It might be hard to remember, but ER was at one time groundbreaking TV. It seems like most shows nowadays take place in either a law firm or a hospital, complete with silly love triangles and hysterical plot contrivances pulled from the dumbest of news headlines. But back in 1995, ER's main competition was Chicago Hope, and thanks to its thoughtful writing and innovative set and camera techniques, ER won out. One of the most notable early story arcs belongs to Gloria Reuben, who played Jeanie Boulet, a physician's assistant who struggled with being HIV-positive. Since leaving the show, she has toured as a backup singer for Tina Turner (how cool is that?) as well as appearing in a variety of film and television shows, reprising her ER role briefly in 2008. Tonight, as part of the Allan Spear Forum series, she will talk about her most famous role, as well as her work as an HIV/AIDS activist. Working to promote programs that support sexual education and HIV awareness, she was a keynote speaker on Capitol Hill in 2006. Over the years she has also been a supporter for groups like the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and ANSA (Artists for a New South Africa). For more info visit www.mnaidsproject.org or call 612.373.9162.
Tue., July 29, 7 p.m., 2008