Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Activist documentarian Catherine Saalfield made this profile of gay performance artist Ron Athey, a former heroin addict with HIV. His parents planned for him to become a Pentecostal minister, but Athey reacted by running away from home at age 15 to do a decade of drugs. In 1990, he danced at L.A.'s Club F*ck, site of performances by the late self-mutilation artist Bob Flanagan (of Kirby Dick's 1997 documentary Sick: the Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist). Athey wore a metal crown of thorns when he appeared in an AIDS-themed Saint Sebastian tableau titled "Martyrs and Saints," followed by a bloody show at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) which led to 1995 cuts in the National Endowment for the Arts budget. This film features excerpts from Athey's stage shows, plus articulate interviews as Athey and associates examine relevant issues -- death, drugs, disease, gay identity, emotional scars, religion, and the loss of friends to AIDS. With a blow-up from video to 35 mm, this film was shown at the 1998 Rotterdam Film Festival.
drugs, heroin, HIV, interview, life-story, performance-art, religion, runaway [from home], sexual-identity