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Rosemary Davis for "Before They Left Us"

Join SubText Books in the store on Wednesday, November 14th at 7:00 PM for a reading with Rosemary Davis for her memoir, “Before They Left Us.” Book signing to follow!

In Before They Left Us, Rosemary Davis explores all the twists and turns of 1970s San Francisco streets on a mission to find her identity, both as a woman and as an artist. The Midwesterner finds herself in the warm embrace of a diverse community. She and her cronies experience not only the exhilarating final days of disco and the changing political scene, but also the jolting tremors of earthquakes and assassinations. Her sensuality and political activism blossom within this charged atmosphere.

In this memoir, Davis captures the people, politics, and history around her. From the news of the International Hotel’s demolition, to the assassinations of her neighborhood’s gay supervisor Harvey Milk and Democratic mayor George Moscone, to the onset of AIDS, Before They Left Us reveals one young woman’s leap from a blue-collar Catholic neighborhood in Milwaukee to California’s gay Main Street—the Castro. 

After moving to Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1980, she makes a series of trips from the Midwest back to California into those once and still gorgeous Victorians to tend her dying friends with AIDS. Simultaneously, Davis witnesses the loss of Twin City residents to AIDS – a close neighbor, a filmmaking teacher, an editor with PWAlive Newsletter, several children, and Minneapolis Supervisor Brian Coyle. As a result, she joins the Minnesota AIDS Project as a volunteer and begins a more somber journey toward healing. She learns that activism and art can help channel grief and that community is essential to surviving trauma.

About Rosemary Davis:
Rosemary Davis is a travel writer, essayist, poet, and photographer.  She received an MFA in writing from Hamline University in 2007. Her work has been published in Brevity, Minnesota Literature, A View from the Loft, the Open to Interpretation books, the Star Tribune Travel Section, along with other anthologies and literary journals.  She is the curator of the reading series: A Language We Speak.  In 2005, she was selected for a poetry fellowship in the Loft Literary Center Mentor Series.  Davis worked in video and film production for twenty-five years.  Her passions include appreciating architecture, watching documentary films, making art books, and tending several overgrown gardens.

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