(AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) An activist group famous for its direct action against bureaucratic inaction and drug company profiteering in the AIDS crisis and widely acknowledged as re-energizing civil disobedience tactics in the United States. ACT UP New York consisted most of the founding activists. Its extensions reach internationally including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Paris, Frankfurt and Athens.

Black Hills

An isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota. Covered with ponderosa pine, this region is considered sacred by many of Native Americans and it is also the home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Several major motion pictures were filmed there including North by Northwest, How the West Was Won, A Man Called Horse and Dances with Wolves. The Black Hills is now featured in Books of James!


Population 18,500 (2000 census). James's South Dakota hometown. Racial makeup of the city is 95.49% White. Situated close to the Minnesota border, Brookings is 175 miles from state capital Pierre (pronounced "peer"), 53 miles from Sioux Falls (the largest city), and 74 miles from the famous attraction Corn Palace (Mitchell SD).


(Damned Interfering Video Activist Television) Founded in 1989 as a video-documenting affinity group with ACT UP New York. DIVA TV documents public testimony, the media, and community activism in the FIGHT AGAINST AIDS. The original founding group was active for about a year. It was later revived in 1991 by James and fellow activists with the weekly telecast program AIDS Community Television.

Fat Cat

(Female black cat) James's basement companion for more than 10 years. James describes her as "... an one person's cat. The minute guests arrived she would disappear." She was all over on the pages of James's book and his art. James's new friend is Opie, a Siamese.

Films on AIDS

In his book for inspired documentarists, writer Barry Hampe cautions: "AIDS awareness ... (has) already been done, done to death." Films on AIDS had been a sensitive and sensational subject from the late 1980s to mid 1990s. From Early Frost to Philadelphia, filmmakers once attempted to raise awareness while breaking new grounds. “Now it’s back to the early days with AIDS,” Village Voice gossip scribe Michael Musto declares. “The population that was around back then doesn’t want to remember it. The new crowd doesn’t want to know about it at all. So it’s an uphill struggle."

Good Teeth

(A self-mockery from James) A feature considered to be an asset in the 1970s bar scenes as described in Books of James.  Probably equivalent to the six-pac abs of today.

I Ching

Also known as "Book of Changes" it is the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. It describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy, centering on the ideas of the balance of opposites. Readings are made by the tossing of 3 coins based on 64 hexagrams. James relied on it in his search for directions in the 1980s and the process was diligently recorded throughout his journal entries.

The hexagram James has drawn most frequently:

"No.56: Lui - Sojourning - the  Wanderer."


Considered (half-jokingly) by James as the "coolest" product ever covered by AIDS Drug Assistance Program in the US. Besides, it is also the only FDA-approved cannabinoid (with similar effects as marijuana). Marinol is prescribed as an appetite stimulant, primarily for AIDS and chemotherapy patients.

Rudy Guiliani

Served as the Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. Despite being attributed for his "strong leadership" in the wake of the September 11 attacks, Guiliani was heavily criticized by activists as arrogant, completely lack of empathy and neglecting all the LGBT and AIDS concerns during his run for the City Hall and subsequent years as mayor in a city that was the epicenter of the AIDS crisis in America. (Many protests against Guiliani and the City Hall are documented in Books of James.)