ER Doc Talks AIDS Awareness
by Ruby Comer
My locks need to be trimmed so I swing to my neighborhood salon, Shorty’s Barber Shop, because the first Wednesday of each month they donate their day’s salary to one of my favorite AIDS organizations, LA Shanti. As my hair is foiled in bleach and baked under the dryer, I feel this tap on my shoulder. It’s Erik Palladino, the actor who plays Dr. Dave Malucci on the super hit TV series, ER.
This handsome devil came into my line of sight when he was a vee-jay on MTV. Since then, his puss has graced the small screen on such shows as Murphy Brown, DiResta, Party of Five, and the features Can’t Hardly Wait and U-571. For years Erik maintained long hair (“down to my nipples!”) and sang in the alternative rock band No Happy Faces along with his brother. Today however, he is getting a 70s shag cut. We chew the fat at the blow dryers.
Didn’t I read that you recently attended an AIDS benefit?
Yes. I’ve gone to many charity events – not just AIDS ones.
And I think I read that you’ve lost someone from AIDS?
Michael Jamison, my acting coach in college, died in ’89. I was very close to him.
What are your thoughts on death?
I have a strong faith that there is a God and an afterlife. I truly believe that when people die they go to a place that is better than here. When death comes, it is a beautiful thing.
Nice thought, Erik.
(He glances off) Having a belief system in a higher power is important. YOU are a higher power but a belief in something a little bigger than self.
Do you use condoms?
I’ve lived with the same girl for a year and a half so….
Can I mention her name?
Sure. Her name is Sarah Jane Potts. She played Molly on TV’s Felicity.
So do you still use condoms in a relationship?
We try to – but sometimes we don’t. We both have had AIDS test, and get tested regularly.
Do you think there should be condom distribution in schools?
Yeah, why not? Teens are going to have sex anyway, so let’s try to protect them. Education is so important.
That’s a mouthful you just said. Yes, education.
AIDS needs to be discussed. And it seems like we’ve fallen into a little bit of a lull. The AIDS epidemic still needs to be on the front burner. And it seems like the numbers are getting higher. Are they?
Sadly they are, Erik. The myth now that we have cocktails is that AIDS is over.
The sooner that we get AIDS back out there – like discussions on shows Politically Incorrect and Nightline – the more attention will be brought to it. And the more attention that is brought to it, the more educated people will be.
Nicely put. Now, Erik, I read where you like being naked. Are you a nudist, an exhibitionist or both?
A pu pu platter of both.
Oh, I see. And where can I catch you in the buff?
I like being nude in my backyard in the pool.
I wish I was your neighbor!
Come on over for a dip.
You name the night. Can I bring anything?
Just your smile, Ruby.
Copyright © 2001 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 23, 2001.