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timothée barrus/ EAT THE WORLD (01/30/11)

The difference between a living creature and an inanimate object is that the world is constantly passing through a creature, rushing in at one end and out at the other, and while it is in the creature it changes.  The earthworm is the most obvious example because it eats the dirt it crawls through and then leaves behind “castings” that have improved the dirt, made it richer and more fertile.  Humans take in the world through their senses as much as their mouths and when it comes out — if this creature is truly creative to the degree it can be — it is art.  Or possibly religion. The world is then richer and more fertile.


Some people do not accept this point of view.  They are like children with workbooks and must have lines to color within, stickers to put in the right place, lines of connection to draw between things that are defined as related.  They are teacher-pleasers.  Their religion is prescribed and they must follow it or be in trouble.  So when Wojnarowicz shows ants crawling on a crucifix, they find it a violation.  Ants are something to get rid of, signs of poor housekeeping — one doesn’t want bugs.  A crucifix is something to honor, something holy to be put up high and — well, not quite “worshipped,” but an object of devotion.  So how can the two things be together?  When ants are on a crucifix, the dissonance in categories amounts to a heresy — for them.
 

When I entered the Browning Catholic church one day, I saw that the life-size version of Jesus on the Cross that Gordon Monroe had made, inspired by the small one Bob Scriver made (I have a bronze casting on my bedroom wall), had been given a gold lamé robe.  Then I thought of heresy, because the whole point of the crucifixion is that it be ghastly torture — like being staked out on an anthill smeared with blood so the insects would bite and bite in fiery stings.  It was supposed to be after He had risen that He had the royal robes.  But one old lady, hearing my concern, said that she simply wanted to honor and cherish what was a real person to her and clothed Him as any mother would clothe her son.  Some cultures delight in adding wreaths and crowns.

 

The mother in “Equus” was also very focused on her son and she, too, found it a heresy when her son differed from her.  In fact, she went further and named it Evil.  Evil was — to her — disobedience, and since her obedience came from God, then disobedience must be Evil.  A common human error, to think that they know what God thinks.  And yet the boy’s intensely raw sexual obsession with horses — not fucking them literally, but merging with them by riding — was only a deepening of her own narrowed ideas so that his own desperate eating had to be done through a too narrow straw.

 
The Cinematheque Films story of the last four years has been almost like a film shooting script.  It was happening in reality — the world rushing in at one end and the emails and blogs and videos pouring out the other.  By the time I read a post it had been digested to some extent and when I went back to line out the events in what was basically chronological order there was not much more to do.  In the early versions I tried to explain and annotate, but by the later manuscript all that had fallen away so that one could simply see what had happened.  


Why do young beautiful boys die?  It can’t be because they are bad boys.  They are not bad except in society’s workbook of lines and stickers.  Each must find his own answer by eating the world for himself, getting what nourishment he can with his senses.  The answers will be different according to how sharp their teeth are, how clever their tongues are, what they see and hear and remember.  “Why are we even here, they ask?  What is the POINT?” demands one.  To eat the world.  To participate in creation.


For a while there was a little theological discussion about whether the planet itself could be considered Jesus, because in sophisticated systematics, Jesus was supposed to be the only intermediary between the creation (this world) and the Creator (the next world).  It is the earth itself that accepts our bodies and makes them into something new.  To a grave, we are the communion, the body of our humanness.


In fact, Jesus is one of a class of “persons” who are able to go to the Other world and return, able to die and then transcend death.  Orpheus also belongs to that category and so do the circumpolar shamans who are said to be able to ride their black horses over the valleys of bones and skulls in order to bring back the dead.  In the Blackfeet system it is Star Boy or Blood Clot Boy who goes into the sky to live and then returns.  But other systems advise us not to want the dead back because that stops the forward flow.  It must go on.  We only occupy a small part of a torrent of life.


My movie tonight was “Vincent and Theo.”  I watched the Altman interview “Film as Fine Art” as well.  Altman explained that this version distilled down the story to the essential forces under the facts.  Exploring the trinity of religion, art and madness in Van Gogh’s later life, this version portrays the devotion between two brothers, which is another category throughout mythology.  Sometimes the brothers are twins.  In some of the apocryphal gospels Jesus has a brother named John whom he often draws to himself and kisses.  In this film, all the while the story unfolds, the camera eats the world and lays it out like a communion on the screen.


Some people will find this little essay of mine deeply heretical and others will find it religiously valid.  What I want it to do is to jar the boys of what used to be Cinematheque Films out of their workbooks and into eating the world.  I would like their story in “Orpheus” to do that as well, because that would bring it to life.  The ultimate art form has got to be life.

 
Posted by prairiemary at 01:17
 

timothée barrus/“Equus” — Escape from Pain (01/29/11)

“Equus” is a 1973 play about the Fifties, the dawn of “adjustment psychology” when people were “treated” to relieve their anguish by catharsis so that they would be like the rest of us.  The trouble is that “the rest of us” were not happy.  Is this a gain or a loss?
 

The secrecy of the group called “Cinematheque Films” and then “The Studio” is necessary in part to protect them from do-gooders, because the “good” is so often defined by themselves — not the boys.  Their first impulse is to make the boys deny themselves, to stop doing “bad” things, to get on a schedule, respect efforts to help them, be educated in the conventional ways, become “normal.”   (Like them.) The boys look at them and wonder what’s so good about being “normal.”  It was “normal” family men who paid them for sex, “normal” priests who forced them into glory hole sex.  “Normal” people who gave them HIV-AIDS.  “Normal” families who abused them.

 

“Equus” presents a stark choice between a painless normality (with very little feeling of any kind) and an agonizing madness full of passion and rich with imagery.  The Burton character wonders if he is wearing the horse’s head.  I respectfully suggest he’s got the wrong end of the horse.  Wouldn’t it be ordinary horse-sense to ask the BOY what he wants?  The presumption is that he is powerless.  This is NOT the presumption of The Studio nor the motor of the story told in “Orpheus.”  This journey is about a search for a new way, a third, fourth, fifth way — as many explorations as necessary.

 

Barrus, because of his own life, wants to recover the values of the Aquarian Revolution: why not?  That world re-framing, much like the one that fueled the revolutions of the late 1700’s, was aborted by the HIV-AIDS plague that gutted the humanities and probably more scientists than anyone wants to count.   The anal erotic suppressions of Freud had been countered by the wide-open possibility of daylighting many underground practices.  Then it was all stuffed back into the culvert, the underground, the catacomb.  Even the freaks freaked when all their friends died.
 

Tim wants to lift up the boys, to create understanding, to free them from suspicion, hatred and punishment and cause society to repent.  Well, so did Jesus and a lot of other people but so far good intentions have not been enough.  So what else do you have?  A photo of the planet Earth from outer space?

 

The boys are skeptical.  Many of them ARE suffering.  HIV meds make you suffer, hallucinate, sweat, vomit.   Someone like themselves who will be with them, a family member, that’s what they want.  But when they are well, thinking and working on projects, they raise a third option that was never considered in the play called “Equus.”  Their own empowerment.  The power of that slender naked boy embracing his beloved horse.


Too many do-gooders and all the stalkers want helpless victims they can own and manipulate.  What’s the difference between that and pimping?  What’s the difference between that and drug tests?  The difference is in the empowerment of the boy and his empowerment comes from the group, not Tim nor any other single person, no matter how clever at therapy.


The Burton shrink in Equus is a reverse Lazarus: he is the magic figure who can remove the crucifixion and thus erase the passion.  I’m taking the culture, so hooked on saviors, on it’s own ground.  But include me out — I’m going with Caravaggio and Cellini, risky rebels, self-empowered, obsessed with art.  Even self-destructive.  At least no one else did it to them.
 

timothée barrus/Aad: yes, smother me; i like that (01/29/11)

Aad: yes, smother me; I like that. — t

timothée barrus/In heterozygous HIV+ people (01/29/11)

In heterozygous HIV+ people, who have only one sickle gene and one normal adult haemoglobin gene, there could be a genetic connection to the genetic on/off switch that regulates the permeability of the T-cell wall which is invaded by the retrovirus; leading one to wonder about sickle-haemoglobin C disease (HbSC), sickle beta-plus-thalassaemia (HbS/β+) and sickle beta-zero-thalassaemia (HbS/β0). These particular forms of sickle-cell disease are compound heterozygous states in which the person has only one copy of the mutation that causes HbS and one copy of another abnormal haemoglobin allele. Of course, there could be no relationship at all (I think this is likely) but how will we ever know unless we study the genetic make-up of the sickle-cell HIV-infected individual as his health deteriorates. The study could be too intense for any individual I would know. Blood-draws would be multiple times daily. But it would be interesting to know if the HbSC has any effect on the ability of the virus to make copies of itself. Personally, I would NOT NO WAY JOSE want to be the lab rat on this one.

But Armond…

No, Armond, I do not advise it. You wouldn’t last six weeks. We’re all dead meat any way you look at it. — t

timothée barrus/No Name (01/28/11)

timothée barrus/Quelques-uns des plus beaux enfants du monde entier (01/27/11)

Quelques-uns des plus beaux enfants du monde entier.

