LET THE RECORD SHOW sheds light on an essential and still ignored period in American art and history. In 1988, rage, despair and funeral gatherings defined a generation of New Yorkers. Young men walked the streets of the city with death in their eyes. AIDS ravaged neighborhoods, stole the lives of the majority of dancers, painters, photographers, performance artists, poets and culturally influential minds. In the midst of this chaos a group of artists created groundbreaking, politically charged works that challenged the art world and created a political chasm the size of the Grand Canyon. On one side stood a murderously inactive, religiously appeasing government and amorally silent media, and on the other were thousands upon thousands of disposable, disenfranchised young men and women with their lives on the line and no end in sight. From the ashes of a politically rooted epidemic rose viral street art that reflected and transformed American culture.
Performers, filmmakers, photographers, playwrights and visual artists who shook the foundation of American culture come together and speak passionately about their private, and highly political journeys. LET THE RECORD SHOW is an odyssey into the heart of New York City’s lost bohemia and a poetic look at the collective spirit of activism. Over 30 artists, living and dead, tell their story through their art, bringing to life the lost downtown art scene. Patrick O’Connell, founding Director of Visual AIDS, was instrumental in bringing the iconic (red) Ribbon to mainstream America in 1991. Patrick O’Connell is a powerful voice in the film and the AIDS Movement, along with Penny Arcade, Rodger McFarlane, Larry Kramer and Avram Finkelstein. They are all survivors of a silent war; activists and artists who refused to be censored, ignored or dismissed.
While recently there have been films dedicated to illuminating important figures or groups during this under documented period, this is the only film which connects the audience with the art communities response to the AIDS crisis in NYC. There is no museum dedicated to the AIDS movement, no outlet for young artists to learn from their mentors
What started as a singular conversation with Patrick O'Connell, Founder of Visual AIDS, about bringing the red ribbon to the world, grew into a symphony of New York City artist voices sharing their passion, compassion, pain, and strength in the face of AIDS. For the first time they collectively impart their journey into why we act and why we love. This is the story of how they responded.
Demetrea Dewald and Rebekah Dewald are a mother-daughter film making team. Their unique vision has created a powerful story of love, loss, burnout and resistance. They explore artwork that challenged the status quo, changed patient’s rights, worked to end gender discrimination, and blurred the lines between private and public, transforming an entire culture with it. What emerges is a call to action as relevant now as it ever was.
Let The Record Show questions the future of LGBT and AIDS activism. There have been more US casualties to AIDS than WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Are we prepared to continue losing the battle against AIDS? Are we ready to address homophobia and the AIDS stigma in an honest, public dialogue? Can we envision a day without AIDS, and what are we willing to do to make it a reality?