Chicago-based artist Sandie Yi is the virtuoso behind Crip Couture, an avant-garde wearable art project for disabled people seeking to redefine constricting standards of beauty, agency and "normalcy."
Yi transforms traditional, uninspired prosthetics and orthotics into tailor-made creations for clients, taking into account the individual's needs, desires and state of mind. The point is not to manufacture conventional, "corrective" physical aids that blend in with the status quo; instead these innovative pieces capitalize on the diverse beauty found in disabled bodies, highlighting difference and redefining not only fashion but disability itself.
"For those of you who don't know me, I'm not wasted, but the doctor who delivered me was." So begins the standup comedy set from Maysoon Zayid: disabled comic, actor, humanitarian, and "Arab Gone Wild."
Taking a cue from feminist art-world culture-jamming collective the Guerrilla Girls comes Australia's Bolshy Divas—anonymous disability activists "in the style of feminist masked avengers, exposing and discussing discrimination, unmet need, and issues which affect people with disability and their families."
Leroy Moore is a man of action: poet, community activist, artist, feminist... the list goes on. Spend any time in the crip community and his name will inevitably surface, which should come as no surprise. Moore is a walking archive of disability art and history with a gift for broad networking, highlighting artists and activist projects from the Bay area to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He can school you on disabled musicians from the days of yore, but it must be noted that this man has his finger on the pulse of the vibrant disability art scene- a scene that has blossomed in no small part due to his dedication to spotlighting the intersections of race, social justice, art and crip culture. Additionally, he can wear the hell out of a tuxedo.
Defying nondisabled persons outdated notions of what disability is like is difficult enough; making people laugh while doing so is a feat of its own. Thankfully, there are some badasses taking that immense challenge head on and succeeding.
Regardless of why Lydia Callis has become an overnight celebrity, she's unintentionally brought ASL into the forefront of American media, highlighting not only the vibrancy of the language, but also the necessity of diverse communication strategies- particularly in emergencies.
How's Your News?, America's favorite (and only) newscast featuring a team of developmentally disabled reporters, has returned—and just in time for the 2012 presidential election! You may remember the team's previous 2004 documentary, which chronicled their time at the Democratic and Republican conventions, or seen their wonderful MTV series (executive produced by South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone). The gang is back from visiting the most recent political conventions, and their new film looks to be just as hilarious and awesome as their prior work.
Spin Magazine recently ran a comprehensive and funny piece called "The 50 Biggest White Girl Rap Moments Of All Time." Being a white woman who vehemently loves rap music, best believe I ate that ish up. Some MCs mentioned were genuinely talented (Dessa, Princess Superstar), others... not so much. There is, as the magazine states, a "checkered" history in white girl rap (cough cough Kreayshawn cough cough Fergie). One artist who didn't make the cut (but certainly will next round) is the one and only Kalyn Heffernan of Denver's Wheelchair Sports Camp.
Tig Notaro has been getting a heaping dose of publicity lately. It's well-deserved. You may already recognize the charming comedian from her standup, or watched her play the feather-haired policewoman who briefly (and understandably) lesbianizes Sarah Silverman on the latter's eponymous "Program," or listened to her discuss her frequent run-ins with 80s pop star Taylor "Tell it to my heart" Dayne on This American Life. Maybe you've also read that earlier this month Tig released a half-hour standup comedy set (care of friend/comic superstar Louis C.K.), recorded after a diagnosis of breast cancer (in both breasts) only a few days prior. The performance was instantly touted as legendary, with audience member Louis C.K. calling it "one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw. I can't really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life."