Larry Kramer, the famously outspoken playwright who has been described as “the original angry activist,” was smiling. It was brief—a flicker and a wave on the red carpet, before he was chauffeured to the ballroom —but it happened nonetheless.
Mr. Kramer, 76 years old, was feted at the 30th Anniversary Gala for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the nation’s oldest AIDS service organization. He co-founded the GMHC, but resigned from its board of directors in 1983, amid disputes. (Red-carpet reporters were told Mr. Kramer wasn’t doing interviews.)
The party, held at the high-ceilinged, candle-lit Gotham Hall in Midtown, also honored former GMHC director Tim Sweeney and the philanthropic Rudin family. The evening’s hostess, actress Mary Louise-Parker, came strutting in behind Mr. Kramer, gay dates on either side of her. “I’ve always had a lot of gay friends,” she said. “I went to drama school.”
The actress said that she’s proud to have been in “Longtime Companion,” the 1989 film she said was “one of the first movies that brought AIDS to the general consciousness.”
Is Nancy Botwin, the heroine on “Weeds,” influenced at all by Ms. Louise-Parker’s relationships with gay men? “I think my work in theater and in smaller films have had those themes involved. When I think about my career, I actually don’t really think about Nancy. I’ve been acting for 27 years.”
The party’s coat-check guys looked like off-duty models.(Many of the attendees did as well.) The dinner menu, prepared by Alexandra Guarnaschelli of the Darby, included “pea soup with truffled goat cheese crostini,” “asparagus with black truffle in Phyllo,” and wine from the Wolffer Estate in Sagaponack.
In the late ’80s, Mr. Kramer became famed for his galvanizing protests. Ironically, outside the venue on Wednesday, a four-person protest assembled to picket the Rudin family’s plans for the St. Vincent’s Hospital space.
Marjorie Hill, chief executive of the GMHC, said, over the past 15 years, medications have “revolutionized” AIDS management. “Thirty years is, in some ways, much older than it seems,” Ms. Hill said.