Silent auction June 2 to benefit AIDS Law Project
A dog-themed fundraising event Friday, June 2, will honor the memory and legacy of two brilliant, dynamic men, a gay couple living in Philadelphia. Both were 48 when they died of AIDS – David “Spike” Bertugli in April 1997, Gary Bailey three years later in April 2000.
Spike and Gary were early and ardent supporters of the AIDS Law Project, and a silent auction of their collection of more than 50 dogs in mixed media will benefit the nonprofit law firm by sharing with the world the art objects they loved.
The festivities will get under way at 5 p.m. and will run until 7:30 p.m. at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St., Philadelphia. Admission is $35 and will include refreshments.
Spike and Gary were already volunteering at the AIDS Law Project when Ronda B. Goldfein came on board in 1992.
“They were instrumental in supporting the AIDS Law Project in its early days,” said Ronda, executive director since 2000. “Their influence is still felt. We still use the language Spike wrote to explain our mission to potential funders. A plaque recognizing Gary’s contributions to the AIDS Law Project is seen by everyone in our waiting room.”
Both men were passionate about educating people about the disease, even as they struggled with it themselves.
Spike was an editor at several magazines in New York, including Town & Country and Penthouse, and editor-in-chief of an Italian American newspaper in Rome. In 1984 he moved to Philadelphia and became a staff writer for the Jewish Exponent and Inside Magazine.
In 1993, seven years after he was diagnosed with HIV, both he and Gary were extras in the Jonathan Demme movie Philadelphia, which won an Academy Award for Tom Hanks’ portrayal of a Philadelphia lawyer fired because he had AIDS. In a cover story for Philadelphia Magazine, Spike wrote of his experiences on the set. It was his last article.
An artist and designer, Gary was a tireless AIDS educator whose personal story reached thousands of people in the Philadelphia area. His honesty and humor captured the hearts of his listeners, particularly young people, whom he encouraged to use condoms to prevent infection. He worked at Action AIDS, the city’s largest AIDS service organization, now called Action Wellness. Both men were cited by President George H.W. Bush as part of his “thousand points of light” campaign honoring volunteers.