Vinny Allegrini Tested Positive for a Staph “G” Infection in his blood

For those who don’t know, Vinny Allegrini just got out of the hospital on Thursday 9/11 (his birthday). He’s been in Beth Israel three times in three months for various medical issues.

Currently, he has a Staph “G” Infection in his blood (which can be serious and even fatal) and is getting two or three weeks of a heavy-duty IV Antibiotics through a PICC Line.

Every morning at 10 AM, I connect up into Vinny’s new plumbing port and go through the “SASH” Technique (injecting Saline, Antibiotics, Saline, and finally Heparin). Except during that half hour, you wouldn’t know he even has that line.

Vinny does have side effects from the IV Antibiotic Ceftriaxone (the generic form of Rocephin®, which can be nasty stuff.

He is slowly returning to being active, mobile, and cutting hair. He is some times in a wheelchair, somethings a rolling walker and sometimes a walking cane.

— MarkHBO logoPS: Folks often tell me that they  they don’t see the link to watch our HBO documentary — it’s on the RIGHTs

Yes, Mark and Vinny were featured in a HBO documentary, Positively Naked (progressive family viewing, despite the provocative title). Click this link to watch on YouTube

• • •

Click here to visit the website with our best “Clips” of pieces in all media featuring us or created by us.

Response to PrEP with Truvada

Response to PrEP with Truvada

Of course I’m 100% sex-positive, but I do worry about (a) what sort of Truvada resistant stains of HIV we’ll breed, (b) Truvada is a strong drug and long-term effects could be pretty serious, and (c) a condom prevents all disease transmission; will increased bareback sex lead to a rise in Hep C, and other drug resistant STDs.

— Mark De Solla Price

I passed out, was non-responsive for 6 hours, hospitalized for 4 days

On Thursday 3/13 at 5 PM I passed out and fell in our bedroom on the RIGHT side of my back surgery area and was non-responsive for the next six hours.

Vinny called 911 and I came-to in the ER. I was in Beth Israel Hospital for four days, and got out late last night. Vinny was hospitalized for an overnight too.

They call my event a “Syncope” (pronounced SIN-CO-PEA and being medical-speak for any sort of passing out) and was probably the effect of the pain PLUS getting too dehydrated over a few days (and the toxic effect of the almost 300 prescription pills I take each week), PLUS adding an additional high-blood pressure drug and a “stress event” with our landlord — all this against my too long list of serious medical issues I am dealing with that make me more sensitive.

Many folks have asked if it had anything to do with my fall on 2/25 on my back surgery area with the resulting higher pain meds — we know it did NOT have anything to do with the Fentanyl pain patch or Oxycodone.

I am home resting comfortably, Vinny is doing well, and I have a week full of doctor’s appointments and tests, just to follow-up and rule things out.

I feel VERY loved by so many of our friends who went to such great lengths to take care of me, Vinny, Troika (our dog) while we were in hospital. THANK YOU ALL!

Mark de Solla Price talks “The Interdependent Web of All Existence”

First Unitarian Logo

Mark de Solla Price

Mark de Solla Price talks about “The Interdependent Web of All Existence”

August 25, 2013 at 11:00 am;
Drop In Choir Rehearsal at 10:00 am

First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn [Heights]

Rev. McKinney Chapel (enter on Pierrepont between Clinton and Monroe)

50 Monroe Place, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

Mark de Solla Price is an Atheist, Unitarian Universalists, and Zen Buddhist living in Greenwich Village. Mark is a writer, public speaker, gay/lesbian/transgender and civil rights activist, HIV/AIDS aging and health educator and technology/management consultant.

He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Living Positively in a World with HIV/AIDS from Avon Books/Hearst Magazines and numerous blogs, feature articles and magazine stories. He Produced the Off-Broadway Musicals Tallulah! with Helen Gallagher and the upcoming Boston/Provincetown transplant Mildred Fierce with Ryan Landry.

