Authur Evans obituary comments by Wayne R. Dynes

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Arthur Evans (1942-2011)

My friend Arthur Evans died on September 11 in San Francisco, where had lived since 1974. A year ago, recognizing that he was in failing health, Arthur wisely composed his own obituary, which I reproduce below.

The Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was the most vibrant and influential gay organization to emerge in New York City from the turbulent period that followed immediately after the Stonewall events in June of 1969,

A charismatic figure in those days, Arthur Evans was the last survivor of a quartet of men who were most instrumental in founding and sustaining GAA. The others were Arthur Bell, Evans’ lover, a journalist and author; Jim Owles; and Marty Robinson. The last two are perhaps best described as community organizers. Of the four, Arthur Evans particularly excelled in organizing “zaps”--demonstrations in which he assembled groups of activists to confront powerful homophobes in the media and public relations.

Arthur Evans and I got onto a wrong track when I wrote a negative review in Gay Books Bulletin of his 1978 book “Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture.” Since he lived in San Francisco and I in New York, we did not interact much. About five years ago, though, the two of us struck up an Internet friendship. Arthur was aggrieved, and rightly so, that the philosophy department at Columbia University refused to grant him the Ph.D. even though he had written a substantial monograph in the field, the last requirement for the honor (his book “Critique of Patriarchal Reason”). Evans hoped that the degree would allow him to assume a teaching position at a Bay Area College. This was not to be. Arthur was a favorite student of Paul Oskar Kristeller--no mean tribute since Kristeller was one of the great Renaissance scholars of the time. Since I live near the university campus, I invited him to come and stay with me. Together we would try to hold the university’s feet to the fire. For some reason the plan fell through, and I now regret that I didn’t go to see Arthur in his apartment in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.

At all events he should be remembered now for his unwavering struggle and his many accomplishments. Here is his own statement..

-- Wayne R. Dynes

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