Many years ago, when I was thick into the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, I came to believe in the power of spirituality, and with it, the power of prayer. Not selfish prayer like "Oh, Lord, please let me win the Lottery" but prayer for the well-being of others. Perhaps it was the power in that belief itself, but I have had direct experience with how prayer and calling upon that deep spirituality we all share can bring comfort, if not always the sought for cure. It's as if prayer propels the spirit of love into an Energy the soul of the one for whom we are praying can feel.
For that reason, I humbly request those of you reading this to take a moment and either say a prayer or perhaps just say the name of Mark Hundahl, my friend and the co-publisher of Frontiers magazine, who is deathly ill right now.
(Frontiers co-publisher Mark Hundahl with LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and co-publisher David Stern at Frontiers' 30th anniversary party at Eleven in West Hollywood April 22, 2012. Photo by Karen Ocamb)
Last month, Frontiers columnist Dana Miller who has known Mark for a long time wrote a "Benediction For a Friend," which he has given me permission to reproduce here. Hopefully, it will give you a sense of the straight man who has done so much for the LGBT community, as well as his friends like me. Thank you.
Benediction For a Friend By Dana Miller, 11/6/2012
I hate to hear of illness. When someone I love is truly sick, a pall of doom is cast over my spirit. Like most gay men of my generation, any peek of serious illness or whisper of malady of any kind harkens the psyche back to a calloused heart and a numbed soul. So many of us had a pit seat at the unbelievable opera of AIDS in the '80s. Now, 30 years later, many of us still walk so emotionally robotically through life that when we hear of a fall we instantly jolt back to a very dark place that inhabits way too much mental real estate for folks our age. We have seen too damn much, yet we have no exclusive to this dread. Illness of any kind is a particularly stupefying phenomenon that witnessed firsthand or through a friend or loved one feeds fear and paranoia and becomes an irrational phobia. If you have been ill or a caretaker to anyone, you know what I mean.
It is in that dark place I find myself since learning that a dear man I love very much is ill. Mark Hundahl is one of this planet's best nongay gay friends. He has had a steady and focused hand in creating some of the most important institutions for our community. Mark didn't invent gay dance clubs. He didn't create gay journalism. But as the wizard behind the curtain, Mark Hundahl is the genius that brought innovation, style, showbiz, elegance, class, honesty, professionalism, profitability and success to both.
To an entire generation, Probe Nightclub was the greatest party palace of all time. Mark, along with business partner Jon Hirsh, created something that will never be duplicated. The gone-but-not-forgotten Probe at 836 Highland Avenue and its music, energy, spirit, tension, release and comfort carried an entire gaggle of gay geese through the best of times and the worst of times. This straight impresario kept the cutting edge sharp, and created rather than followed the chic of vogue.
Mega music artists hid in the shadows at Probe to watch the hot crowd's reaction to their latest creation. MTV beamed shows from Probe to capture what couldn't possibly be replicated on a soundstage. Mark's magic at Probe was constantly duplicated but never equaled. Forever the businessman, Mark loaned a struggling publication $5,000 in 1983 in a wickedly wise move, yielding two years of ads in Frontiers for his club.
Seeing the power of the press, Mark, along with David Stern and Bob Craig, created IN magazine in 1997 as a companion publication to Frontiers. In 2007, Mark and David bought Frontiers and merged it with IN, creating a serious voice of advocacy for gays all across America. The publication and online presence you see today is due in large part to the business savvy and street smarts of a guy who cares deeply about who we are and where we as a community are going. Mark is also the cat, likely tiring of listening to my stories, who asked me nine years ago to write them down in a column, Out & About.
Mark Hundahl is a mentor to many. His projects and protégés are as varied as they are vast. To watch his creative spark ignite his genius is awesome. He is like a laughing little kid fascinated and always learning so he may dive in to plumb his wellspring of invention and make something or someone better.
With his pedigree, Mark is certainly a kick-butt fighter. He loves to win. The cretin cancer trollop that is camping without a permit in Mark's lung is melanoma. His docs are using aggressive meds, and it's working. That Big C floozy picked the wrong house. The something he is focused on right now to make better is his body.
Mark's will and spirit and force will, with love and some luck, kick ass on whatever has invaded or polluted his mortal part. Don't bet against him. Never bet against Mark Hundahl.
So now, I think it is time to take a moment and thank my pal. Please say a prayer, light a candle, chant a chant or whatever it is you do for my friend. Positive vibrations are what we need to send. He would do the same for you and me.