Mark has been living with HIV/AIDS for over thirty years and been in a same-sex marriage to Vinny Allegrini for almost twenty years. Mark and Vinny were featured subjects in the HBO documentary Positively Naked with Spencer Tunick; he has been a media spokesman for same-sex marriage equality and a long-time advocate of the hospice movement. He continues to be a frequent contributor to POZ Magazine, a regular public speaker at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

Mark was one of the leaders of “The Healing Circle” in the 1980’s and1990’s. He is an active member of and First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn. [Heights] and continues to serve on many charitable boards, and was Board Chair of The Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist and was a long-time member of the Ethelwyn Doolittle Justice and Outreach Fund that gives annual grants supporting human rights, civil liberties, racial justice, and environmental concerns. In 2009 and 2010, Mark served on the panel awarding the annual Jerry Davidoff Sermon Award from the Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness. and was one of the lay leaders of the Buddhist Explorers Dharma Fellowship for many years.

Mark is the second vice president of the Buddhist Council of New York and has been a student of Zen Buddhism and received the Buddhist precepts from Roshi Enkyo Pat O’Hara, the Abbot and co-founder of the Village Zendo Buddhist Temple, part of the White Plum Asanga.

Mark became ordained as a Secular Humanist Chaplain by the Universal Life Church Monastery. Over the years he has officiated at dozens of memorial services celebrating people’s lives; in the last few years, Mark has expanded his chaplaincy to officiate at both mixed gender and same-sex marriages in New York City.

For more information, Mark’s writing and blogs, thousands of photos, videos, podcasts and services, visit

(for information and directions to First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn, click here)

for a PDF and printable flyer, download the following link:

“The Interdependent Web of All Existence” First Unitarian Sermon

[ Order_of_Service_2013-08-25_v1.docx ]


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Order of Service


The Sounding Bowl calls us into the spirit of silence and meditation


Prelude “Chorale Denouement” from ‘Jazz Preludes’ by John Mehegan


Opening Hymn “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught*
from South Pacific by Richard Rodgers (Music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (Lyrics)

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,

You’ve got to be taught from year to year,

It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You’ve got to be carefully taught!


* You are invited to stand in body or in spirit for those sections with an asterix.


Words of Welcome    Jacque Schultz


Lighting the Chalice*


Song of Hope*

From all that dwell below the skies

Let songs of hope and faith arise.

Let peace, good will on earth be sung

Through every land by every tongue.


Candles of Memory and Hope*



Welcoming Visitors, Newcomers and Fellow Congregants


Hymn 1064 “Blue Boat Home by Peter Mayer
Though below me, I feel no motion

Standing on these mountains and plains

Far away from the rolling ocean

Still my dry land heart can say

I’ve been sailing all my life now

Never harbor or port have I known

The wide universe is the ocean I travel

And the earth is my blue boat home


Sun, my sail and moon, my rudder

As I ply the starry sea

Leaning over the edge in wonder

Casting questions into the deep

Drifting here with my ship’s companions

All we kindred pilgrim souls

Making our way by the lights of the heavens

In our beautiful blue boat home


I give thanks to the waves upholding me

Hail the great winds urging me on

Greet the infinite sea before me

Sing the sky my sailor’s song

I was born upon the fathoms

Never harbor or port have I known

The wide universe is the ocean I travel

And the earth is my blue boat home




Hymn “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin (music), John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons (lyrics)

Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by

If you smile through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying?

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying?

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile


Sermon: “The Interdependent Web of All Existence

by Mark de Solla Price, Secular Humanist Chaplain


Anthem “What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss

I see trees of green, red roses too.

I see them bloom, for me and you.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white.

The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky.

Are also on the faces of people going by.

I see friends shakin’ hands, sayin’ “How do you do?”

They’re really saying “I love you.”

I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow.

They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world



Postlude “The Internationale by Pierre Degeyter (Music) and Jerry Engelbach (Piano Arrangement) *


You are invited to stand, as Albert Schweitzer put it, “In Reverence for All Life”


Benediction by Mark de Solla Price


# # #


Mark de Solla Price, Secular Humanist Chaplain

Jacque Schultz, Worship Assistant

Harrison Beck, Summer Music Director and Piano

Dawn Elane Reed, Drop-In Choir Leader

Rob Petrillo, First Unitarian Director of Congregational Services


This sermon will be available on


Mark talks about CitiBike for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Well, I was stopped on the street yesterday and was asked what I thought about the implementation of the new shared Bike system being tested in Manhattan.

A rather unflattering edit was broadcast on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Thursday, June 6, 2013.

For the record: I am in favor of the idea, but the placement of the bike racks caused many unintended consequences that could have been avoided with better communication. I gave the example of the steps that movie location shoots go through with posting notices and actually listening to and resolving complaints promptly. CitiBike has a website, but I have not heard of a single rack that has been moved — even ones that block handicap access.

