ILIR/ ILI /ILINKA *1973 - 2004+

I got to know Ilir in the beginning Nineties. In Vienna there were at that time some regular hot spots built up for the youth culture and the emerging club scene, which was frankly something totally new to this town.
One of them was the post-/antidiscotheque "U4". It opened its doors rapidly with the starting Eighties, when the discomovement, which in fact happened to be something very rare to Austria, collapsed. During the Seventies people, who had some chichi attitude enjoyed their Saturday night fever and went to exclusive places for summer or winter vacation to relax and to celebrate a sudden new lifestyle of sensual and financial dimensions. So you see that Disco as a big cultural change was enormously limited here. Glamrock (1970-1974) was infact totally unknown to Austria and the few real Disco-discotheques (1976-1979) went bust shortly after this boom.

In Vienna you can nevertheless still find some disco-ruins. The former highly stylized dancing-inns are now shabby and left to disrepair and though they have closed their doors long ago, they are yet of some intense and mundane glamour. From 1980-1986 Vienna fell to New Romantic, Gothic, narcotic dreams and nightmares. It was a very creative, but also extremely threatening period, especially for gay men, who were trying to get on with their liberation movement, which had just explicitly begun to become visible during the Seventies.

The style of these years brought a very important refilling with deep emotions to the people, which was unfortunately and dramatically characterized by the very sad event of the spreading AIDS-crisis, which shattered aesthetic illusions a lot. Depression and anger made heavy drug-abuse seem to be a radical answers to stay alive. Finally it all together happened to be some fuel for an explosive and demanding youth, who wanted to be in charge via alternative forms of self-expression.

In the second half of this decade the long awaited awakening was about to begin.
Gay scene in Vienna was ready to come out.
On the veritable ground of places like the "HOSI" (HOmoSexual Initiative), the "Rosa Lila Villa", the "Arena", the "Metropol", the "Chelsea", the "Flex" and the "U4", creative underground formations and a fancy party posse came together to form some Viennese queer nation.
Parallel to that the very time specific musical styles of NewBeat, Acid, and the meanwhile utmost well known patterns of Techno and House music came to Austria and the referring artists of countries like Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK were strongly communicating across European borders with folks from the US, while the Berlin wall fell in 1989.
So we felt saved and free on many levels. We were ready to celebrate a party.
That was exactly, when I met Ilir.

At the "U4" the weekly occasion of "space-jungle" opened extremely new opportunities to all of us and I was very much fascinated by Ilir´s appearence of his androgynous guise and his show as a very flamboyant, voluptous and also soft and moony dancer.
I myself was at that time turning into my cosmonautic style of blue and silver outfits combined with a colored and extremely short haircut while wearing violet doc marten´s boots.
Shortly after this first hello Ilir went to New York, where he spent about three years.
He wanted to attend a school for performing arts and got deeply involved into the club-scene of the Big Apple.

I got into "House of Sirius" and mostly head over heels into many different acquaintances and relationships with various guys of the gay scene here in Austria, which I explored as a total newcomer and that was highly impressed by what was going on on an international basis, but which was on the other side also unique and of outstanding local quality. Vienna became electronic music.
When Ilir returned I met him by chance in the U(ntergrund Bahn Nummer)4, which is besides the already mentioned location also the name of a public transportation line of the Viennese underground train-system.
He had very much changed towards his ideal, that he probably already was heading for, when I saw him the first time. I will never forget that day, for he was wearing a beautiful semi-transparent, velvet-blue dress over and over coverd with printed and very colorful images of flowers.
His long and curly hair was tied up to an Afro, what at the same time cleared up his face, which presented a light make-up. He was a stunning beauty then and unfortunately only a few fotographs are left of that time showing his outrageous courage.

I invited him to join "House of Sirius", that he in the end frequented as a spectator and delighted with bringing in his incredible powers of implicitness and of urbane cheekiness.
Hans knew, what trends were set in New York during those years and we were very much creating related feelings and ideas.

