991 - ACT UP marching up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Daddy Bush White House to demand an AIDS Czar. Our PISD caucus is there, resplendent in the Rick Turner designed T-shirts. But Ferd and Kyoshi are not going to beat on the rails or stand and chant. When I arrive they are in a huddle seated on the White House sidewalk with other PISD folks having a smoke and kibbutzing and looking up at the melee surrounding them. I join the huddle and from our 'comfortable' sidewalk seats we are latter dragged to the Park Service Police wagons for a trip across the Potomac to the lock-up in Anacostia." - Peter Cashman, Highland Park, CA
Ferd rallied after his hospitalization the first week of June and joined a bunch of old comrades at the opening (June 16th) of Chuck Stallard's "Silence Equals Death" drkrm Gallery Photographic Show marking the 20th anniversary of ACT UP. NOTE: Chuck's drkrm show is scheduled to close Saturday the 21st but may be extended.
If you would like to be added to ACT UP/LA's email list please send us your name, city and email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Peter Cashman for all of this.