"Programming for the Paul Varnell Memorial Event has achieved critical mass," announced event Programming Chair Greg Nigosian. "We have received solid confirmations from several speakers recently and we are confident of presenting a meaningful and memorable event for those in attendance." Additionally, several other individuals have indicated a willingness to contribute but are in the process of clearing schedules to enable their participation.
Included in the afternoon lineup of confirmed speakers are Jack Rinella, a sought-after lecturer and author who will recount Varnell's mentorship and encouragement; conservative gay leader Tim Drake will speak on their early conservative/libertarian political activities; Dr. David Ostrow is expected to address his and Paul's early AIDS activism; Milan Vydareny had a number of projects with Varnell and remembers Paul as a "connector and early adopter."
The final portion of the afternoon will be reserved for a moderated open discussion and extemporaneous presentations by attendees.
The Event will take place at 2:00 PM on Sunday, April 15, 2012 in the Etienne Auditorium of the Leather Archives & Museum at 6418 N. Greenview Ave. on Chicago's North side. Doors will open at 1:30 PM.
The event website, varnell.lionwood.com, has complete information. Interested persons can also sign up for the event mailing list to receive timely notices about the event as planning is finalized.
Varnell, who died December 9, 2011 at the age of 70, has been variously described as a Renaissance Man, a curmudgeon, brusque, one of the kindest and most compassionate men alive, conservative, libertarian, a gay activist and advocate, a journalist, social commentator, art critic and enormously multifaceted. In fact, he was all of these things and much more. The event will provide the opportunity to recount and share in some the eclectic experiences that distinguished the life of Paul Varnell.
The event organizers, Milan Vydareny and Greg Nigosian were long-time friends of Varnell and have participated with him over the years in various projects and activities related to activism and the advancement of gay rights.