After much anticipation, performance project Sins Invalid is now releasing its documentary, entitled simply Sins Invalid. The film showcases its seven years of theatrical accomplishments and personal interviews all frame and lead what Sins Invalid calls disability justice. The 32 minute documentary exemplifies the beauty that Sins creates by putting disability justice in action and being guided by their mission statement of celebrating artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. Viewers of the documentary will hear the voices that make Sins come alive on stage and will see how artists with disabilities collaborate to produce the amazing performances. One theme throughout the film is artists expressing their reactions to other people denying recognition of their full humanity, particularly when it comes to expressing their sexuality. What makes Sins Invalid so beautiful as a production is that it creates a space where artists who are typically marginalized or eroticized are instead controlling the terms of debate, the framing and honoring their experiences, their bodies and their sexuality. By doing so on stage, they create a public space of healing, self-acceptance and erotic empowerment.
People with disabilities are usually portrayed one of two ways in the mainstream media. They are either portrayed as the helpless "invalid" who needs pity, or the "supercrip" hero with a disability who overcomes their body's "imperfections" to accomplish an amazing goal that we can all applaud. Sins Invalid rejects this dichotomy that tries to pigeonholes people with disabilities and offers up a fuller picture of the disability experience to its audience. As the co-founder and director of Sins Invalid, Patty Berne, said in the film, "We saw that our creative works around our bodies and our sexuality had no venue. That there was no place where we can celebrate our bodies as beautiful, and disabled and hot. So we decided to start Sins Invalid, a disability justice performance project on disability and sexuality." Since its inception in 2005 the organization has produced five annual major theater performances plus an artist-in-residence performance that all had critical acclaim. Patty Berne led the artistic direction of the film and was key in the editing room. Through these interviews the film's audience acquires a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a Sins performance. The intersectional lens of disability justice being embodied on stage touched me profoundly in a narrative held together by Patty Berne's accounting of the project.
Through beautiful and thought-provoking performances in the documentary, Sins Invalid , is able to exhibit a wide ride range of experiences, identities and cultures of disabled artists sharing the stage. The documentary gives us a look what some of these artists' insights were in creating stage performances through short in-person interviews spread throughout the documentary. The artists take a risk by overtly discussing their sexuality in a culture where discussing sexuality and disability is taboo or at minimum gets silenced. Their performances make the audience confront their own fears and discomfort with the sexuality of people with disabilities as artists illustrate how it is an integral part of the human experience.
Sins Invalid is set to premier at the Sins Invalid Crip Soiree and Speakeasy event taken place at New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA on October 11 and 12 at seven p.m. You can get tickets at Brown Paper Tickets and you can receive more information about the event on the event's Facebook Page . If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area I encourage you to come this event and witness disability cinema history.