September 24, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

APLA Co-Founder Matt Redman remembered at WeHo memorial

Matt Redman, who co-founded AIDS Project Los Angeles in 1982 with Nancy Cole Sawaya, Ervin Munro and Max Drew, was remembered Sunday afternoon in West Hollywood City Chambers as a man of courage, integrity and determination. Redman, who believed he acquired HIV disease in the late 1970s,died Dec. 27 of cardiopulmonary arrest in Southern California Hospital at Culver City. He was 67.  

John Duran

The memorial was a casual reunion of family, friends, and longtime AIDS activists. West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran, flanked by photos of Redman through various stages of his life, recalled the times in the early 1980s when Redman, an interior designer, stepped up and became an AIDS warrior. 

Redman “was a force to be reckoned with” as “we, as a community, walked through a plague. It was unprecedented,” Duran said, putting Redman, who helped create the AIDS Action Council, in the larger context the AIDS crisis. “There would have been no wedding cakes without that response.” 

Duran joked that he could almost hear Redman “bark” in his ear as the out HIV-positive councilmember promised that Redman’s legacy of work would be permanently “enshrined in some way,” presumably at the AIDS Monument, which is being planned for West Hollywood Park.  It’s important that LGBT kids know “they came from good stock,” Duran said.

Redman’s brother Brian Redman

Redman’s brother Brian Redman affectionately recalled how Matt was not as athletic as he was growing up. “But what he lacked in athletic ability, he made up foe in personality.” How un-athletic? Brian told of how he came to Los Angeles to film a public service announcement with Magic Johnson. “Who’s that?” Matt asked. 

Brian Redman also joked about how Matt later told his brother, a huge Washington Redskins football fan, that he had dated famous record-setting tight end Jerry Smith. “Had he told me then, I’d still be in therapy now,” Brian Redman said to laughter. Smith contracted HIV/AIDS after he retired in 1977, dying of AIDS in 1986 at age 43.

Brian also talked about how his brother loved his wife and two daughters, who also attended the memorial with the love of Matt’s life, his former partner Tim. Brian shared how much the comments to the story about Matt’s death posted on APLA’s Facebook page mattered to him and his family, reading a few comments as an example.

APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig Thompson, WeHo City Councilmember John Heilman and Charles Robbins

APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig Thompson (pictured with WeHo City Councilmember John Heilman and Charles Robbins) noted that Redman spent more than half his life responding to AIDS at APLA. Thompson said he spent 20 of those years working for Redman, who was both a “visionary” and “an opinionated micro-manager,” a man with integrity who was “always concerned about ending the AIDS epidemic.” He was “relentless.”

Redman said from the very beginning that it was not enough to bury friends, Thompson recalled, pushing APLA to get involved with the important policy-making decisions at AIDS Action Council.  Redman not only cared for the individual with HIV/AIDS but “he never lost sight of the bigger picture of ending the epidemic,” Thompson said.   

Redman’s friend Fred Croton said he met Redman first over the phone, when Croton worked in the Cultural Affairs Department at Los Angeles City Hall. Redman called Croton to secure a space to hold an art auction and was told, “We can do that.” Twenty-five years later Croton discovered that Redman had gone everywhere to find a place for the auction and had been turned down until Croton’s important “yes.” Croton also quoted from John Milton’s poem “Paradise Lost” to underscore Redman’s “courage to never submit or yield.”

Jeff Jenest

Jeff Jenest talked about how he bonded with Redman right away after joining APLA’s board of directors in 1992 because like him, Redman was also “loud.” Jenest said that as he endured several hip surgeries, Redman “knew how to deal with life that had stripped us of our more defining attributes.” Redman, Janest said, “was my best girlfriend and I will miss him all the days of my life.”

