Bodyscapes: Drawing What Ails Us: Celebrating Resilience: Post World AIDS Day LGBTQIA Art Opening with Poetry Reading, December 5th, 2018, Blog 4/4

Bodyscapes Healing Arts is CELEBRATING RESILIENCE with San Francisco AIDS Foundation Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network, Wednesday, December 5, at STRUT, 470 Castro Street, third floor, 6-8:30 p.m. Poetry starts promptly at 7 p.m.

Many of the artists were young people when they or their lovers were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. For over twenty-thirty years they have survived. Now, they live to tell younger members of the LGBTQIA+ communities what it is like to live past the AIDS epidemic. These long-term survivors have tremendous resilience and flexibility of mind and body. They are some of the LGBTQIA+ communities’ elders, the caretakers of valuable insights-deep and rich narratives full of subtlety and surprise.

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LGBTQIA+Elders:Celebrating Resilience: SFAF Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network members make art with Bodyscapes Diane, Blog 2/4

Many of the artists were young people when they or their lovers were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. For over twenty — thirty years they have survived. Now, they live to tell younger members of the LGBTQIA+ communities’ what it is like to live past the epidemic, to thrive and to age. These long-term survivors have tremendous resilience and flexibility of mind and body. They are the LGBTQIA+ community’s elders, the caretakers of valuable insights – deep and rich narratives full of subtlety and surprise.

Newton Butler’s eloquently poetic insight, in search of an answer to the physical and symbolic pain of aging, is to call for “…childhood eyes Re-Born!”

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Jesse Crosslin passionately articulates his lifelong quest to continue loving while living with HIV. “I am searching inside myself, deep inside my soul…once filled with the wonderful essence of our love…I’m healing…I’m going to love again”

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Sister Used Carlotta, aka Carlos, identifies his secret of how to be happy after something bad happens. “Rejuvenation, Invigorates, Intoxicates….” leading to a new twist on his concept of self. “This is the new old me, the old new me.”

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San Francisco AIDS Foundation Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network Members create Bodyscapes poems and drawings Blog 1/4

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Over the weekend of October 27 & 28, 2018, sixteen members of the Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network attended a Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshop Experience. They created poetry and colorful pastel drawings to share the many levels of their unique experience as older LGBTQIA+people seeking to assign meaning to living and aging through and after the San Francisco AIDS epidemic.

They are some of the LGBTQIA+ community’s elders— those who lived–who remain. They are the caretakers of valuable insight – deep and rich narratives full of subtlety and surprise – about the condition of the hearts and minds of their generation. They lived their youthful years when being LGBTQIA+ in America was unacceptable. They struggled for self-identity and then the freedom to live that hard-won identity OUT-LOUD. 

Today, they are over 50 years old and contemplating what it feels like to be LGBTQIA+, both HIV positive and negative, in the later stages of their lives here in San Francisco – a city now dominated by a new and younger generation, both in the tech culture and the LGBTQIA+ world. Many feel that too familiar gnaw of loneliness and neglect from a culture that does not see them and wants them to be invisible – again. Continue reading

The Story: The Red & Orange House: 4 Years of art-making at WCRC in Oakland entirely funded by The Lloyd Symington Foundation

The Story: The Red & Orange House: 4 Years of art-making at WCRC in Oakland entirely funded by The Lloyd Symington Foundation

As I write this blogpost, I am bittersweetly aware this is most likely my  final blogpost describing my experiences of making art with members of WCRC.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect upon the life changing events the grant money from  Llyod Symington Foundation ( LSF) has granted me professionally and personally.

Four years ago, The Red & Orange House (ROH) was basically an unknown non-profit organization. No public Bodyscapes Healing Arts Workshops had ever been conducted. No Bodyscapes art catalogs had ever been produced. No Bodyscapes Drawing What Ails Us art exhibitions installed nor any opening night receptions hosted. ROH had only conducted 35 free workshops to my friends and family. Workshops conducted on the dining room table in  my apartment. Continue reading

Bodyscapes: Drawing What Ails Us: 4 year Retrospective Art Album at JanRae Gallery in WCRC until Nov 15th

Bodyscapes: Drawing What Ails Us: 4 year Retrospective Art Album at JanRae Gallery in WCRC until Nov 15th

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Most times, the installation of an exhibit is just a routine part of my job. This year, installing the whole collection of WCRC/Bodyscapes artwork showed me first hand the intense transformative power when that much art hangs on the walls inside an institution. It changed the space into a daily community engagement event place. Continue reading

New Friends from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Tribute Celebration September 8th, 2018

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Enjoying the evening, with Jim Williams and Joey De Larosa Jr. (right) at the SFAF Tribute Celebration. Entering its fifth decade of service to the community, the SFAF oversees many programs for people with HIV/AIDS, including the Elizabeth Taylor 50 Plus Network. I am very revved up, honored and proud to engage and work with members of that group to create Bodyscapes poems and drawing for individual and community healing.

I had the pleasure of attending the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Tribute Celebration on Saturday, September 8, at Pier 27.  I went because it supports the new project I am working on this autumn — Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshops with members of the SFAF’s Elizabeth Taylor Fifty Plus Network. My ticket was a last-minute surprise – for fun, my style master friend, Danny Medina, from CODE Salon hearing where I was going that night shaped my hair into a “Mile-High Style”!

I went alone, not knowing anybody at this glam event.  But I soon made new friends who I talked with about my Bodyscapes Workshops and I was welcomed to sit at a table with Jim and Joey–beautiful people with huge hearts that love and care for their community. Both Jim and I, kindred spirits in many ways, were the first ones out on the dance floor!

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Delighting in the party atmosphere with SFAF board member Michael Kinsley, who I met through new friends, Jim and Joey, on that memorable night. Michael was so receptive to learn about my new Bodyscapes project for SFAF Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network members. He can’t wait to attend our art exhibition later this year.

This glamorous gala honored Billy Porter (Tony-Award-winning actor for Kinky Boots, and star of the FX show POSE).  Billy was presented with the Cleve Jones Award, and his acceptance speech included this quote, which encapsulates so much:  “The more we speak truth to power, the more we tell our stories, the better the world becomes.  We’re not going back.  I’m done being scared.  We survived the AIDS crisis so fuck Trump.” The audience cheered!

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Here I am with the fabulous, Billy Porter, who was honored for his AIDS activism with The Cleve Jones Award.

Below, see Billy strutting his stuff!

Local luminaries at this gala included Mayor London Breed, gay state Senator Scott Wiener, and Cleve Jones, AIDS and LGBT rights activist who conceived the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt

This SFAF Tribute Celebration raised almost $480,000.  I was so pleased to be able to attend this event, and to know that I would be working with men in the Elizabeth Taylor Fifty Plus Network.  We’ll be making art for another exhibit and reception later this year – and we will aim to have a little glamour of our own!