"House of Sirius" was the only alike innovation here and I have up to date not heard of anything comparable within Europe. A "House" represents the idea of creating a family-alike system consisting of like-minded persons or people, who are sharing some common but mostly very important interests. Most of these Houses are especially important to young and often homeless gay youngsters, who are then coming-out and making their debut to the rest of the scene as a part of being somebody within a very fine process of development and culture hosted by an often older gay man, who has achieved knowledge and some wisdom about life. New York is the birthplace of the "House"-movement in that sense. Well known Houses are: "The House of Extravaganza (and Magnifique)", "The House of (Pepper) La Beija", "The House of (Willi) Ninja", "The House of Continental" and as I recently got to know "The Transy House", which is officially originating from the early Seventies. These Houses do honor each other during dance-celebrations and lurid shows, which present their typical style and variety. At the same time these performances are actions in public to manifest freedom and to act up against social injustice. A film- and radiomaker took us as the determinant subject for one of her cinematic projects and we were interviewed by magazines and the television. Finally we met Willi Ninja (1) of the House of Ninja (2), while he was here for taking his part in a Voguing Contest (3).
Ilir was pleased and clinging to our events and he continued his to and fro street-life and jet-set swinging lifestyle in Vienna as we both were also part of the first club-kid generation. But he never really told anything about his own experiences in New York.

At least not until the end of the Nineties, when he suddenly opened up during one of our intimate discussions about life, love and the world. So the stories of heartache and about the strokes of luck carried our friendship over troubled water. Ilir began to develop slowly but distinctly a more punk-like attitude. In 1997 or so he went to London, where he was not only looking for a musical career but also getting into touch with his black roots. We talked to each other via telephone for hours late night and met whenever he was visiting Vienna and coming over to my place. These reunions were very intense, intelligent and of high intellectual standard. He really had something to say. In July 2004 I asked him to do a very personal interview with me, that accurately took place three months before his sudden death in London. He, like he did it alive, even when he died, happened in the face of society. Ilir broke down dead on the street. I really hope fervently, that he was on his way to some party, somewhere in that goddamned town!

Ilir was a very giving and a very demanding person, he was looking for fortune and fame. He was hard working, albeit he wouldn´t do that in a traditional sense and he realised his big dream of being an artist and a star, but time ran out for him too quickly to get some feedback out of all his actions. I remember his stories about ongoing studio-recordings, photo-shootings and his vocal-rehearsals, which were often enervating and seemed to go nowhere. But imagine, that I was totally fond of his voice, when he improvised for the video-interview a few months before it was all over for him.

I have to think of him several times a week. He is nearly omnipresent to me, what I dont mind at all. I am sentimetal and melancholic, I am cheerful and optimistic, there is so much room in my heart, so he always had his place in my heart, why should I expel or forget him now?
I have learned to live with my virtues and with my mistakes, with my ecstacy and my pain.
I am willing to not forget him. Ilir taught me a lot of emotional intelligence.

Ilir represented and yet represents to me the dream, that in some way or another, each one of us is having. He personified the brilliance of being one of a kind, the power of natural and artistic individuality as a shield and a sword of a human being against the atrocity and the rawness of this being here on this planet. Ilir was definitely not without indulgences or bad feelings, he just could not live to see his coming in and the achievement of some form of personal resumee.

I guess that´s exactly, why I got the idea of writing and of putting this article right here, right now. I mean this statement was not planned at all.
After I found myself thinking over some major things, that happened in my life, of course I came across our friendship, for I still miss Ilir very much. I became aware of an extra subliminal pocess.
I was ready to face my own situation, my own brightness and my very own languor, thus I came to create CIR, which is also making up for being a virtual House. In some sense Ilir inspired me to do so and therefor I am not very much astonished, that exactly now, when I am finishing the ground-breaking of this poject, I find myself remembering him.