Here is the clip. My 30 seconds of fame start 7:20 into the clip Daily_Show_2013-06-06_CitiBike



Mark and Vinny’s Marriage Vows

Marriage Vows

Vinny and Mark wrote these vows on a Summer day in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York City:

“As we reaffirm this sacred bond of marriage, we renew our wedding vows and pledge to do whatever it takes to celebrate life together, and live to the fullest in the present moment. We will strive to be brave when facing life’s challenges together, and we will laugh and love and hold each other often. We will do whatever we can to help each other to be healthy and grow along our own unique paths. We promise to always be supportive of one another with gentleness and love, and communicate honestly and openly, no matter what. We will create a wonderful home together that can be an oasis filled with serenity, happiness, and our love. And most of all, we will cherish this never-ending love for one another and for our family and our friends.”

(Mark and Vinny signed this in front of 125 of our family and friends and a rabbi on September 3, 1995.)

We’re Moving Our Website Content Right Now

Thanks for visiting the newly redesigned website. You might have also landed here if you were looking for or — but I bet you know that you’re in the right place.

Unfortunately, much of our old website content has yet to be moved over here.

[keep in touch]

Please sign up on our mailing list, so you can hear our latest news…

HBO logo

To watch the 26-minute HBO documentary, Positively Naked (progressive family viewing, despite the provocative title). In 2005 the Motion Picture Academy short listed this for Best Short Documentary. Mark and Vinny are featured prominently:


If you’re looking for old photos, you can look in the older photo galleries [the older one here, and the newer one here], for the time being.

If you’re looking for old blog posts, you can look in some even older material might be still found in

# # #

Mark and Vinny Holiday Letter 2010

Mark and Vinny Holiday Letter 2010

Troika, Vinny, and Mark
A Family Portrait by Garry Gross
(November 2009)

This holiday letter is also on our website at and we are also e-mailing it to you, since it’s more fun to read on-line with live “links” and all the year’s photos, writings, and more. If you only got a physical copy, then please visit our website to subscribe to our updates, opt-out, or change your e-mail address. For those who want to read the longer narrative, the website also has the holiday letters from 2009, 2008, and 2007. Mark is still moving things over from the old, manual systems to the fully accessible website (see colophon).

Back in March, Jason (Woei-Ping) Chen proposed photographing us in our home for a series he was doing of same-sex married couples. Welcoming people into our home is very important to us on a spiritual level. It is even part of our marriage vows that “We will create a wonderful home together that can be an oasis filled with serenity, happiness, and our love.” Jason captured a lovely energy in both our home and our relationship. These images are on our website, and our favorite became the cover of this year’s card. Unfortunately, it meant that for the first time since our hurricane rescue dog Troika came to live with us on January 6, 2006, she wouldn’t join us on the holiday card. Being such a lovely dog, she didn’t complain and we assured her that there were plenty of other photos of her on our website.

Our life really is filled with serenity, happiness, and our love. Of course, it’s also been filled with serious health challenges for both of us. Over the last few years, Mark has become increasingly disabled by the ravages from three decades of HIV infection plus the very toxic effects of the treatment cocktail itself. No one knew that the reprieve from HIV could age some body parts (like some of Mark’s) at double speed. That’s why he now has conditions that usually are only seen in geriatric patients. Is 50 the new 80? For many of us long-term HIV survivors, it might be. David France wrote a powerful, must-read article in New York Magazine: HIV patients are living longer but getting older faster. Mark has now had three rounds of vascular leg surgery and six rounds (and counting) of assorted lower back procedures working with an opioid pain management plan. AIDS can be a chronic, treatable, manageable condition for folks like us with great insurance, terrific medical teams, and loving families, but these days getting through it has often had to be “one breath at a time.”

Thanks to Gay Men’s Health Crisis Continuing Education Scholarships, Mark has been able to take two semesters of “Writing for New York City Newspapers and Magazines” by Susan Shapiro at the New School. Shapiro is a prolific writer who (uniquely) teaches how to be a working, published freelance writer. Unfortunately, Mark’s health has really gotten in the way of getting the full payoff from the class so far, but he learned practical skills and has met many influential editors in the process, so as his health improves, the fruits of this work should pay off and support Mark’s larger project, his Memoir “Not Dying As Scheduled” which tells the story of Vinny and Mark’s seventeen years (and counting) together, most of that time being told they wouldn’t have much more time together.

