Thursday, May 29, 2008

Enduring ACT UP: Watching the ACT UP Oral History Project

Talk about a sit-in!

Deb Levine went back to school 4 years ago to get her PhD in Performance Studies. Now for her dissertation she is writing on ACT UP specifically focusing on how people took care of each other back in day of demonstrations and devastation. Levine's main focus is on "the ways in which those relationships became an ethical and political practice -- a topic that is not often foregrounded in other histories of the organization."

As part of her research Levine is watching the entire Act Up Oral History Project from start to finish which will take 10hours every day for 17 days. The kick-off begins on Friday May 30th and goes through Sunday June 15th. The screenings begin at 10AM every morning and will end around 10PM every evening. Visit Levine's blogsite for details or peep the info below.

I will definitely be stopping by for many of these interviews. I strongly recommend stopping by and watching the interviews with Deb and whomever else might be sitting-in with her. If you're a young person or someone interested in who and what this whole ACT UP thing is, I urge you to attend some screenings.

Complete Schedule of interviews and screenings here on Deb's Blog.
Official ACT UP Oral History Website

Details are below including a letter from Deb Levine:

As part of my research I have been watching the interviews recorded by the ACT
UP Oral History Project. Sarah Schulman and Jim Hubbard have most generously
made the archive accessible to me for the past few years, but every time I watch
a tape, I have an overpowering urge to turn to someone next to me and debate
many of the points made, add information to the story or just get someone else's
reaction. It feels wrong to watch this archive by myself and then try and get
in touch with some of you to discuss your interviews.

Please watch this archive with me. I will begin on May 30, 2008 at 10 am, and
watch each interview, in order, everyday, for approximately 12 hours each day,
until I have seen everyone recorded to date. Stay as long as you'd like. See
yourself, watch someone else, come alone or bring as many people as you desire.
Invite others, invite strangers. Forward this invitation to anyone you think
would like to attend (especially people who are ACT UP-curious) and post it on
the internet. Come often. Keep me company. Bring food and drink. Bring
anything you have in your archives that you think I should see or read (don't
leave originals with me – but I will take a copy of anything you think is
important). I want to hear your comments– this is a chance to respond to the
archive. I will have a computer available so you can jot down your thoughts on a
blog set up for these screenings.

Each day's series of screenings will begin at 10am and end around 10 pm for
seventeen days, from May 30th to June 15th in Manhattan at NYU, 721 Broadway,
6th floor in the Performance Studies department. You can check the Enduring ACT
UP blog: for the approximate time and day of a
particular interview. Plan to attend specific interviews about or just come and
randomly watch with me if you have some free time. Everyone is welcome. To get
to the 6th floor, enter the building in the lobby and show the guard a picture
identification. If you have any questions, please contact me at
debra.levine@nyu.ed. I look forward to watching with you.


Deb Levine


Ryan Charisma said...

This could be very interesting.

I remember the 'good old days' when I was a member of Queer Nation. Where are they now?

RG said...

It seems like such a long time and a lifetime ago that I was radical during the early days of the plague. Most of my co-conspirators are no longer around.

I don't think I ever went to Washington DC during the 80's without getting arrested. And although, during those days, there wasn't any viable treatment, I think we all felt like we were at least "Doing Something".

I credit ACT UP for keeping me alive.

david said...

wow. thanks for posting this--going to the actup oral history site was more overwhelming than i was ready for--the pictures and words of friends and heroes caught in time. i learned more about bravery and love and anger and action watching and working with some of these amazing, amazing people than could be learnt in a regular lifetime. An opportunity to watch and listen to ann northrup, or bill dobbs, or jim wagner, patrick moore,..NOT TO BE MISSED. it doesn't get smarter, or more inspiring or enraging. thanks again for drawing attention to this incredible event.