The (Bad) Boy Next Door, Tony Valenzuela's solo show about coming of age in the midst of the AIDS crisis, will have its world premiere at the Coast Playhouse Jan. 15, 2000. Written and performed by Valenzuela, the darkly comic monologue is set for a limited engagement through Sunday, Feb. 13, directed by Michael Kearns.
(Bad) Boy traces Valenzuela's always evolving relationship with the looming threat of HIV from the perspective of his generation. The show follows his college experiences (living as a closeted gay man, homophobia in the dorms) to coming out to his family four times (as gay, HIV positive, a "porn star" and a male escort), his work as a gay rights advocate, and finally to the events which led up to being thrust into the international gay media spotlight as the notorious "advocate of unsafe sex."
Born in Los Angeles and raised in San Diego, the 31- year-old Valenzuela spent much of his adult life developing a career as a gay activist, working for various social service organizations and political projects up until the time he was diagnosed as HIV positive (1995). That year, in a series of columns he wrote for the Gay & Lesbian Times, he revealed his HIV status sparking a vital community dialogue around the challenging issues facing HIV prevention and younger men. For the last two years, he has been embroiled in a national controversy over the discussion of unprotected sex as it relates to HIV prevention and gay community politics.
Kearns is a well-known L.A. theatre artist whose credits include Intimacies, Dream Man and Jerker.
The Coast Playhouse is located at 8325 Santa Monica Blvd. For tickets and information call (323) 655-8587. -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent