As global attention focuses on New York with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and the WorldPride celebrations scheduled to coincide, the creator of the Rainbow Flag is finally getting his say with the posthumous release of Gilbert Baker’s “Rainbow Warrior: My Life in Color.” The publication early this month by Chicago Review Press, with a foreword by “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, was a labor of love by Charley Beal, manager of the Gilbert Baker Estate, and his colleague there Jay Blotcher.
Several events, both literary and activist, have taken place in recent weeks to honor the memory of Baker, who died at age 65, in March 2017, as well as the book’s launch.
On May 31, for the second year in a row, Steven Love Menendez led a group of activists, joined by Jamie Adams, the out lesbian park ranger that oversees the Stonewall National Monument, in decorating the wrought iron fence around Christopher Park, the site of the Monument, with a blizzard of Rainbow Flags.
The following day, Beal was on hand to oversee the hoist of a new, larger Rainbow Flag — one made by the flag manufacturing company Baker started — on the pole at Christopher Park.
On June 4, the Strand Bookstore on Broadway in the Village played host to a launch party for “Rainbow Warrior,” which featured a panel including playwright and actor Charles Busch and activists Ann Northrop, Ken Kidd, Jay Walker, and Melissa Sklarz.
This evening at 7 p.m., the Stonewall Inn is the site of a second panel about the book, this one including Stonewall owner Stacy Lentz, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, filmmaker and activist Brendan Fay, with fellow activists Lidell Jackson and Cathy Marino-Thomas.
RAINBOW WARRIOR: MY LIFE IN COLOR | By Gilbert Baker | Chicago Review Press | $26.99 | 256 pages