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In his new book, How to Survive a Plague, David France– the creator of the Oscar-nominated seminal documentary of the same name– offers a definitive history of the battle to halt the AIDS epidemic, on World AIDS Day. Joined by Dr. Mark H. Katz, a physician activist on the frontlines of the affected HIV community of Southern California, and Tony Valenzuela, a longtime community activist and writer whose work has focused on LGBT civil rights, sexual liberation, and gay men’s health, France shares powerful, heroic stories of the gay activists who refused to die without a fight.

ALOUD would like to thank the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives for contributing photographs for this program.  Learn more about the collection and upcoming exhibitions at one.usc.edu.

David France

David France is the author of Our Fathers, a book about the Catholic sexual abuse scandal, which Showtime adapted into a film. He coauthored The Confession with former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey. He is a contributing editor for New York and has written as well for The New York Times. His documentary film How to Survive a Plague was an Oscar finalist, won a Directors Guild Award and a Peabody Award, and was nominated for two Emmys, among other accolades.

Dr. Mark H. Katz

Dr. Mark H. Katz has delivered care to persons with HIV for 30 years. Since 1985, he has been affiliated with Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles. From 1992-2006, he was the Regional HIV Physician Coordinator for the Southern California Kaiser region. In addition to his HIV outpatient work, he is currently a hospitalist at the West LA Medical Center and the Physician Lead at West LA for Clinician-Patient Communication, inspiring providers to be more empathic communicators. He has long been an educator as well as physician activist–through work with organizations such as LA Shanti and Being Alive (for which he conducted a monthly medical update from 1988 through 1997).  He is the recipient of many honors, but his greatest professional reward, he says, is “continually having the opportunity to be involved in the care of people who face the challenge of HIV with such grace and determination.” Dr. Katz is at work on a series of essays and recollections about the HIV epidemic.

Tony Valenzuela

A graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program of the California Institute of the Arts, Tony Valenzuela is the Executive Director of Lambda Literary, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization advancing LGBTQ literature.  He is a longtime community activist and writer whose work has focused on LGBT civil rights, HIV/AIDS and gay men’s health.  He is credited with having ruptured the conventional wisdom in HIV/AIDS prevention among gay men by launching an international debate regarding sexual health beyond condom use.  Out Magazine has listed him among the “Out 100.” He wrote, produced and performed his acclaimed one-man show, The (Bad) Boy Next Door, a second generation AIDS narrative which toured in a dozen cities in the U.S.  He has continued to publish essays, fiction and journalism and is currently working on a memoir.

Thanks to the City of West Hollywood for co-presenting this event!




Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.


Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.


Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.


Main image: Book cover, How to Survive a Plague 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

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  • Where can I find podcasts and videos of ALOUD programs?

    Podcasts and videos from our programs are available free online at our growing Media Archive. Visit the archive at lfla.org/media-archive to explore hundreds of podcasts and videos spanning 20+ years of ALOUD’s history bringing authors, artists, and t thinkers to the Los Angeles Public Library.