It is very hard these days for each one of us to make different and lively experiences.
We are again confronted with death and overexposed to subtle and direct destruction.
The categories of good and bad, allowed and forbidden are suddenly again eclipsing our plans.
One night without condom and you can contract the disease.
One fuck without thinking it all over and you might pass on a big challenge wrapped up in a great sadness.
Fortune and spiritual growth can be tricky and are often covered with utmost brutal depthing.
People are going somewhere mindlessly, excepting the rules of some other mindless people, who are
going somewhere mindlessly too.
But it´s not such a fun-game anymore. And I wonder, if this expression could be true at all, for we should not forget that the 70ies and 80ies have also been utmost brutal times, which made fucking possible but a code well garnished with a lot of scorn. Who wasn´t "beautiful" in the 70ies or "cool" in the 80ies had only little left to laugh about.
Now, it looks like we have to turn into real wisenheimers, before we could make our own process to learn something about it. That the times of erotically letting it just go in great profusion, have gone, is definetely true, but it should at no time mean, that it will never be possible again to invent new, extravagant and reality proven games of satsifying sensual play.
E.G.: In New York I have been to a totally lighted darkroom, which was a lot like a living-room and where Safer Sex-guards have been controlling all sucking and fucking-action. This was very thrilling, for it was kinky and shockingly unusual to me. My whole world turned upside down. Super hot!

We - as gays - need some more room to make it all become clearer, to find out how we could be able to set our very own targets within these different inputs. Living with Hiv and AIDS is determinating the life of a person concerned, that´s what Ilir knew, but nevertheless he tried to keep that away from his very own eyes.
I now think, that he was very afraid of losing his charms and being socially counted out by other people.
He did not respond well to the medication, but had to take it for several times, since his viral load nearly exploaded every now and then. With all that and his suffering from depression, his experiences of harassment and social fears he slipped completely into alcoholism and a frequent drug-abuse to cheer up his mood. He was always taking some stuff to make his day, but the exhaution of his body was then becomig severe and irreversible. Ilir could hardly eat or motivate himself to get into another way of dealing with it. In the end he made his decision, but I cant say, if he did it before, or after he had reached his personal point of no return.

Now, and after I have been talking to one of Ilir´s best friends, I came to the conclusion, that Ilir as he was a very open minded, communicative and glamourous person would have also wanted the world to know as much as possible about his day-to-day circumstances and more about the truth, that his existence can be giving to the ones, who are still having a phyical presence.
I remember, that I was full of rage and of trauma, when I was very much close to his death confronted with some frightening performances of him, like passing out or getting into heavy breathing, another time he cut himself and forced me to have him bleeding in my apartment.
I could keep quite cool, but I was for some reason interrogating if he had already infected some other man, who he had sex with.The last time I saw him, I was overwhelmed with feelings of pain and grief.
I could not take them at all, though I really liked Ilir and took care for him. I have become stronger since to face such a situation of ultimate helplessness and of being out there close to the edge of everything with another gay man. It was heartbreaking and a terrible big thing for me and I was too small, aswell it was the truth and nothing but the truth, so why be so god damned afraid of, why not grow?

Ilir has probably infected at least one other very young man, that´s what I got approved by a friend of us both.
Maybe he was looking for revenge or giving himself totally over to some form of illusory thinking.
Since whatever reason the subtype of HI-Virus, that Ilir gave to this young man, had already turned very aggressive and very difficult to be treated by the doctors, thus the lifespan of this man has extremly decreased, he is now already living in a quite minatorial physical condition.
Multiple unprotected sex can cause the transmission of different Hiv-types and moreover pass on medicamentous information, which can then lead to resistances and a so called super-infection, which reduces tremendously, if not zeros the chances of survival.

For youngsters Safer Sex and Hiv-prevention can really be a very clear and a totally consenting act.
Their parents should be truely glad to have gay kids and enforce their activities to protect themselves and their mates to let them lightly make plans for a bright future. Teens and twens are full of sexual power, it is very easy for them to communicate wearing a rubber while having intense sex.
Older and grown up men, who have emotionally or bodily already experienced a lot, what can also lead to some new sexual horizons, like SM or else, should get very well aware of their self-responsibility and the responsibility they simply have achieved by becoming adults.
Ilir told me, that he knew, who was passing the Hi-Virus on to him and that he met this guy in a phase in his life, when he was through with life and risking everything.
I myself have come through alike emotions of hunger and desire, that made me give everything away.
Other men, who I know have got infected like Ilir consciously by some sort of sexual killers, who did not only try to pass on their unanswered quests, but also their hatred and their disappointment about life.
What all these stories in retrospect have in common is a terrible lack of love and of caring understanding.
Still I ask myself, why Ilir just didn´t come to see me just to open up his closet and to talk with someone about his feelings of being totally down and out, yet before his contracting.

