DIVA TV  (Damned Interfering Video Activists)            www.actupny.org/divatv        see also vimeo.com/wentzy 


updated media coming soon(er or later)

in the mean time -- these mean times -- see my vimeo page with these and other videos :


images and videos can be utilized freely for non-commercial use
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International    

   ACT UP video documentary (2002)
Fight Back, Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP   < link to transcripts, screenings and reviews

In March 1987, the first AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) event took place on Wall Street. In the 15 years since the protest that shut down the world's financial center, ACT UP has been at the forefront of public awareness. Their demonstrations, die-ins, political funerals, marches, and speeches were key in propelling issues related to HIV/AIDS into major political and international topics. ACT UP member and AIDS video activist James Wentzy has constructed a vivid compilation documentary with Fight Back, Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP. The powerful clips depict the multiple bold events that ACT UP has staged, including: the inspiring First ACT UP action on Wall Street protesting the profiteering of the pharmaceutical companies that made AIDS-related drugs; National Nine Days of Rage, in which more than 50 ACT UP chapters congregated on the New York state capital to protest AIDS policies (or the lack thereof) involving IV drug use, homophobia, people of color, women, prison programs, and children with AIDS; and intense coverage of political funerals of ACT UP and affinity group The Marys, which included carrying an open coffin from Washington Square to the New York Republican Party headquarters on West 43rd Street, as well as an open casket political funeral in front of the White House. With fierce images and speeches, including many poignant ones by film historian and ACT UP pioneer Vito Russo, Fight Back, Fight AIDS is a dynamic alternative historical record of the queer political landscape, HIV/AIDS, and AIDS activist video. | TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL |    see more film festival reviews

CREDITS: James Wentzy, production, direction, editing, camera(s), archival footage

these credits gratefully acknowledge support of cameras & archival footage:

        Jean Carlomusto, Elaine Angelopoulos
        John Schabel, Tony Arena
        Dean Lance, Tim McCarthy
        Shraga Lev, Andrew Chang
        Julie Clark, Catherine Gund
        Testing the Limits Collective
        GMHC Audio Visual Dept.
        DIVA TV Collective
        New York Public Library, AIDS Activist Video Preservation collection

scenarios and transcription, reviews, screening venues: www.actupny.org/video

      free for non-commercial In-Kind usage, and include ATTRIBUTION

                for commercial/corporate/institutional acquisition/distribution: https://www.frameline.org/distribution/distribution-catalog/distribution-film-index/fight-back-fight-aids-15-years-of-act-up

David Wojnarowicz Readings
AIDS Community Television series, originally telecast June 21 1993. Remastered, re-authored from the camera-original on November 2004  (37:00)   This is David Wojnarowicz reading his work at the Drawing Center in 1992 (a few months before his death) as a benefit for Needle Exchange. This begins with an introduction by Simon Watney; and concludes with the Political Funeral Procession and bonfire on the streets of the East Village, New York City, July 29, 1992.  

It should be noted, with regret, the incomplete premature finish of his last reading, this as a result of the signal disintegration from the original Hi-8 camera tape, necessitating its finessed premature conclusion. (The archival preservation rating for Hi-8 source tape was/is only estimated to sustain usability for 5 or so years, versus over 10 to 20+ years in actual practice; thus sadly illustrative for the need of determined archival preservation of this collection, consisting of over 600 hours of camera-original Hi-8 tape -- which is currently underway by the New York Public Library for the collection: AIDS Activist Video Preservation Project.)

CREDITS: James Wentzy, producer directing editing camera          
                  Dean Lance, Ellen Spiro  and  John Schabel, cameras



Day of Desperation     CBS News Zap, John Weir, Jon Greenberg, and Grand Central  (29:00)
AIDS Community Television series   Day of Desperation Redux    originally telecast January 25, 1994
On January 22, 1991, at the start of war once again, John Weir and others from ACT UP entered the studio of the CBS Evening News at the beginning of the broadcast, zapping Dan Rather chanting "AIDS is news. Fight AIDS, not Arabs!" before the control room cut to black. The same night, Jon Greenberg and others demonstrated at the studios of the [PBS] MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour. The next day, activists took over Grand Central Terminal during Rush Hour under the banners: "Money for AIDS, Not for War" and "One AIDS Death Every 8 Minutes."

DAY OF DESPERATION FLYER: "Within a matter of months the U.S. Government is able to house, feed and provide health care for half a million people in the middle of the desert. But here at home, the Federal Government continues to routinely deny these same basic necessities to people living with AIDS. We wonder--as we fight a war for oil in the Persian Gulf--whether President Bush and Congress are conscious of the desperate state of the AIDS crisis in this country. We are. Through 10 years of this plague and 10 years of Republican administrations, there remains no leadership. After over-whelmingly (and with much fanfare) passing the C.A.R.E. Act (aka the Ryan White Act), Congress and President Bush failed to appropriate the funds necessary to implement this disaster relief. Why is it that when a hurricane or earthquake hits--and causes mostly property damage and relatively few deaths---federal dollars pour in? When a disease devastates whole communities and kills more than 110,000 men, women and children--more than twice the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War--our leaders remain silent. And you remain silent. Silence = Death."    

