After Theodore Kerr published an interview with me about Dazzle Camouflage, I heard from Canadian AIDS activists who had just found a video of Michael Smith’s performance “Person Livid with AIDS”(1990) which SPREE and the Eggplant Faerie Players had toured with 25+ years ago, and then gone on to develop a new show by the same name when no script or video could be found following the death of their friend Michael Smith. The reconnection through this piece, 25+ years later, between the creative work of Michael Smith and the Eggplant Faeries feels to me to be such a magical braiding together of between-worlds connectedness. Thanks to Ryan Conrad and all who worked to share this important performance and activist history.

Michael Smith’s 1990 one-man show with occasional musical accompaniments was performed as part of the QueerCulture Festival organized by Buddies in Bad Times before Buddies became the anchored institution it is today. Person Livid With AIDS: A Day in the Life of a Gay Man Living with AIDS (PLWA), which had a three day run at the Factory Studio Café at Bathurst and Adelaide (a precursor to today’s Factory Theatre), was also captured on a grainy video tape that recently resurfaced through the efforts of British Columbia-based sex worker activist Andy Sorfleet. The tape was found in the estate of deceased Toronto lesbian activist Chris Bearchell who had retired to the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. While the production would be restaged in early 1991 as a fundraiser for AIDS ACTION NOW! and Gays & Lesbians of the First Nations,[1] this tape, in all its fuzzy, glitchy, VHS glory, along with an accompanying publicity poster, and ‘zine, is primarily what remains of Smith’s original play. Read the full piece here…

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