Truthout just published an article I wrote on activism around the ADA yesterday. Their summary:
Disabled are seen as a force to be reckoned with as more file lawsuits and protest for enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which some politicians seek to scrap.
In writing it, I interviewed a dozen or so people working on the issue: activists from ADAPT, a rep from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division who works on ADA enforcement, a lawyer who specializes in ADA law, and more, plus the inimitable [I've always wanted to use that word] Simi Linton. I’ll post an extended interview with Simi here in the next few days.
Hey guys- long time no see. I’m wrapping up my guest blog, Tales From The Crip, over at the super-rad Bitch magazine. It was a great experience and I hope you’ll take a moment to read through those blogs! Now that I’ll have more free time, I can return to working on poor, neglected Lulu. And, I’ll have some help in the process. Toshio + I are stoked to introduce the newest writer in the Where’s Lulu crew- Sean Gray!
Sean is our official East coast crip emissary. That’s right- we’re bi-coastal, bitch! He runs Fan Death Records out of B-More and occasionally gives “controversial” interviews that piss off DC hipsters. We here at Where’s Lulu are big fans of disabled provocateurs so he’ll fit in well. In addition to being a troublemaker/baller, Sean has a fancy degree in sociology, likes slurpees, No Trend, baseball, (I’ll let that slide), Superdrag, Bratmobile and selected manga titles.
Did you guys know that Turner Classic Movies is dedicating Tuesdays in October to exploring depictions of disability in cinema? AND it’s hosted (and curated) by whisky loving vegan Lawrence Carter Long? Well they are. It’s called The Projected Image and it’s a big deal. I wrote about that and one of my all-time faves they are showing, Freaks, over here. Gooble Gobble!
“What made me want to be a sexologist? The desire and gift to talk about sexuality comfortably. There is so much shame and silence around something that is a really beautiful and natural part of life, especially in the disability communities. The disability communities and the world, generally, really needs a sexual revolution—breaking from normativity—between our ears and legs.”
It doesn’t take much to make me cry at movies (just ask Meg Ryan), but a new documentary about the early years of AIDS and the activist group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) brought the waterworks multiple times when I saw it last Friday. Here’s the trailer:
Footage of underground pharmacies and drug testing labs created when the government and pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t do anything.
Activist and journalist Garance Franke-Ruta’s 80s glasses (that’s her in the photo). So good! Also the fact that while others are introduced as “Bond Trader” or “Doctor”, her caption is simply “Teenager”.
The ex-bond trader Peter Staley getting some initially unemotional attendees at the 1990 International AIDS Conference in San Francisco to get up from their seats and shout ACT UP slogans shaming the government’s inaction.
Unfortunately, as my friend Ralowe pointed out, the movie ends leaving audiences thinking, “And now the epidemic is over. We won!” when the defunding of care programs for people with HIV/AIDS is a constant threat and big pharma is powerful and greedy as ever. Not to mention that now the most visible gay activism is centered around stuff like openly serving in the military so’s we can kill Pakistani children with drones. (Somebody’s gotta do it!)
ACT UP is still going in NYC and Philly and meets regularly here in San Francisco. If you were at Folsom Street Fair last weekend, maybe you saw their “condom toss”; I’m not part of the group, but yours truly helped fill up a few condoms with hair conditioner (“cum”), which were offered to passers-by who were given a chance to throw them at cardboard effigies of Mitt Romney, Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, and Stacey Campfield.
HTSAP comes out on de heels of some other HIV/AIDS-related movies worth a watch: We Were Here (mentioned on Where’s Lulu last year), Vito (about ACT UP activist Vito Russo), andUnited in Anger(which also centers around ACT UP in New York).
I wrote about comedian Mike Birbiglia’s new film Sleepwalk With Me for the latest in my Tales of the Crip series for Bitch. I really enjoyed the movie and am a fan of his goofy comedy in general. If you get a chance to see him and/or the movie, go for it. In this piece I wrote about the lack of media representation for people with disabilities and how this was a surprising example of positive disability portrayals. Somebody took issue with MY ISSUE with My Left Foot in the comments, but I think I got my point across when responding. I hope more people chime in so we can have a discourse.
“Within Hollywood now, there’s still a huge dearth of material that not only features disability as a normal, everyday topic, (which of course it is), but does so in a thoughtful, comical manner. Most depictions of disability in cinema continue to fall back on insidious stereotypes of disability as tragedy (The Elephant Man, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane), or someone “overcoming” their impairment to become some supercrip hero (Forrest Gump, My Left Foot). Unlike those movies, Sleepwalk With Me illustrates how Mike’s disability ends up being an asset, not a liability. There is genuine humor with disability, and this particular film is an honest, earnest, and entertaining reflection of that truth.”
It’s been a busy and exciting week for us at Where’s Lulu! We have some interesting things in store for the site in the near future. But for the time being, we gotta take Belinda’s advice and tell you: our lips are sealed. In the meantime, I started a new disability and pop culture blogging series over at the fantastic Bitch magazine. It’s called Tales From The Crip and best believe I’m your cripkeeper.
“Identity is fluid and complicated, much like disability. I proudly call myself as a crip because it makes me feel powerful. It takes a word previously hurled at me, making me feel ashamed, alienated, and unworthy and flips it on its axis. Crip gives me agency. Crip is my culture. Crip is my community filled with badass freaks and outcasts who are classified as abnormal by society and wear that designation as a badge of honor. Because we’re not trying to assimilate into a culture that doesn’t know what to do with us in the first place.” Read the rest here!
Hey y’all! I did a little interview “Ask A Woman In A Wheelchair” over at The Hairpin aka my favorite site. I’m pretty excited about it! I got to answer some great questions such as:
Are your arms RIPPED?
I can assure you that nothing about my body is ripped. I use a powerchair (electric) not a pushchair, so my arms get most of their daily exercise from lifting glasses of vodka sodas to my mouth — the official drink of choice for disabled women everywhere. I move my chair via a joystick, which kinda resembles a nipple on a breastfeeding woman (jealous?). The joystick is loose, though, and keeps falling on the ground so I’ve been fortunate to have an excuse to yell ‘my nipple fell off!’ repeatedly. This has been a fun thing to cry out loudly in public.
It’s Sunday so that means I really should clean the filthy sty that is my house. But I think I’m gonna have a private dance party instead, care of DJ Short.e aka Rynita McGuire. Short.e’s a disabled DJ that learned turntabling using a wooden spoon in her mouth. Now that’s some trill shit. Quoth the dope dj, ”Despite my disability, I’ve lived my entire life like any other hard core chick. I did everything all the other kids did. Sometimes I think I pushed the envelope even further in an effort to prove I was just as tough as or tougher than anyone gave me credit for.” Sounds good to me. Check out her Soundcloud page. Then come over and help me clean my house.
Maybe it’s the PTSD that got unexpectedly and annoyingly triggered from a routine doctor visit earlier this week talking (more on that later, holla!), but this series, “Dissections” by Ohio artist Angela Christine Smith is really speaking to me. Gorgeous and captivating.