Still I ask myself, why I could not go and see somebody to talk about my emotions of threat and subversion. At least I did not express them at that time, later I could make them topics of my personal supervision. Now I guess, that both of us, he and I, have been confronted with even deeper personal issues, metaphors of our childhood and adolescence.

If you should have received a high risk shot, or you have got into some form of actual unsafe sexual play, then please don´t hesitate to see a qualified hospital within at the latest 24 (!) hours to immediately take the right medication to stop the virus from reproducing. Tell your friends about it and do also care about those, who you might endanger for whatever reason, e.g. when realizing, that you have screwed another man with a broken condom. (Austrian expression: PEP-PostExpositionProphylaxe, what means to be treated for about a month with regular antiretroviral therapy).
Take this chance either to get over a difficult and unsteady phase in your life or to really get into living with the gay scene and loving other gay men!

I think, that Ilir´s true heritage, his glow and his eternal message is to make gay freshwater youngsters keep in mind, that there is for quite a long period in their lives a superb lot of new tomorrows, so that they just dont have to throw their hope and vitality away because of some reason. Life is complex, just take your time.

Ilir really took all his chances and had too little time left to understand his mysterious ways to make himself earn the progenies of his courtesy, that's what I am very sure of now.

"I will love you forever, baby! And I really hope that I didn't do you no wrong, at least not too often. With your death a great part of me has also passed, but I took this lesson to reveal me an inspiration of creating something new. I want to cherish and augment your memory, as you gave me a lot of strength and courage here in this life as well you do still give me from there, where you are now! Well then, wear your heels and work that Heaven!"

If you want to give someone, who you knew, or with whom you were living together, some more space to let the world see this person´s special story and eventually your own feelings too, then just don´t hesitate to write CIR an email containing a presentation of the layout of your placement.
CIR will be honored to publish your memento on the site, within the link "rEMemBRAnCE of affection".
Thanx for you attention!
Take care!

You find Further Information:

-->"Safe, Sane and Consensual"
(CIR´s official statement)
-->"A Time With..."
(Thereby you are able to behold the above mentioned last video-interview with Ilir, who is altogether with other connoisseurs talking plain language about the Viennese gay scene!)
(The story of my life on the basis of the onset of my pictures)
-->"Wherever&Whenever Part1"
(4 parts of the audiovisual realisation of the ideational concept of the articles about the Viennese and the wider gay scene.)
-->"The Dead - Les Defunts"
-->"Le S. et le M."
(See the sights and sounds of an eclectic video count-up.)
-->"It´s Y/our Party"
(Yes, it´s truly y/our party!)
(Link for intrigued persons or interested columnist.)
-->"Cintro - frames&faces-MIX"
(CIR is?/ Cinematic statement)

--> "La Sirène"(Available soon for you to take a strange and estival tour through an ancient landscape and a deserted Grand-Hotel.)

My musical dedication for your audience:
"The best of Sylvester - STAR", 1989 Ace Records ltd, Southbound Records, Ltd48-50 Steele Road,
London NW10 7AS

My cinematic dedication: "Torch Song Trilogy", Harvey Fierstein, 1988

(1) Literatur von und über Willi Ninja im Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek
"Schwindelfrei um die Hacken": Nachruf in taz, die tageszeitung (9. September 2006)
Willi Ninja bei Discogs (englisch)
NAME Willi Ninja
ALTERNATIVNAMEN Willie; Leake, William Roscoe (Geburtsname)
KURZBESCHREIBUNG US-amerikanischer Tänzer, Choreograph und Künstler
GEBURTSDATUM 12. April 1961
GEBURTSORT Queens, New York City
STERBEDATUM 2. September 2006

"The House of Infiniti", former known as "The House of Jandel" (NYC and Florida)
And some more house: "The House of Omni" (L.A.)

(3) Just look at what google has to say about "La Vie en Vogue" and "Paris Is Burning"!