"Eight Loving Arms and All Those Suckers."
February 14, 2018 6:39 AM   Subscribe

How Angels in America put Roy Cohn into the definitive story of AIDS: This oral history is lightly adapted from The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America. (SL Vulture).
posted by mandolin conspiracy (5 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I got to see Millennium Approaches and Perestroika back-to-back in 1994. It was an amazing, moving theatrical experience. The set design for Millennium in particular - with everything on tracks, making scene changes fluid and noiseless - blew my mind. Nothing I've seen before or since has had the same impact.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:51 AM on February 14, 2018

Nathan Lane was promoting Angels In America on The Late Show the other day. I'd be so curious to see his handling of the role.
posted by halation at 6:57 AM on February 14, 2018

I RTFA and frankly, the only emotion it brings up is that I still fucking hate, HATE, Roy Cohn.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:32 AM on February 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I only ever got to see Millennium Approaches live; I wish I got to see Perestroika, because it has that amazing moment where Belize and Louis break into Roy Cohn's room in an attempt to get the AZT for Prior. Belize has dragged Louis along to recite the Kaddish; he can't remember it, so the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg takes over, leading Louis in the recitation. They get through the whole prayer, and after the last "amen", they both add, "You son of a bitch."

It's such an elegant way of summing up the conflict we have when someone heinous dies: on the one hand, they were a human being, who was once alive and now is not, and that fact that a human life ended has some inherant weight to it; but on the other hand, you also want to acknowledge that this particular human was a terrible one. It's an issue we struggle with here on the blue whenever someone particularly terrible dies; there's always that conflict between just wanting to skip straight to "you son of a bitch" and leave it there.

Belize could have just come in alone and stolen the AZT and left Louis out of it. But Belize was compelled to have someone recite the Kaddish for Roy Cohn first. And not only did Louis agree, so did Ethel. But Louis and Ethel still claimed the right to call him out for waht he was when they were done.

Both of those things are important, I think. Say the prayer to acknowledge the human life ended, then call him out for being evil.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:54 AM on February 14, 2018 [12 favorites]

I'm glad this oral history got into Roy Cohn's influence on Donald Trump. That despicable man has been dead for 32 years and he's still harming the country.
posted by Nelson at 9:22 AM on February 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

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