Expression=Life Act Up, Video, and the AIDS Crisis

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Mark Read

Expression = Life

ACT UP, Video, and the AIDS Crisis

ProductionYear: 2008
Runtime: 3:00:00
Producers: Mark Read
Series: DIY Media: Movement Perspectives on Critical Moments
Locale: : New York City
Subject: Media StudiesSexuality StudiesSocial Movement StudiesUrban StudiesAIDSHuman RightsQueerHealth CareGender StudiesGay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender
Catalogue Number: 03319
Expression = Life: ACT UP, Video and the AIDS Crisis gathers four programs from the Deep Dish archive that were made during the peak years of activity for ACT UP NYC, and, in addition, offers a one hour compilation of selects from these and other, additional programs. A panel discussion about this work was videotaped at New York University in April, 2008. An edited version of this discussion is also included on this compelling, and historic collection. 

On this DVD: 
Transformer AIDS (28 min): Bob Kinney and Paper Tiger TV perform a critical "reading" of Ronald Reagan's infamous 1987 speech to the American Pharmaceutical Industry, in which he finally acknowledged the AIDS crisis, six years into the epidemic. 
Angry Initiatives, Defiant Strategies (58 min): John Greyson produced this survey of the American gay community's response to the AIDS crisis, limned through the work of more than twenty artists and activists. 
Be A DIVA/Like a Prayer (28 min): Designed as a rebuke and corrective to the mainstream media's distortion of the AIDS crisis, Be a DIVA is the first production of DIVA TV, an ACT UP affinity group composed primarily of lesbian filmmakers, including Ellen Spiro, Catherine Gund, and Jean Carlomusto. Like a Prayer documents the landmark 1989 "Stop the Church" demonstration at St. Patrick's Cathedral, spearheaded by ACT UP and WHAM! (Women's Health Action and Mobilization.) 
Target: City Hall (28 min): DIVA-TV's coverage of one of ACT UP's most potent street protests in New York City. 
Expression = Life Screener (58 min): A one-hour compilation of clips from these four programs, as well as material from Book of James, (Produced and Edited by Ho Tam, with footage from James Wentzy). 
Expression = Life Panel Discussion (90 min): Panelists and audience- which included many original ACT UP members- examine the roots of ACT UP, the state of AIDS activism in the present day, and the role of media- both mainstream and movement-generated- in the successes and frustrations of social movements.

The Panelists 
Jean Carlomusto, award-winning filmmaker and video artist who co-curated the interactive AIDS archive project AIDS: A Living Archive, for the Museum of the City of New York. She currently teaches filmmaking at Long Island University. 
James Wentzy has been prolific over the last 17 years documenting AIDS activism and the communities responses to AIDS with over 700 hours of camera-original videotapes and over 160 edited programs for telecasts and screenings. 
Jay Blotcher served as media coordinator for the founding chapters of ACT UP and Queer Nation and was co-founder of Public Impact Media Consultants, which provided guerilla publicity for leading progressive, grass-roots organizations. 
Ben Shepard is professor of Sociology at the City University of New York, and the co-editor of From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization. 
Stephen Duncombe is professor of Media Studies at New York University, the editor of Cultural Resistance Reader and Dream: Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy.