View the Entertainers Against AIDS web site at this link (will open in a separate browser window).
In the spring of 1998 community activists Paul “Cricket” Jacob and Jeff Jennings met to discuss the possibility of uniting area performers in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The bar entertainers and local titleholders had always been involved in benefit shows for AIDS and other important causes, so why not continue these efforts in a more coordinated manner, with a clear vision and clear objectives? That was the question.
Cricket and Jeff crafted a letter inviting several local performers to a brainstorming session at Jeff’s house. The name “Entertainers Against AIDS” and the group’s mission statement; “Entertainers combining efforts to promote AIDS awareness and education, change attitudes and provide a sense of community using what we use best... the stage” were agreed upon at that first meeting which was held in August of 1998. There was much discussion regarding the use of E.A.A. as an acronym, as it was already well known in the area as the acronym for the Experimental Aircraft Association. The group decided that if a legal storm erupted, they would use the publicity to their advantage.
EAA’s first gig was participation in Brandy’s Turnabout show. After that it was Elsie’s ‘Gypsy’ PSA at Napalese Lounge, a show at Rascals, a World AIDS Day event at Appleton North High School (organized by Johnny B.), entertaining the guests at the 8th annual Have-A-Heart benefit for ARCW, entertaining the guests at Positive Voice’s annual Day of Discovery, and a road trip to Sheboygan’s Blue Lite, Milwaukee’s M&M Club and Wausau’s Oz. EAA then produced and marketed a music CD, which was entertaining & informative.
With a year under their belts, EAA decided to shoot for the moon and produce a World AIDS Day show at Green Bay’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. It was a grand production and a smashing success. The event garnered a huge amount of media attention, and was a springboard for future shows at the Weidner Center, the Meyer Theater and the Robert Brault Playhouse. In addition to feature stories which appeared in the local newspapers and television newscasts, the group was also featured in an issue of the State of Wisconsin’s AIDS/HIV Update journal.
Like all good things, EAA ran its course and began to dissolve. Members moved on to other interests, and by the fall of 2005 EAA was no more. However, the awareness and education shared by this dedicated group of entertainers can never be taken away.
Credits: History and description by NE Wisconsin LGBT History Project,
Paul "Cricket" Jacob and Lloyd Schaefer;
Web site design and layout by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: July-2009.