“Spectacular Damage” at Gulf Coast Archive puts human face on AIDS crisis

"Joe" - one of the paintings from "Spectacular Damage"

The nude models for Jack Dorlan’s Spectacular Damage show are not people one typically wishes to see naked, and that’s the point. The models, all men living with HIV, carry the lumps and scars of the virus and its treatments with dignity, defiance and a quiet longing that leaps from the canvas.

Painting in a style immediately reminiscent of the late Lucian Freud, Dorlan’s brutally honest brush makes no attempt to beautify the reality of his subject’s lives. As a result the very real, and “spectacular,” beauty of these damaged bodies shines through.

“These paintings examine the contemporary human body as it is affected by HIV treatment,” explains Doran. “Due to the effects of HIV and the medications required to manage the virus, the human body has taken on new characteristics that alter the human form in a way that has never before been seen in the history of mankind. As HIV research and treatments improve, these characteristics will cease to be a common trait among those living with HIV. These bodies are temporary.”

Spectacular Damage is presented by the Gulf Coast Archives and Museum at the GLBT Cultural Center (401 Branard) Sunday, January 8, from 3-5 pm. Admissions is free. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the sale of prints of the collection’s paintings goes to assist the models in paying for HIV treatments and medications.

—  admin

We Were Here, AIDS documentary at 14 Pews

We Were HereWe Were Here, the award winning documentary of the early days of the AIDS crisis, premiers at 14 Pews theater (800 Aurora) Saturday, November 20, at 4:30 pm. The film, from director David Weissman, will be proceeded by a panel discussion on the state of the AIDS crisis today.

I came out in 1998, right at the tail end of the worst days of the AIDS crisis. I remember, with vivid clarity, the days of the walking wounded: when every other gay man I met would tell how their doctor said they should have died five years ago, when the community told time by recalling if an event took place before or after a certain person’s funeral.

Fortunately those days are largely behind us, but as new HIV infections continue to rise and we struggle to maintain funding for medications that are keeping people alive (at a cost of thousands of dollars a month), it’s important that we never forget the early days of the pandemic. For people of my generation and younger the mysterious “Gay Plague” that threatened our community in the early eighties can seem more like a fairy tale monster than the horrifying crisis it was, and is.

We Were Here tells the real life stories of five people who survived. Their mundane and profound recollections highlight, not only their personal experiences, but the broad political and social upheavals unleashed by the crisis. From their different vantage points as caregivers, activists, researchers, as friends and lovers of the afflicted, and as people with AIDS themselves, the interviewees share stories which are not only intensely personal, but which also illuminate the much larger themes of that era: the political and sexual complexities, and the terrible emotional toll. The film highlights the role of women – particularly lesbians – in caring for and fighting for their gay brothers.

Tickets for We Were Here are $10 and can be purchased at 14pews.org.

After the jump watch the trailer for We Were Here.

—  admin

Gay-owned Ranch Hand Rescue continues saving farm animals through brutally cold weather

Starlight

Ranch Hand Rescue is a sanctuary for abused and neglected farm animals. They have been removed from their current situation by a county humane officer, sheriff or law enforcement official.

In December, we wrote about a fundraiser for the organization to help owner Bob Williams feed and give the animals the medical care they need. Their goal was $10,000 and they raised more than $15,000.

“The place was packed,” Williams said.

This past week was a particularly difficult one for them because of the cold weather.

“Our animals still need their medications and feeding,” Williams said.

Frozen pipes and additional staff increased costs.

—  David Taffet

AIN hits $10,000 fundraising goal, gets matching grant from Moody Foundation

Steven Pace

Back on Monday, Nov. 9, I posted this item here on Instant Tea pointing out that AIDS Interfaith Network had one week left to raise a total of $10,000 in order to get a grant from The Moody Foundation that would match the donations, dollar for dollar.

Well, you guys came through. AIN hit its goal and earned the matching grant!

This comes from Steve Pace, AIN’s executive director:

“To give you an idea of what that means to the clients we serve, $10,000 can provide: 400 DART bus passes so clients with HIV/AIDS can access medical services necessary to maintaining their health; or more than 1,650 nutritious, sustaining meals for our most vulnerable clients.”

Let me tell you, AIN — and all our AIDS service organizations — really know how to make every penny count. And thank goodness, otherwise there would be a lot of people going without food, without housing, without clothing, without their medications and without proper medical care.

But even though AIN hit its $10,000 goal, Pace points out, “We’re not claiming victory yet. Did you know there are still people right here in Dallas who are homeless, starving and living with HIV/AIDS? We typically see more people in need of food and assistance during the winter, so your continued support is crucial.”

So as we head into the holiday season, take a minute to stop and count your blessings. I bet you will find out you are more blessed than you realize. And then, share those blessings with people in need. Donate to AIDS Interfaith or one of our other outstanding AIDS service agencies, or to some other charitable cause. It will add more to your life than you can imagine. Just like Jesus said, “As you give, so shall you receive.”

—  admin