DIVA TV (Damned Interfering Video Activists)

DIVA TV was founded in 1989 as a video-documenting affinity group
with
ACT UP  AIDS COALITION TO UNLEASH POWER, an activist group famous
for its direct action against bureaucratic neglect and drug company profiteering
in the AIDS crisis and widely acknowledged as re-energizing civil disobedience tactics
in the United States.  DIVA TV * documents public testimony, the media, and community
activism to motivate the
fight against AIDS.

* DIVA TV has long been more of a state of mind than collective
images and videos, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted by videomaker James Wentzy,
and can be utilized freely for non-profit use with attribution to videomaker

ACT UP Video Documentary                    
FIGHT BACK, FIGHT AIDS: 15 YEARS of ACT UP         
    

IT IS THE CULTURAL MEDIUM OF OUR SOCIETY WHICH FOSTERS THE SPREAD OF HIV/AIDS. While we know more than ever before about this disease, it is spreading faster than ever, and gaining ground. The media is the major source of information on HIV/AIDS for most people, and has determined how and when AIDS reaches the public agenda. However, the main-stream media presents the public picture "DRUG TREATMENTS = FEWER AIDS DEATHS"  thus eliminating public urgency.  The media spin does not analyze the escalation of new infections or the inaccessibility of healthcare and prevention advocacy.  THE DRAMA OF AIDS IS BEING REPLACED BY ITS NORMALIZATION.  NORMALIZATION IS FUCKED.   It has been the affected communities that took the lead in mobilizing the political will and energies necessary to deal with the AIDS CRISIS.  Activism has become an integral part of the AIDS political landscape.  ACTIVIST VIDEOS SERVE AS AN INVALUABLE REPOSITORY OF CULTURAL IMAGES REFLECTING THE HISTORIES AND URGENCIES OF AIDS ACTIVISM AT ITS MOST VISIBLE.  The extensive media documented by DIVA TV (over 700 camera hours) accompanies additional collections from other media activists and community organizations, contributing cultural documentation and media preservation for the archived collection THE AIDS ACTIVIST VIDEO PRESERVATION PROJECT AT THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY.



merchandise collectable                November 2004

RECENTLY PRODUCED   Limited Edition of 100 : 

DAVID WOJNAROWICZ READINGS (1992)

NEWLY REMASTERED 37-MINUTE VIDEO ON DVD

This multi-menued 37-minute DVD
       may be purchased for
$250

purchases help support
AIDS activist video preservation

 


  POLICE SURVEILLANCE AND AMERIKA'S POLICE STATE


           MEDIA CRITICISM

   PBS FRONTLINE "THE AGE OF AIDS"
   
  
25 YEARS OF MISSTEPS THAT MADE HIV/AIDS
    ONE OF THE GREATEST PLAGUES IN HISTORY


However useful bits of history this PBS's production will most likely show, you can expect to see a skimming white wash of the critical role that AIDS activists have played in every critical juncture and new initiatives; and the roles that people living with HIV/AIDS have played in our history and which is being whitewashed out of the picture!



   AN EXAMPLE OF :

RECENT MEDIOCRITY OF NEWSPAPER REPORTING                
  
and the Complicity with Historical Revisionism  

    "James Curran's efforts at the CDC weren't always appreciated. In an
   oral history compiled in 1998 by the National Institutes of Health, Curran
  describes chaotic scenes at a conference in which protesters spit on him and
 a mass mailing by AIDS activists, who sent him 20,000 postcards with his face in
a bull's-eye because they were impatient with the government response to AIDS."
    
THE REPORTER NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK "WHY??"

        FOR THE RECORD     CHANGING THE CDC DEFINITION OF AIDS                                            
                                    
 THE HISTORY OF ONE OF THE GREAT SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGNS              
                                   BY AIDS ACTIVISTS  –  NO THANKS TO THE DISREGARD OF THE MEDIA. 
   

