The NAMES project began in San Francisco in 1987, to commemorate victims of the AIDS virus, largely homosexuals, junkies or hemophiliacs stigmatized and ignored by 1980s mainstream America and the media. Emblems of the dead were woven into an ever-growing network of quilts, lending human
faces to dry casualty statistics. This moving documentary, quite properly, less concerns the creation of the world's most famous quilt than the people it memorializes.
Five singled out in detail are Dr. Tom Waddell, ranked sixth in the Olympics Decathalon in 1968, who founded the Gay Games in San Francisco as a reaction against limp-wristed "queer" stereotypes. His doomed battle...