James Mason

James Mason, who organized the memorial, knew Redman as both the body builder and a party girl at Probe. Once Redman called him for help to “practice” before a bowling date with a man Redman met on Grindr. Mason didn’t really know how to bowl but went along as a friend, meeting Redman outside a place in Koreatown with two armed guards at the door. Inside, they were the only white gay guys and their lane was sandwiched between a romantic couple making out and what Mason took to be tougher kids. He wasn’t so sure they belonged there. 

Nonetheless, Redman needed the practice so they decided to bowl.  However, Redman had arthritis in his joints and was only able to stand in a semi-squat and toss the bowling ball forward. It plunked down hard on the lane and rolled a bit before landing in the gutter. Mason wasn’t much better. But, he recalled, by the end of the game, the young people on either sides “were cheering us on,” and they felt the “joy, the love, the camaraderie” that came their way “just by being ourselves.” 

Mason said he spoke with Redman just before Christmas and urged him to go to the doctor to check out a breathing issue. Redman said he would go later; he wanted to spend Christmas with his cat. “I think deep down in his heart, he knew it was time,” Mason said. “But he was at peace.”

Former APLA Board Chair David D. Wexler and his spouse David L. Beckerman

Among those who attended the memorial were former APLA Board Chair David D. Wexler and his spouse David L. Beckerman. Wexler is widely credited with having saved APLA from bankruptcy when the agency experienced a $1 million deficit in 1989.

 

Randi Fine and her mother Sharon Weber

Also there were Randi Fine and her mother Sharon Weber, who worked with the late Dr. Joel Weisman at Pacific Oaks medical group.  

Redman’s family and friends lingered at a reception long after the memorial concluded, not wanting to let go of the love and memories that brought them together.  

in NEWS
Related Posts

Britney Spears Announces Engagement

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Britney Spears and boyfriend Sam Asghari have announced their engagement.  Asghari’s talent manager Brandon Cohen of BAC Talent confirmed in...

MS-13’s Stronghold On MacArthur Park And Transphobia

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

MS-13, a vicious street gang, continues its stronghold on MacArthur Park making it unsafe for many who visit but specifically...

California State To Outlaw “Stealthing”

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

California could soon become the first state to outlaw “stealthing”, the vile practice of removing a condom during sex without...

Teacher Removed After Having Class Pledge Allegiance To The Pride Flag

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Kristin Pitzen, a teacher at Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa, who posted a video to social media of...

Matt Damon Admits To Using Anti-Gay Slur But Then Backtracks

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

Actor Matt Damon has gotten himself into hot water with fans part of the LGBTQ community after admitting that he...

AltaMed Health Services to Host “Inclusion Beyond Pride: A Queer Art Show”

August 5, 2021

August 5, 2021

AltaMed Health Services, will host “Inclusion Beyond Pride: A Queer Art Show” on Friday, Aug. 6, 6-10 p.m. in Los...

Trans Incident At Wi Spa May Have Been Staged

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

On June 24th an Instagram user “cubaangel” posted a video of herself angrily confronting a staff member at the Wi...

Podcast Host Mat George Killed In Hit-And-Run

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Mathew George, gay co-host of the podcast “She Rates Dogs”, has died at the age of 26 after a hit-and-run...

Serenity Hollis, 25th Trans Person Murdered- E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 30th, 2021

June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Serenity Hollis, 25th Trans Person...

Cops Banned From NYC Pride- E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 23rd, 2021

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Cops Banned From NYC Pride...

Caitlyn Jenner Running For California Governor – E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 16th, 2021

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Caitlyn Jenner Running For California...

LA Pride Announces “Thrive With Pride” Theme – E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 9th, 2021

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – LA Pride Announces “Thrive With...

The Abbey Food & Bar Celebrates 30 Years

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

On May 23rd The Abbey Food & Bar celebrated 30 years since its founding in May 1991. The Abbey has...

Artists Featured For SaMo Pride Rainbow Road Art Walk

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

In honor of Pride month Santa Monica Pride (SaMo Pride) will feature a Rainbow Road Art Walk from June 4th-...

Railway Service Coming To WeHo

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

Metro rail service might be coming to the city of West Hollywood.  The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)...