Why are our Gay TV channels So Mediocre?
particularly objectionable are the re-runs of ancient made-for-TV movies on AIDS... filled with fear and loathing, giving a totally inaccurate picture of the epidemic as it exists today. Would it have been so hard (or expensive) for our Gay TV Channels to have at least introduced these period pieces with a few minutes of up-dating?  Not to mention making NEW PROGRAMMING covering our activist histories, which IS fully documented and accessible!

Star Power Trumps History in AIDS Coverage
“They should understand, as we all do, that we would not have 3,000 journalists at the Toronto International AIDS Conference if not for Richard Gere and Bill and Melinda Gates and Bill Clinton. For a message directed at activists, this statement was a ringing indictment of media priorities. Even with the draw of celebrity, the AIDS conference did not entice either CBS or NBC nightly news producers; of the three nightly network newscasts, ABC World News alone aired a report (8/14/06), and it was not likely to assuage activists’ concerns about the [limited] impact of using the wealthy and powerful as a lens for AIDS.




  NOTICE OF "COMMUNITY" MALFEASANCE                     
      
NEWFEST AIDS DENIALISM (one of New York City's Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals)   



ACT UP Video Documentary 
FIGHT BACK, FIGHT AIDS: 15 YEARS of ACT UP
 
A Short History of 
AIDS Activist Videos
Fever in the Archive
GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM 

             SINCE STOPPING THE PRODUCTION OF OUR  WORKING  PRESS  BADGE  FACSIMILES
           AFTER THE 9/11 TERRORIST ATTACKS & SUBSEQUENT HEIGHTENED PARANOIA,
         NOW WE CAN REVEAL PUBLICLY AN EXAMPLE OF OUR PREVIOUSLY MANUFACTURED
     
  DIVA TV PRESS BADGE.

  ACCREDITATE YOUR OWN MEDIA
MAKING OUR OWN MEDIA
DOCUMENTING OUR OWN HISTORIES


Having our own media accreditation had directly facilitated our extensive documentation, with an accumulation of over 700 HOURS of camera-original videotapes, documented over FIFTEEN YEARS of AIDS activism and our communities' her/histories responding to THE AIDS CRISIS.  DIVA TV's AIDS ACTIVIST VIDEO COLLECTION IS POSSIBLY THE WORLD'S LARGEST AIDS VIDEO-ARCHIVE OF ITS KIND!  The DIVA TV PRESS BADGES WERE STRIKINGLY SIMILAR IN APPEARANCE  to the "officially-issued" New York City Police Department press credentials  AT THE TIME  (PRESENT-DAY PRESS BADGES ARE NOW DIFFERENT IN APPEARANCE & DESIGN)  

PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR PRESS BADGES WERE DESIGNED AS "FACSIMILES"  SOLELY FOR THE REPRESENTATION OF MEDIA ACCREDITATION...
AND NOT  AS CONNIVED FORGERY FOR ANY COVERT MISREPRESENTATION.
 

CONSTRASTING THE "MORE-OFFICIAL" PRESS BADGES ISSUED
BY THE POLICE, OUR PRESS BADGES NEVER REPRODUCED:
"NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT."  AND WE NEVER REPRODUCED THE SIGNATURES OF THE POLICE & FIRE COMMISSIONERS OUR BADGES WERE FLOURISHLY SIGNED BY  "Cafe" AND  "Harold  SALADBAR."
WE ALSO DISPLAYED PICTURE IDs AND OUR ACTUAL NAMES  REPRESENTING THE ACCREDITATION FOR MEDIA DOCUMENTATION BY OUR VIDEO ACTIVISTS.

   FINALLY, THERE IS SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS, TINGED ODOROUSLY FASCISTIC, WITH THE POLICE DEPARTMENT – TOO FREQUENTLY MANIFESTING THEIR OWN SELF-SERVING PREFERENCES FOR AVOIDING MEDIA SCRUTINY AND PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY – SOLELY AND INCONTESTABLY DEFINING THE ACCESSIBILITY AND ACCREDITATION OF PUBLIC MEDIA, AND ULTIMATE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.

-- James Wentzy


DIVA TV