While typically documentaries make the rounds of the film festivals circuit, college circuit, and (in the case of a big release) in theaters and/or on television. Hence people get to view or at least know of a film. However, most of the time, if that film is a documentary and has music in it and is not solely about a musician, you don’t get to know the story regarding the music in said documentary. The documentary Sins Invalid, which previews in Oakland this weekend (Oct 11th & 12th) at the New Parkway Theater, is a documentary about a performance project that celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer / gender-variant artists. Since 2006, its performances have explored sexuality, beauty, and the disabled body. Sins Invalid is an entryway into the taboo topic of sexuality and disability, manifesting a new paradigm – disability justice. Here I will focus on some of the music in this film that was produced by artists who are from the Bay Area and elsewhere.
Sins Invalid, the entity, is a Bay Area-based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities which have been historically marginalized. Our performance work explores the themes of sexuality, embodiment, and the disabled body. Conceived and led by disabled people of color, we develop and present cutting-edge work where normative paradigms of "normal" and "sexy" are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and sexuality inclusive of all individuals and communities. Patty Berne, Todd Herman, Amanda Coslor, and myself (Leroy Moore) started Sins Invalid in 2006. Since then it has grown from one annual performance to a year-round program with different kinds of performance workshops, disability justice education at colleges, and local and national organizations. In 2007 the beginnings of work on the Sins Invalid film, a documentary about our annual performances, took root. Throughout the seven years of Sins Invalid we have worked with dancers, poets, performance actors/actresses, visual artists, and musicians from Canada, the United Kingdom, and all over the United States. Poetry and music were always a part of Sins Invalid, since our first show back in 2006 with the soulful voice of Lee Williams, a wheelchair user who played Porgy in George Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess at the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley, CA and who has appeared on the big screen in Made in America starring Whoopie Goldberg and Ted Danson. Williams’ CD of spoken word & music, Phase V, was released in 2006.