    James Wentzy
, producer director editing cameras    
        David Buckingham, camera and production       
            Alessandro Codagnone, production



AIDS Community Television (weekly series #109) originally telecast 1/31/95    (29:00)
compilation of the following political funerals: DAVID WOJNAROWICZ: "I imagine what it would be like if friends had a demonstration each time a lover or a friend or a stranger died of AIDS. I imagine what it would be like if, each time a lover, friend or stranger died of this disease, their friends, lovers or neighbors would take the dead body and drive with it in a car a hundred miles an hour to washington d.c. and blast through the gates of the white house and come to a screeching halt before the entrance and dump their lifeless form on the front steps." July 29, 1992.   ASHES ACTION: carrying the actual ashes of people we love in funeral procession to the White House, and in an act of grief and rage and love, depositing their ashes on the White House lawn. October 11, 1992.   MARK LOWE FISHER: "I want my death to be as strong a statement as my life continues to be. I want my own funeral to be fierce and defiant, to make the public statement that my death from AIDS is a form of political assassination. We are taking this action out of love and rage." November 2, 1992.   TIM BAILEY: "In our outrage and our despair, we're carrying the body of Tim Bailey along the same route traveled by the bodies of other slain heroes. After you've read this, we ask that you observe a moment of silence for Tim. A funny, smart, impassioned 35-year-old man who could have been your friend. Your son. Your brother. Your lover. Then, after you've observed a moment of silence, do whatever you can to tell this country's leaders that their indifference and inefficiency cannot and will not be tolerated." July 1, 1993.   JON GREENBERG: "I don't want an angry political funeral. I just want you to burn me in the street and eat my flesh," --announcing to all of his friends, especially in crowded elevators and in the presence of small children. July 16, 1993.   ALDYN McKEAN: "What we as a movement have to be about is targeting specific issues that we can go out there and fight for -- and win. Because it is when you fight and win that people begin to understand that a radical analysis is correct and that civil disobedience and direct action work." March 4, 1994.     

       James Wentzy, producer, director, cameras, editing
           John Schabel & Tony Arena, cameras    Ira Manhoff & Dean Lance, cameras   
               Shraga Lev & Andrew Chang, cameras    Ellen Spiro & Meg Handler, cameras

further description:    www.actupny.org/diva/polfunsyn.html
    MOVIE REVIEW:    www.actupny.org/diva/polfunreview.html



AIDS Community Television weekly series, originally telecast September 16, 1996 (29:00)

Sunday October 11, 1992 Bring your grief and rage about AIDS to a Political Funeral in Washington DC. You have lost someone to AIDS. For more than a decade, your government has mocked your loss. You have spoken out in anger, joined political protests, carried fake coffins and mock tombstones, and splattered red paint to represent someone's HIV-positive blood, perhaps your own. George Bush believes that the White House gates shield him, from you, your loss, and his responsibility for the AIDS crisis. Now it is time to bring AIDS home to George Bush. On October 11th, we will carry the actual ashes of people we love in funeral procession to the White House. In an act of grief and rage and love, we will deposit their ashes on the White House lawn. Join us to protest twelve years of genocidal AIDS policy.

VIDEO REVIEW: www.actupny.org/diva/synAshes.html


James Wentzy: producer, director, editor
John Schabel: camera
Shraga Lev: camera, additional footage
Andrew Chang: camera, additional footage
Tony Arena: camera, additional and archival footage
Elaine Angelopoulos: camera
Gloria G. Horning: camera
Tim McCartthy: camera




============ UNDER CONSTRUCTION ============


in the mean time -- these mean times -- see my vimeo page with these and other videos playable at:



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   "Living with AIDS in this country is like living through a war
   that's happening only for those people in the trenches.
   Every time a shell explodes you look around to discover
   that you've lost more of your friends. But nobody else notices,
   it isn't happening to them."


         Speech delivered at the ACT UP Demonstration in Albany New York, May 9, 1988  
         and at the Department of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C. October 10, 1988


    "This isn't a fucking show, we're actually dying!"




     "SNAP OUT OF IT"  from "Spontaneous Combustion"

     "...my favorite was 'taste perversion' "



   Shea Stadium Women's Action
    "Then all of the closet ballgame queers start standing up...."

                                 TRANSCRIPT  (based on interview)



    A wealthy, well-connected hetero friend recently said to me,
    "I'm amazed that you guys haven't turned to terrorism--
    everybody's afraid of you anyway..."

           QUICKTIME MOVIE                         TRANSCRIPT



    The last days of the Cuban-born writer Reinaldo Arenas
    "This plague
AIDS is but a symptom of the sickness in our age."

           QUICKTIME MOVIE                           TRANSCRIPT


  Documentation of Sex Panic and Interviews of Negotiating Sex

           from the MIX 1997 Film Festival       QUICKTIME MOVIE


   Through a stack of personal journals, the video reconstructs
   a biography of the South Dakota born and New York City enlightened
   artist James Wentzy. Tracing his days starting out from struggling
   artist to AIDS activist....      
– original 17 minute version



    De-ca-dence  1. A process of deterioration: decay.  2. A condition
    or period of decline, as in art or morals... in this case, political.

          MIX 1996 Film Festival       

see streaming video documentary FIGHT BACK, FIGHT AIDS: 15 YEARS of ACT UP