Sins Invalid witnesses a performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists. Since 2006, its performances have explored themes of sexuality, beauty, and the disabled body, impacting thousands through live performance. Sins Invalid is as an entryway into the absurdly taboo topic of sexuality and disability, manifesting a new paradigm of disability justice.
SINS INVALID is a REVOLUTION in both performance and society, a REVELATION showcasing bold new talent that audiences have been missing and an EVOLUTION where everything you think you know about disability is breathtakingly redefined.
Including interviews with cast members and project director, the film features performances by Nomy Lamm, Cara Page, Maria Palacios, ET Russian, Antoine Hunter, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha , seeley quest, Mat Fraser and Rodney Bell.
An important document of a groundbreaking performance project, Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty does much more than make a claim to beauty. It offers up entertainment, excitement, and resistance. It's erotic and difficult, thought-provoking and funny. For those of us who have never been able to see the show live, it provides a glimpse of the magic that has been happening in the Bay area since 2006.
For educators, the film can serve as a flexible and indispensable tool, bringing issues of sexuality and gender, race and class, embodiment and disability into the room in a powerful and immediate way. Because Sins spends it's time showing more than telling, the resulting film provides much richer for classroom and group discussion.
“There is no right or wrong body in a conscious revolutionary mind” opens the Sins Invalid video that captures the joy of people living with physical and mental disabilities. It also conveys the historic oppression perpetrated by institutions, parents, and the medical establishment. But most importantly it reveals the reality that many have tried to keep hidden: humanity remains despite any ways that our bodies may not reflect the Hollywood norms. So it all comes back to the joy of surpassing, the joy of creation and the joy of desire.
As someone committed to understanding the relationship between disability and aesthetic practices, it would be impossible for me not to be fascinated by Sins Invalid’s “Unashamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Disability”. If, for some, aesthetics itself is the study of beauty, Sins Invalid reveals how multivalent a concept beauty, especially the beautiful body, can be.
One of Sins Invalid’s primary goals is to highlight the beauty and not just the efficacy of identity politics as both a, for now at least, necessary aspect of social change and recognition and a potential bearer to the group’s work recognizes that there is a corresponding aesthetic politics that can be derived from consideration of the “different” body, life, and mind. Sins Invalid reveals and enacts this aesthetic across a dauntingly wide range of forms and formats. By this process alone they challenge the disciplinary boundaries that restrict our ability to recognize beauty in all of its miscegenated complexity.
One of the foundational tenets of feminism as a practice was the recognition of the fact that the “personal was political”. In its recognition of both the internal and external fluidity of disability Sins Invalid’s practical insight has been full engagement with the fact that “the aesthetic is political”. Moving decisively beyond any simple “shock” or “transgressive” aesthetic, across the range of writers, performers, activists, et al. that pass across its stages, in both senses of the word, Sins Invalid reveals the beauty of everyday difference and challenges the politics that systematically disables our ability to recognize this beauty.