ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS by Visual AIDS: Cheryl Dunye and Ellen Spiro
December 1, 2017 marked the twenty-eighth anniversary of Day With(out) Art, a day of mourning and action in response to the AIDS crisis. A presentation of short film and video works held concurrently at over one hundred art institutions and universities, Day With(out) Art is organized annually by Visual AIDS, the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS awareness and creating dialogue around HIV issues today. This year’s program, ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic and features seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye and Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, and Brontez Purnell. ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS screened at 116 venues worldwide, premiering at the Whitney Museum of American Art on December 1, with additional marquee screenings at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in collaboration with the Studio Museum in Harlem, as well as the MCA Chicago and LA MoCA.
Thirty years after Ellen Spiro made DiAna’s Hair Ego: AIDS Info Up Front, the AIDS crisis is still raging in the deep South of the United States, where the film was originally shot. After reading about the ongoing Southern AIDS crisis, director Cheryl Dunye visited DiAna DiAna and Dr. Bambi Gaddist at the hair salon in Columbia, South Carolina where they first began their innovative safe-sex education work. DiAna’s Hair Ego REMIX is the beginning of a new story and new hope in the face of an ongoing tragedy.