I'd previously blogged about why Gwenn and I had a little hiatus from video-making. Well, while on hiatus, we actually recorded some of our journeys on our cellphones. One of our capers included me riding a ferris wheel in recognition of World Hemophilia Day.
We just couldn't wait until Tuesday to post our latest video... if you haven't heard about the condom challenge, it's a new trend that's taken off (for better or worse) where people post videos of themselves inserting a condom into their nose and then pulling that same condom out through their mouth.
Gwenn and I discuss this- and attempt it (wink wink)- in our new video. Enjoy!
has shaped my life in so many ways. The physical vulnerability and the
humbling effects that this medical condition has a not-so-adverse
side effect: my brothers and sisters with hemophilia who have shared
this journey (and our caretakers) are some of the most gentle people I
have ever met. I am proud to be a "Blood Brother", "Thinblood", and
someone who is in touch with the human experience, with a deep understanding
of just how fragile we all are regardless of our how well our blood
I had the pleasure of talking with Mark Zatyrka about he and his wife's decision to have children using sperm washing. (Mark's been HIV positive since childhood, his partner, Sasha, is HIV negative.) Read it on Poz.com here: Adventures in Baby-Making Positively Yours,
But first and foremost, I feel a public goodbye to my Uncle Mook (my dad's little brother) is in order. He was truly a great guy, always ready to have a good laugh and always very kind to me. He'd been diagnosed with an illness that gave fair warning of the end, which is a mixed blessing of course... but I'm glad I had the chance to speak with him on the phone about a month ago, when I was being an uncle myself and watching some wrestling with my niece.
Uncle Mook, you will be missed. Thanks for all the lessons on what it means to be a loving uncle.
So, last weekend Gwenn and I went to Vail, thanks to a contest put on by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in partnership with the Vail Film Festival. It truly is stunning how scenically beautiful Vail is, and a trip out of town certainly hit the spot, too. We met a lot of wonderful folks, from Best Student Film winner, James Cox (for Grey Matter, a Stephen King story) to Tate Taylor, director of The Help. We also got to see the screening of Keep the Promise, a documentary about the March on Washington last year, directed by Jorg Fockele and Marc Smolowitz, both incredibly talented and amiable allies in raising awareness about HIV.
At the Closing Awards Ceremony, Allison Janney and Tate Taylor did a Q&A, and every film screened at the Festival was up for an award. My contest-winning, 60-second video (below) was shown to an audience of very talented filmmakers... it was quite a thrill! Especially since it got a great response. Allison said, "I loved your film!" afterwards. She and Tate were both so kind as to record PSAs for AIDS Healthcare Foundation about why HIV funding, awareness and prevention are still needed.
Gwenn with Jorg, Marc and Terri Ford of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Dwarfed by the mountains of Vail.
A project that has been in the works for a few years now, a screenplay for My Pet Virus, got into a few hands at the film festival via my team... ah, okay, via me. But I'm proud of the work I've put into it over the last year or so, building on the original screenplay written by Mitch Larson. With all of the 1980s-era HIV/AIDS themed movies and shows in production (The Normal Heart, The Dallas Buyer's Club, and How to Survive a Plague heading to network television as a mini-series), it seems like the time might be right for something that humorously explores entering puberty with HIV in small-town America.
Either way, I'm busy doing what I can to make that happen.
My good friends at the MTV Staying Alive Foundation have teamed up with the UN in creating a poll that will have very real consequences on which issues will get the most attention when it comes to policy-making on a global scale. I logged my Vote for "Better Healthcare", because without decent healthcare I most certainly would not be here today.
And lastly... I was hoping to have the next set of weekly Shawn & Gwenn videos start up on Tuesday, but a writing assignment has just come up. So hopefully in two weeks Gwenn and I will be back on track for our weekly vids!
So no new video on this fine Tuesday. Partly because of the last video- we are getting ready for the Vail Film Festival, which has inspired me to get back to work on the screenplay to my book, My Pet Virus. In addition to that excitement, the last two weeks have seen some medical drama in the family (not mine- things are much easier for me when I'm the one that's sick)... plus, Gwenn and I have some additional traveling on the horizon.
Not sure when we'll crank up the videos again- my guess is that we'll be up and running again in mid-April. There's always the chance that I'll get some of our travels on the trusty iPhone video, if so I'll post them here.
A little over a week ago, Gwenn saw a post on Twitter about a contest put on by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Vail Film Festival. You had to make a creative video about how HIV has impacted you, and also use the phrase "keep the promise on AIDS", which is a nod to AHF's film, "Keep the Promise: The Global Fight Against AIDS ". (Debuting at the Vail Film Festival at the end of the month.)
Oh, and your entry had to be 30 or 60 seconds. So, here was my winning entry. This time, I drew my life in chalk. To prove I'm multi-faceted.
In this week's video, Gwenn and I discuss the recent news that a baby has been functionally cured of HIV. Hopefully this raises awareness to the fact that mother-to-child transmission can be prevented before it happens if HIV testing is made readily available to women who are expecting.
Since 2000, Shawn and Gwenn have been speaking about sexual health together, sharing their personal story and empowering others to be safe. If you are interested in having them speak at your event, fill out the Contact Us form.