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The ‘My Fabulous Disease’ Holiday Spectacular!

My mother’s home here in Shreveport, Louisiana, was fraught with excitement last week. Christmas decorations littered the living room, the almond scent of cookies filled the air, and last minute phone calls and arrangements made it all feel like a major production was underway.

And there was. The event that had everyone scrambling was held on a Sunday afternoon, when siblings and extended family arrived for the taping of The ‘My Fabulous Disease’ Holiday Spectacular.

Now just take that in for a moment. My family was enthusiastically participating in a video about my life with HIV. And they were much more concerned with choosing a fun holiday outfit than being publicly associated with their HIV positive relative. For them, sitting down for an interview about my HIV status, well, that was the easy part. They had no problem being candid about my HIV, as you will see.

I am an extremely blessed and fortunate man.

King Family CarWhen I was young, I remember watching “The King Family” on television (right), a big happy bunch that sang really well and wore lots of matching outfits. I was starstruck, and always wondered if that King family might bear some relation to mine. And if they didn’t, would they let me come be on their show anyway?

Well, today, I’m proud of my own family for displaying our dubious talents, and by going a big step further by discussing the importance of supporting those of us living with HIV/AIDS. For far too many, the difficulty in disclosing our status — or the result of doing so — has distanced them from the people they need most during times of challenge.

SantaMarkSmallThe Holiday Spectacular includes some family greetings, a cooking segment with Mom (you’ll want that divine almond scent wafting through your home, too), some holiday drag, a surprise here and there, and even an appearance by the big man himself, Santa Claus.

You may remember my mother from “What it Feels Like for a Mom,” a bracingly honest video created for Mother’s Day. You might also remember my gay brother Dick, who made an It Gets Better video with me. He was also one of the main subjects of the award winning “Once, When We Were Heroes” posting I made for World AIDS Day several years ago. But today, you’re also going to meet sisters, nieces and in-laws who have special holiday greetings just for you.

Enjoy the holiday special, my friends. I hope you’ll share it with anyone that could use some holiday cheer, or needs a reminder that they are loved. And as always, please be well.


p.s. As promised in the video, here is the recipe for Mom’s Christmas Cookies. I’m certain they’re fantastic for your t-cells.


(Note: Mother uses a MIRRO Food Press, a device that must have been manufactured during the Eisenhower era, judging from the faded instruction manual she still keeps handy. I found one on E-Bay for you for less than four bucks, or you can use a more modern appliance, if you must. I don’t guarantee the cookies will taste the same!)

Time: 10-12 minutes… Temp: 375F… Yield: 7 dozen

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 tspn salt
1/4 tspn baking soda
1 tspn almond extract
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
Green food coloring

1. Cream shortening, adding sugar gradually
2. Add unbeaten egg, dry ingredients, flavoring, and a few drops of food coloring. Mix well.
3. Fill the cookie press and form cookies on ungreased sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and bake.
4. Frost and sprinkle something fabulous on top of them (this is Mom’s provocative departure from the original recipe. That’s just how she rolls.).





  1. Don December 13, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I loves your mother!

  2. Scott Mickley December 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

    It’s comes as no surprise that you have an absolutely fabulous family! Best wishes to all of you Kings for a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and absolutely fabulous new year!

  3. Jaclyn December 13, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Mark you look fantastic!!!! Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    Be well and know so many of us love and support you xoxo

  4. Janice urbsaitis December 13, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Dear Mark,

    I love your Christmas special–enough to wish I were a member of your family. As the proud mother of a gay son, I’d love to party with my relatives like you have here. Merry Christmas all and to all a good night!

  5. Cathe Hall Payne December 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Mark I always love your stories and this one is especially wonderful. I don’t always write a reply because how can anyone top the things that you have to say. I just want you to know I am so proud of you and I amso happy that you have such an outstanding family. I am going to try and make your Mom’s cookies. My Aunt Mary use to make those. I love them! Please let me know when you make your way to Atlanta.! Merry Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  6. subversive librarian December 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Oh, Mark. It’s lovely and touching and profound.

  7. David King December 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Great job, awesome video. I wish I was there!

    David King

  8. Robert Darrow December 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Much better than “The King Family,” on TV–for sure!
    Happy Ho! Ho! to a wonderful family.

  9. Barbara Hayden December 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Oh Mark, I loved the video. So great to see the family. I remember all to well the wonderful times with this great family. I have enjoyed your blog so much. You are such an inspiration to so many. Much love to you and Merry Christmas!!! Give a big kiss to Mom. Barb

  10. Brad December 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you to you and your family for putting that together it was “Fabulous”. I really appreciated you sharing your family with me. You have a wonderful family you really are very lucky. Stay well Mark

  11. Nancy L. December 13, 2011 at 10:11 pm


  12. Brian Merrill December 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Hey Mark, Thanks for another wonderful video! Keep up the good fight. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Blessing to you. Brian

  13. Ann-Marie December 14, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Finally…..An Emmy-worthy Christmas Special. I guess you & Gaga will have to battle it out this year. But, your cooking session was much easier to follow for those of us who are baking-impaired. What a joy [and a hoot] to see Casey, Elaine, Mama King, et all. I hardly recognized Linda. Your rellies are still as I remember them – feisty and fun! How I wish I could come over and play Charades again with all of you!
    Oh, and by the way, you are still MY favorite red head, y’know! [OOPS! Buzzzzzzzzzzz]
    Wishing you and the King family everything wonderful.

  14. Nancy O. December 14, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Thanks so much Mark! A wonderful Video! Blessings to you and your family this holiday season!

  15. R. J. December 15, 2011 at 3:34 am

    another awesome add to the Mark King Collection.
    When my own sister called me two days ago wishing me a “Happy birthday” she asked if I was doing some thing special (I knew from being both her brother & living with her for a year)she meant baking so I said “yes, I have a roll of cookie dough in the ‘fridge’ She shuddered and gave me HER secret for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

    My present to her (I’m flying back to Chicago for “the holidays”) will be Debby Chocolate Chip cookies. Its all about family & doing what we know & love

  16. Phil December 15, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Mark I just wanted to thank you once again for the wonderful and inspiring work your doing with your website. This brought tears to my eyes, as I lost my Mom just before Thanksgiving two years ago.
    Like your Mom, she was my biggest fan. Your writings give me strength, and much hope.. I am so glad I found you..

    God Bless and may you and yours have many, many more Merry Christmas’s

  17. John Rondinello December 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Mark it’s great to see you and what a great family you have ! Wish you all the best and have a great holiday!! Ft. Lauderdale misses you !!

  18. Sue December 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    A very very lucky man.

  19. penni December 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    is your family interested in adopting????

  20. Tari December 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I saved this video to watch on Christmas! What a delightful family you have. Merry Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy New Year!!!

  21. Jan Karl December 27, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Yes, Mark, You are blessed to have such a loving healthy family!

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