Amazingly, it’s now been nine years since Vinny’s liver transplant fell through — after our winning the battle to get an HIV-positive person approved for a transplant. Out of options on New Years Eve 2000/2001, Vinny got admitted to home hospice care with “only weeks to live”. In March 2006, he was eventually kicked out of hospice care for “not dying as scheduled.” He still hasn’t made any miraculous cure and he requires daily Roxanol (liquid morphine sulfate) and battles narcolepsy and dementia. But, when he is able to cut hair, artistically he is doing the best work of his 38-year precision hair-cutting career.

Both Vinny and Mark have been especially spiritually active this past year, both in the Unitarian Universalist and American Buddhist Communities. That is a more common mix than you might suppose. According to the UUA website, 16.5% of all UUs identified themselves as being Buddhist. And both are more of a lifestyle and ethical philosophy rather than a theology or religious belief or concept of God.

Early in 2010, we both “signed the book” and became voting members of the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn. We had become disillusioned and unhappy at The Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist, and although Mark had been Board Chair at Community Church, we figured out the subways work in both directions and we could have a shorter Sunday morning commute by heading out to Brooklyn Heights from the West Village, and now we couldn’t be happier in our new spiritual home resplendent with the stained glass windows and mosaic by Louis Comfort Tiffany, a vibrant congregation of progressive, liberal and passionate folks, great music and under the outstanding care of the Senior Minister, Rev. Patrick O’Neill. In August, Mark gave a sermon at First Unitarian “On Being a Church-Going Atheist” that was one of the best attended of the Summer.

Mark continues to be a student member at The Village Zendo, co-founded twenty-five years ago in SoHo by Enkyo Roshi, a Zen Priest in the White Plum Lineage. The Zendo is about equally comprised of gay and straight members and HIV/AIDS has always been central to its mission. In August, Mark went on a week-long intensive retreat called “Jukai” or lay ordination that formalized his ethical commitment to serve the community. On the back of our holiday card, you can read these Zen Peacemaker Moral Precepts that Mark committed to. At that ceremony, Enkyo Roshi gave Mark the Buddhist name
GakuJô (see below)
meaning “A steep mountain peak of mercy, love and compassion.”

GakuJô (in kanji)

Vinny studies with Sharon Salzberg, who he calls his Spiritual Angel. She is best known for her “metta” (loving-kindness) meditation. Both Vinny and Mark are active members of the Open Sky Sangha, which offers Buddhist teachings and meditation practice serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and with the Buddhist Explorers Dharma Fellowship which Mark leads at the LGBT Community Center. On Sunday January 16, Mark will be the guest speaker on “Being Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist and Atheist.” All are welcome, regardless of religious belief or non-belief.

Mark has coordinated and officiated at countless memorial services and “celebrations of life” over the last twenty-five years; this summer it was a life-affirming honor to officiate at the wedding of Jeffrey Folmsbee and Rei Hayashi. Also over the summer, we had the pleasure to host and reconnect with two of our Danish cousins, Tine Hjorth and Isis Hjorth, who came in separate visits. Just last month, we were happy to welcome niece Melanie Allegrini Alvarez’s husband Steve back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mark’s father, Derek de Solla Price, discovered The Antikythera Mechanism, a complex geared computer built in Greece about 80 BC. When he died in 1983, what he viewed as his most important work was largely ignored. In the May 14, 2007 issue of the New Yorker, it was finally the subject of an eight-page article and there is now an upcoming National Geographic documentary broadcast on January 20 with lots of never before seen film and images. We’re all so happy that his work is at last being recognized.

Just as we prepared to print our holiday letter, we got the sad news that our upstairs neighbor and dear friend Garry Gross died unexpectedly. He was perhaps most famous for his provocative nude photos of a then ten-year-old Brooke Shields. After his retirement from commercial photography, he became a dog trainer and dog photographer, specializing in artistic dog portraits of “senior dogs.” In November 2009 he gave us the wonderful gift last year of a studio photograph of Troika, Vinny and Mark which was the cover of last year’s holiday card and is on the top of this letter. Impermanence can be difficult…

Please visit our website and/or Facebook for updates, photos and more…