SHOW ME YOUR LIFE

Video Art

Show Me Your Life is an international online art program, peer-mentored by residents of Smash Street. Male adolescents with HIV/AIDS also at risk for psychological, neurological, and developmental disabilities due to sexual abuse, gang violence, addiction, human trafficking, and cyclical prostitution. The boys are reached and educated through painting, music, photography, video, film, dance, poetry, mentoring, and intensive counseling. Students are provided with a camera and work through Show Me Your Life to acquire art and video skills. In doing so, they are also examining the dynamics of their lives and how art becomes a sharing, too. A bearing witness. At-risk does not mean we will remain invisible. We were here.


à risque: lumière et movement by Pascal

Pascal is a sixteen year old patient suffering from HIV and schizophrenia at the Maison Blanche Hospital in Paris where he has assembled for Show Me Your Life — à risque: lumière et movement. A collage of sound, motion, dance, and metaphor that explores the perceptions he has of the world around him.

Les Enfants Fous. Psychiatriques Lip-synch by Chevaux Mash    



My Life by Kip

Kip lives in a nursing home. He wishes he wasn’t here. his life sucks. I hate that nursing home as much as Kip does. I will tell you why. It’s the smell of human shit. The minute you walk into those double doors into the building, it’s the smell of human shit that will knock you on your ass. I do not know how the people who work there can work there. The first time I went into the building, I had to make a quick pit stop into the rest room to vomit. After that, I always went with an empty stomach. The rotting stench cannot be described. I am an atheist. Now, I am really an atheist. 

Kip’s first email to me read: I found you on the Internet. I am writing this with a pencil in my mouth. I arrived with technology. The kind of technology that would facilitate Kip and I to make video art together. The technology is irrelevant. This was about a boy and a man. Both of them clinging to whatever dignity they might have. We think about these warehouses we put people in as being for the elderly. We are wrong about a lot of things. We are a theatrical dance around a midnight fire signifying nothing. You suck, Kip wrote. I know that. “It’s my film.” I know that, too. 

Bikes by Anthony

I need some one to listen to me. No one does. You said show me your life. But I do not have no life. What I have is a disease. I never have no life. I never had one. Now I am tired of it. It is not a life to be on all these pills. I am tired of the pills. I am tired of the doctors. They are mean. They do not listen to me because I am a kid. I am tired of my mother. It is her fault she married him. It is not my fault I have HIV. All I have left is to ride my bike. That is my life is to ride my bike to fall off the world. I do not want to be here no more. Tim you know I mean it. I want her to let me go. Let me die. I have had enough. 


My Life by La Toya

I was raped now I have HIV. My mom does not let me go outside our apartment anymore. I am like a prisoner. I go to school but the other kids know and they will not be friends with me. I am making images and music on the computer. It is art. I put the ocean in this one. I made it red like blood. I have bad blood in me. I have never seen the ocean. I would like to see it some day.

No Voices in the Dance by Minnow

Minnow has been dancing in the dance company he dances with. He does not hear the voices when he is dancing. The music tends to drown the voices out as well. This year, I’m thinking maybe we can totally eliminate the voices Minnow hears. We’ve already managed to kick most of them out of his head. How. No medication. A lot of: Dance. Choreography. Music. Video. Movement. And taking responsibility for accomplishing these things. One thing at a time. This year, I’m thinking we could go for broke. As I watch him dance, I can feel his heartbeat.

Fire on the Lake by Scrunchy

I do not like the word: disability. When I hear that word, I grit my teeth.

When I was a traditional teacher, I would use the term: differently-abled.

But differently-abled sounds like Suzy Special Education, and now, I don’t like it. No one says differently-abled.

WHAT do we call it.

I put this task, this challenge to my friends. Many of whom are teacher or writers.

They stare at me. Duhh.

No one knows what term to invent.

No one one knows what to do with these kids, either. “Oh, yes, we do,” my friends proclaim (from mountaintops). And then they launch into all the current modalities.

Oh, shut up. When the challenged go into the community, IT’S A CHALLENGE. Period.

Because the community has a problem.

Anyone different is suspect.

Mankind will always have a village mentality.

I have Sicilian friends who still argue about whose village in Sicily uses an out-house, and whose has toilets, and running water.

Village mentality is going to fucking kill us all someday. I mean that.

What Sicilian village got electricity FIRST. Please. Who cares.

In my book, it’s the community with the problem, not the kid.

But way too often the community that becomes the community of the child is the special education community. It can be a life sentence.

And they have their own set of special education fantasies.

Then, there is the parent community. They do not like me AT ALL. They do not like being challenged with the idea that not enough is done to integrate these PEOPLE into the REAL community. I have said that, often, many parents act as though they will live (and protect) forever.

