Letters To ONE

Letters to ONE: From Fringe to Forefront

Saturday, October 6, 2012, 5-7pm

A special evening featuring dramatic readings of heartfelt, poignant, and deeply personal letters written during the McCarthy era to ONE Magazine, the first widely distributed gay publication in the U.S., to benefit ONE Archives.

Performances by Dalila Ali Rajah (Hart of Dixie, Grey’s Anatomy), Zsa Zsa Gershick (Door Prize, Bluebonnet Court), Hunter Lee Hughes (Winner Takes All), Paul Jacek (Joan Rivers), and Doug Spearman (Noah’s Arc). Adapted and directed by Zsa Zsa Gershick. (Cast subject to change.)


Long before the Stonewall riots, ONE Magazine – the first widely distributed gay publication in the United States – offered a positive viewpoint of homosexuality and encouraged gay people to resist discrimination and persecution. Despite a limited monthly circulation of only a few thousand, the magazine influenced the substance, character, and tone of the early American gay rights movement.

“Letters to ONE: From Fringe to Forefront” will dramatize a collection of letters written to ONE Magazine, of which only a select few were actually published in the 1950s and 60s. These letters, drawn from historian Craig Loftin’s new book Letters to ONE, were written from isolated lives all across the U.S. during the McCarthy era. Mostly anonymous, they were from men and women, young and old, seeking a sense of belonging and community.

The letters speak of everything from the fear of police harassment and anti-homosexual job purges, to the isolation of living in secrecy, to the possibilities of love and defiance. Written more than half a century ago, these voices reached through the darkness, relieved to have, at last, found a public forum to share their stories, struggles, and desires. Each letter testifies to the inspiring and sometimes harrowing early American gay rights movement in the United States.


The evening will also feature:

  • A Q&A with historian Craig Loftin, author of Letters to ONE, moderated by USC professor and ONE Archives board member, Chris Freeman.
  • A special ceremony recognizing the ACLU LGBT Project, and the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association (LGLA) which have chosen to preserve their historical legacies at ONE Archives.
  • Opening of Meeting in the Margins: 60 Years of Queer Organizations in the Archive, an exhibition of materials from ONE spotlighting a number of a queer organizations founded in Los Angeles as a part of ONE’s 60th Anniversary.


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Letters to ONE: From Fringe to Forefront
Saturday, October 6, 2012, 5-7pm
5-6pm Reception
6-7pm Presentation, Q&A and Performance

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA  90007

Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Ample free street parking is available.

0 VIP (includes preferred seating and gift bag)
General Admission
Student Admission


All proceeds benefit ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.


Generous support for ONE’s 60th Anniversary is provided by Wells Fargo.

Additional support for “Letters to ONE: From Fringe for Forefront” provided by the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association (LGLA), and Bennett and Erdman.



Dalila Ali Rajah is Co-Creator and Executive Producer of the successful late night talk show, Cherry Bomb! A wonderful mixture of sandalwood, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, she is an actress, producer, published poet, dancer, spoken word artist, painter, life coach and mother.

Chris Freeman teaches English and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He earned a PhD in English and Gay Studies from Vanderbilt University and was proud to join the board at ONE Archives in 2009.

Zsa Zsa Gershick is the writer/director of the award-winning short film Door Prize, which has screened at more than 100 film festivals worldwide; the author of the plays Coming Attractions and Bluebonnet Court (winner of the 2007 GLAAD Award); and the books Gay Old Girls and Secret Service: Untold Stories of Lesbians in the Military.

Hunter Lee Hughes has appeared in more than 20 theatrical productions, several indie films and a television pilot. Seeking to explore territory considered uncomfortable by traditional Hollywood, Hunter created Fatelink, a transmedia production company with an emphasis on organic character development and creative risk. He’s currently developing his first micro-budget feature film, Inside-Out, Outside-In.

Paul Jacek is a award-winning actor, writer, producer, and stand-up comic.  Profiled in the New Yorker as a comic to watch, Paul recently finished writing for Joan Rivers. Heard Tuesday evenings 7-8pm, along with his comedy buddy, Mary Kennedy, on the wildly successful internet radio show, ‘OH, MARY! for LA Talk Radio.com Channel 2. He is honored to be asked to be part of this important project.

Craig Loftin is a Lecturer in American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. He is the author of Letters to ONE: Gay and Lesbian Voices from the 1950s and 1960s and Masked Voices: Gay Men and Lesbians in Cold War America, published by SUNY Press.

Doug Spearman is best known for his work as Chance Counter on the LOGO series Noah’s Arc. He’s a 30-year entertainment industry vet with a lot of work both in front and behind the camera. Currently Doug is prepping his first feature as a director – a gay noir comedy called Hot Guys With Guns.

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