Gary Gaetano Bandiera

One of My Dead Friends
by Stephen Arod Shirreffs

This is Gaetano late in his life, hiking in the wilderness which was his consuming passion. The photo is mounted on a hat that is part of the memorial altar that his San Francisco friends made. There's a photo of part of that installation at the bottom of this page. All the images in this series were captured from a video tape made by our friend Ian Mackenzie; he shot every one of the many photos that we mounted on the walls of the San Francisco apartment that Ian and Gaetano shared.

Gary Gaetano Bandiera was my first lover. We met and fell in love in Vancouver in February, 1976; we broke up amiably over a cup of coffee in San Francisco in September 1985. When he died, he was living in the apartment above mine in San Francisco.

William Gibson, whose wife Deborah was one of Gaetano's best friends for two decades, dedicated his Virtual Light to Gaetano before he died, before we even suspected how rapidly he would go. Only a few months later, Gaetano became ill while driving from San Francisco to Vancouver for a vacation. He was hospitalized when he arrived, and died three weeks later on July 1, 1993. A score of his friends and family from around the continent collected around him, blown away by the suddenness and by the irony of how beautiful Gaetano remained. He had feared the physical ravages of the plague, and he was spared that. Good or bad, I don't know, but it surely fit his biting sense of humor.

What I offer in these pages is a series of images, one to a page, with a little text. To move to the next page, just click on the image. There are some tasteful shots of Gaetano au naturel. If you don't like that sort of thing, then don't proceed. As I noted above, the quality of the photos derives from the fact that they are stills captured from a video of images which we displayed at the time of memorial in San Francisco. (At the memorial, Tabitha, who was a close friend of Gaetano and his last lover Sam Harris, sang "You are the Wind Beneath My Wings" while we all wept without reserve.)

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Copyright (c) 2007 by Stephen Arod Shirreffs, all rights reserved.
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| Created: May 9, 1996 | Updated: May 17, 2007 |