It ain’t reality. We DIE.

Then, who protects. If we put the amount of energy into integration that we put into protection, we might gain a solitary inch. But no.

At Nova University, I used to toilet train three-year-old children with Autism. Everyone thought I was nuts. My classroom was a bathroom. The real question is: how do you take someone who is an adult in a diaper into Macy’s to try on clothes. You don’t. Someone buys their clothes. It’s a snake eating its tail. HOW do they learn to go into the community. It helps enormously if they can use a bathroom.

There ARE no easy answers. The professional special education community rejects this out of hand and they would like me to go away. So would the parents.

Most kids like me. Weird.

WEIRD is the word.

I’m WIERD.

Why can’t some of us just say we are weird and wear it proudly.

I’m weird. Eat me.

Weirdos unite.

That’s the problem. We can’t. We’re too weird.

I had an opportunity recently to spend some time with Scrunchy. “I have Tourette’s,” he signed.

“You do not have Tourette’s,” I said. “You’re just scrunched up.”

He scrunches in upon himself. Like he might disappear. But no. He’s still there. Just scrunched.

Sometimes Scrunchy signs. But it’s rare.

Mainly, there is simply NO communication whatsoever.

Some people think he’s deaf and they yell at him. HOW ARE YOU!

Scrunchy will run from them.

There is nothing wrong with him physically outside of the HIV. How DO we deal with the disabled who have HIV.

The mainstream community has no fucking idea. It is utterly lost here. The mainstream community had no idea he had HIV. I saw a rash. I said: this kid has syphilis. The “experts” said: no way.

But I was right. He had syphilis and HIV.

But if I say the words public toilets, he looks at his feet. He knows.

I deplore how we treat people with HIV. But to be DISABLED with HIV is a real bitch.

It took me a long time to find out what Scrunchy CAN do.

He makes videos. He plays music. Sometimes he does the same song over and over for a few years.

But he has a voice. You just have to be patient.

He went on YouTube with his videos.

I do not even know how to describe the reaction it was so hateful. The comments made me literally weep.

I am a grown man. Weeping is not what we do.

Scrunchy has no idea how to deal with his sexuality. Either did I. We have a LOT in common.

Sometimes Scrunchy thinks he is the devil. You are thinking: he doesn’t really think he is the devil.

Yes, he does. Or a demon. Demons want to kill themselves. You didn’t know that. Well, now you do. Exorcism is so yesterday.

But Scrunchy mainly just withdraws. Really, seriously withdraws.

I got mad. At the world.

It was the only response I could think of.

There is the MAD Tim in there somewhere. I try not to let him out. Especially in public.

Scrunchy hides behind the self-diagnosis of Tourette’s. He does not have Tourette’s. Good try though.

What Scrunchy has is HIV and scrunch. No cure either way. The syphilis, we could cure.

From time to time I will let him post on le-too. I do not know that it is any real protection. The haters want his ass.

There is a gay writer on the Internet who hides behind a pseudonym who claims to know me (he’s lying, I do not know him) who also stalks Scrunchy (or anyone associated with me). He often calls Scrunchy a fucking AIDS faggot which makes Scrunchy scrunch harder than he normally scrunches. I have often thought that this is a very strange way to attack someone when you are gay yourself.

Bullying does not happen just in schools. The IT GETS BETTER program is just plain wrong. Sometimes it gets worse. Seriously worse.

The last time Scrunchy tried to kill himself was in the lake. I love that lake. But you’ve got to watch that boy 24/7. It ain’t easy.

The next time this gay writer attacks Scrunchy, I am contacting the IT GETS BETTER people, and I am going to make major fucking noise. Watch me.

I am not sure if Scrunchy understands (I have not explained it nor will I) that I disable comments. Much of the world is a mystery to this boy. My lawyers want me to go through all the motions of limiting the bullying before we go to court so we can say: we tried everything.

This gay writer now publishes pictures of my family and puts them on the Internet. He pushes it right up to discovery.

One more inch.

YouTube is trying to police the bullying. I will not have much to do with YouTube. Too little, too late.

The stalker has the same problem as Scrunchy. The same song over and over and over.

With Tourette’s, there IS verbal communication. With Scrunchy, there’s mainly the videos he constructs and music.

The villagers would dash Scrunchy upon the rocks. This mentality just sucks. In fact, I would call the community psychotic. Scrunchy is crazy but he only wants to hurt himself.

I may let him into Show Me Your Life. First, he has to try to stop killing Scrunchy. I keep hoping we can get past the echolalia of it all.

He calls this video Fire on the Lake.

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