David Mixner, Diane Abbitt, and Chris Hershey

Out With Dr. Bill – Remembering David Mixner, A Beacon of LGBTQ+ Activism

Dr. William Kapfer READ TIME: 14 MIN.

Reflecting on the past week, thoughts of spending time with LGBTQ+ icon David Mixner weigh heavily on my heart.

On a recent Saturday afternoon in his Theater District apartment, we caught up on a whole host of topics, shared laughter and stories, and simply were present. David was candid with me about the seriousness of his condition, making our time together a poignant farewell, allowing us to cherish anecdotes and memories that now hold profound significance.

Despite the heaviness of the situation, there was an undeniable sense of peace in the room and an overwhelming sense of love and connection between us and between his longtime friend, Steven Guy, who was with David through his journey and in his final days.

Although I was aware of the gravity of what he was experiencing, I was naively unaware that within 48 hours his spirit would find peace, and our community would lose such a fierce advocate for gay rights. [Editor's note: David Mixner passed on March 11, 2024 at the age of 77. Read his obituary in the New York Times at this link.]

Knowing David for over two decades, it feels surreal to recall our conversations about his tireless advocacy for civil rights, anti-war movements, and LGBTQ+ rights.

From his early activism during the turbulent 1960s to his pivotal role in the fight for marriage equality, David's commitment to justice knew no bounds.

Despite our differing backgrounds, David and I always found common ground in our shared passion for equality and human rights. His relentless pursuit of justice for marginalized communities, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community, deeply inspired me.

David Mixner and William Kapfer

As we mourn David's passing, we also celebrate his profound impact – a lasting imprint on the lives he touched and the causes he championed.

From his groundbreaking work during the HIV/AIDS crisis to his fierce opposition to discriminatory policies like Don't Ask, Don't Tell, David's influence reverberates far beyond his physical presence.

In honoring David's memory, let us carry forward his dedication to activism and advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. His life's work will forever serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come.

As per his final wish, let us rally behind organizations like the Ali Forney Center, which David worked closely with throughout the years. Their mission to support and protect LGBTQ+ youth from the harms of homelessness resonated deeply with him.

To ensure that David's spirit of compassion and activism endures, the Ali Forney Center has established the David Mixner Memorial Fund in support of their mission.

I can think of no better way to honor his impact than through continued activism and philanthropy. If you'd like to learn more about the fund and how you can contribute, please visit Mixner.AliForneyCenter.org.

Together, let's keep David's legacy alive and make a meaningful difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth!

Thank you, David, for your unwavering dedication and for shaping a brighter, more inclusive future for us all. You will be dearly missed, but your spirit lives on in the ongoing fight for equality and justice.

Saddle Up for Adventure: 'Dead Outlaw' Rides into Minetta Lane Theatre

Brian Lipton and William Kapfer

Last week, I had the pleasure of immersing myself in the captivating world of "Dead Outlaw," a mesmerizing new musical staged at the intimate Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village.

This theater came back into my focus roughly five years ago when it forged a partnership with Audible, presenting innovative productions and live-recorded concerts later released as Audible Originals. (For more on Audible Theater, visit its website.)

The journey to experience this unique piece was delightfully simple: I strolled from our Chelsea apartment to the theater. Arriving early has become a habit of mine, and this time it led to a serendipitous encounter with an old friend, Brian Lipton, an entertainment and fashion journalist I hadn't seen in years.

Andrew Durand and Jeb Brown; photo by Matthew Murphy

Although we've kept in touch through social media, reconnecting in person after nearly 25 years since our initial meeting, where he provided invaluable advice and insights during my doctoral dissertation on leadership in the media industry, was a true delight.

My companion for the evening, Rex Reed, a world-renowned film and theater critic, arrived promptly, as expected.

Rex often provides a counterbalance to my own enthusiasm for the arts with his discerning eye. Together, we settled into our seats amidst a minimal, yet evocative, stage setting, anticipating an evening filled with music and storytelling.

"Dead Outlaws" exceeded my expectations. Crafted by the original creators of the Tony Award-winning "The Band's Visit," the musical wove a mischievous ghost story from a curious chapter of Old West history.

Elmer McCurdy, the luckless outlaw whose post-mortem journey proved more eventful than his life, was portrayed with humor, empathy, and a touch of the macabre.

The compact stage was impressively utilized, showcasing an ensemble that delivered the compelling score with skill and emotion, led by the charismatic bandleader Jeb Brown.

by Dr. William Kapfer

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