Night Sweats

NightSweats (World Premiere)

A Special Commission in Honor of World AIDS Day 2020

December 1, 2020 | 7:30p 

Virtually on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch TV

The New Haven Pride Center, in collaboration with the New Haven Mayor’s Task Force on AIDS and the Guardian Health Association, commissioned NightSweats, a multimedia performance program that incorporates music composition, storytelling, dance, and video projection. This project was commissioned in honor of the 32nd Annual World AIDS Day.

NightSweats is a poem originally written by one of Connecticut’s oldest living HIV+ activists Rev. Alexander Garbera in 1991, at the apex of AIDS-related deaths in the United States. Under the artistic direction of composer Noah Michael Smith, NightSweats (the poem) has been transformed into a musical landscape and is brought to life through the music, movement, and video projection. The musical piece will be set to movement by acclaimed Hartford-born dancer Arien Wilkerson.

This program is part of the New Haven Pride Center’s 2020 World AIDS Day Observation.


"NightSweats" graphic designed by Ike Smith.
Virtual Performance
Screenshot from the performance of "NightSweats"

Missed the premiere? You can re-watch the video here! Performance begins about 20 minutes into the video.

About the Artists

Noah Michael Smith, Composer & Artistic Director

Noah Michael Smith (they/them) is an experimental artist, organist, music director and composer living and working in Connecticut. As a composer, Noah designs musical works which transmute elements of electric and acoustic music with strangely unsettling and colorful results. As an experienced choral director, accompanist and chamber musician, the influences of classic and sacred music are clear in their work, within the expanded sound-world of electronic music. Noah passionately believes in the mystical change of materiality through music. As a queer person living with HIV, their art explores the inherent struggles and triumphs of being ‘Other’. Photo credit Andrew Swensen.

Rev. Alexander R. Garbera, MA, MSC, DD, Poet

Currently serving as co-chair for the New Haven Mayor’s Task Force on AIDS, Rev. Garbera (he/him) is still actively engaged as an HIV activist and LQBQT+ Health Advocate. Ever since his viral bloom during his Psychology graduate studies in 1980, he has endured many challenges during those difficult times but always felt a larger sense of purpose by helping others along the way. Such contributions include being the first founding member of the new haven pride center, co-founder of the Guardian Health Association, HIV Consumer Council, the CT AIDS Drug Assistance Community Advisory Board and member of numerous HIV/AIDS planning bodies. His initiatives include the first anal pap and awareness campaign in 1998, HIV multi platform awareness campaign in 2004 to encourage people with HIV to take their medications and practice safer sex, and has been advocating for increased access and eligibility to HIV health care, medications and vital supportive services for over 10 years to help people living with HIV have quality lives while reducing new infections. Often frustrated, Rev. Garbera still persists advocating for increased accountability, transparency and inclusiveness of our AIDS service organizations and public servants. He hopes bringing this poem to light will bring renewed awareness to the sometimes almost forgotten issue of HIV/AIDS, and arouse support to help get better care for those who live with HIV and prevent the spread of this still deadly and, as of yet, incurable virus.

Arien Wilkerson, Choreographer & Dancer

Arien Wilkerson (they/them or she/her) is a queer, black, choreographer, dancer, film maker, director, producer, installation born/raised in Hartford CT.  Arien Wilkerson | Tnmot Aztro based in Philadelphia Pa, is a collaborative multidisciplinary company featuring six to ten artists at any given time. Sculpture, spatial design, lighting design, installation, photography, sound design, and at times seven or more movement artists including Wilkerson. Tnmot Aztro considers that the complexities within art derive from the alienation of objects, identities, the body, sounds and humans, among many things. As an entity the artistic practice in making performance, sculpture, experimental film, photography and dance is rooted in repurposing or redefining meanings of “fine art” and its attachments to colonialism, white supremacy, and institutionalized racism.

Wilkerson was nominated for a Pew Fellow in 2020,  awarded 2020 Black Artist Support from the Sachs Program for arts & Innovation at Upenn, 2019 Connecticut Dance Alliance Jump Start Award, The Greater New Haven Arts Council & Connecticut office of the arts – Artist Workforce Initiative Sponsorship(2019), The Connecticut office of the arts Artist Fellow (2019). The Connecticut office of the arts project grant (2018), two New England Dance Fund Grants (2017) (2018), The spirit of Juneteenth award from the Amistad Center for Art and Culture(2017), The National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read” Grant (2018), The Director’s Discretionary Fund Award from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund (2018) and was selected as NEFA’S 2018 Rebecca Blunk Fund Awardee