Mark Abramson was a bartender on Castro Street, Haight Street, and South of Market during the worst years of the AIDS crisis, roughly from 1984 to 1996 when new life-saving drugs came on the market. He was also involved in several of the major fundraising events of the times, from gay bars to the waterfront piers of San Francisco and theaters in between. For My Brothers is filled with true stories of encounters with Connie Francis, Johnnie Ray, and Christine Jorgensen, plus friendships with Al Parker, John Preston, and Sylvester and dozens of lesser known characters who deserve to be remembered.
Reviews From Amazon:
By Christopher Moss on March 7, 2014
Mark Abramson, a popular gay novelist, arrived in San Francisco when it was thoroughly a gay place, but also not long before the “Gay Plague” of HIV/AIDS began its decimation of the so recently liberated community. Working as a bartender in a few of the oldest most popular gay bars in the city, Mark meets just about everyone, even more so when he starts producing gala events. His memoir becomes a portrait of gay life but then a cataloguing of gay death as he reminisces about his friends and acquaintances as one by one they succumb and die.
This book is moving in its intimacy with the many remarkable personalities Mark came to mourn. It is a tribute that sometimes feels repetitive, balancing as it does the chronology and the separate stories.
In addition there are celebrity sightings, gay or not, with a petty Eartha Kitt all the way to the New York traffic copter reporter whose death by accident deprives Mark of one of his most enduring supports.
The drag entertainment milieu is chronicled in the novel as well, adding a sort of aristocratic framework for a story that simply must not be forgotten. The cataclysm is like the AIDS quilt, able to be viewed as a huge and colorful tribute to a community tragedy, but this book like looking at one section of the quilt, provides the human face of remarkable individuals living it up in a world they at lost last had made… and now forever lost.
By H. Crane on February 16, 2014
While away read Mark Abramson’s new book ‘For My Brothers’. This was one of the best reading experiences I have had in my life. I thoroughly enjoyed Mark’s wonderful emotional narrative of our community experience through the lives and events of dozens of men in San Francisco during the depths of our despair when AIDS became the defining crisis of our struggle. Everyone needs to experience this book. Both my partner and I ended up in the midst of an all inclusive resort in tears but we would never have wanted to miss reliving our saga as it was expressed so well by Mark.
BRAVO Mark Abramson!
By Phil Polizatto on June 11, 2014