Tim Barrus/ Blooddraw Day (1/20/2011)

The day we have to go get blood drawn, so our medication’s effect can be analyzed, is usually the day from sheer hell.

Anytime anyone attempts to stick a needle in my arm, the pain has me on the ceiling because I no longer have the kind of veins you can extract blood from. It’s simple: they can’t find a vein that will do the job. So they have to go into my feet, and even there’s it only gives them drop-by-drop. It is a nightmare.

Before we took off for the blooddraw yesterday, I wanterd to try something very different.

A psychiatrist who employs hypnosis came over in the morning, and hypnotized the entire group. It was eery.

I do not remember being hypnotized. I do not remember the blooddraw.

I remember taking refuge in a tunnel under the ground. I remember the sights and sounds and smells of the tunnel.

I felt disassociated from the procedure. I do not remember a single moment of my blood being drawn.

It’s a long drive and it takes all day. I do not remember the ride.

Today, we are working on a video about being underground. I do not feel disassociated from it. Like many of our videos, it is shaping up to tell more than one story at a time.

My feet and arms are bandaged. I am now going to remove the bandages. I never know what I will find.

Tim Barrus/ This afternoon (1/20/2011)

This afternoon I received an outraged email (anonymous, of course) that was bounced off a proxy server in WDC. Mr. Anonymous was totally outraged that: “you expect us, the readers, to believe that you used hypnotism to deal with a routine blood collection for HIV labs. It’s so far out there even for you that I am forced to respond. It’s a small prick into the arm and then it’s over. No one needs to be hypnotized.”

Actually, I’ve been thinking about hypnosis for some time. I do not feel compelled to give readers advance notice that I am going to take things somewhere until I take them there.

I knew the day for labs would arrive, and I would do anything, find any excuse, not to go. I prayed for an ice storm but it was a beautiful day. Then, I got an email early that morning that unless we went, our access to medications could be pulled. I had already set up the appointment with the hypnotist. So, it looked like we were going to have to go; I followed through with the hypnotic treatment just before we left.

I had already blogged my paranoia/rant to the world.

I did not know what the hypnotism would be like. I didn’t know anything about it, but what interested me was it’s ability or inability to deal with pain. Not so much the paranoia, but definitely the pain.

I also tried drinking several bottles of bottled water in the car before we arrived at the clinic. Often, they can’t find a vein if I am dehydrated. I can remember drinking the water. But obviously they could not find a vein (it’s been ten years of blown veins) because my right foot was bandaged.

At the beginning of the hypnotic treatment, we were all told that we would remember nothing of the lab visit.

Pain, too, is this weight you carry around like a suitcase filled with lead. I now know this: if I had a choice between an opiate and being hypnotized not to feel pain, I would choose hypnosis.

I remain incredulous that it’s not widely used.

The pain comes when they’re jabbing the needle into your arm, and when they can’t find a vein, they do everything from twisting the needle to grinding it around inside your arm. When they start doing that, I climb the walls it hurts so much.

“Oh, I’m sorry if I’m hurting you,” is the typical dog and pony show put on.

They’re not. Sorry about anything.

Pain receptor sites are in the cerebral cortex. Which is also the part of the brain that is receiving the hypnotic message to repress the sensation.

As far as hypnotism is concerned, I find it to be totally credible. I will use it again. As far as what Mr. Anonymous thinks — I don’t give a flying fuck what he believes or doesn’t believe. If I want to THINK that hypnotism will work, the chances are far greater that it will. What’s strange is some weird assumption that you are supposed to simply confront pain with courage and nothing else. I am not entirely sure where this comes from in the American character, but silent suffering isn’t my M.O., and I have enough pain to deal with on a good day. Labs turn any day into a bad day. And I am going to go with what works.

timothée barrus/So How do I love (01/10/11)

So. How do I love this child even as I watch him die.


So. I have this responsibility. I can clothe him. I can feed him. I am given the resources to do that. None of that is the issue here.


I do fight Spirit with the dying ones. Spirit is such a Super Bitch Fuck.


I refuse to call her god. She doesn’t give a rat’s ass what I call her.


She has only given me two things in this life. It has not been much of a life, but she has given me two things. Writing and death.
 

They find me.


I have lived in the most remote parts of the planet. Places you cannot even imagine. Places where NO ONE lives.


Spirit finds me. Writing finds me. Death finds me. So. That is only how it is. Now, this.


She drops this one at the door and laughs. Thank you, you fucking witch. The kid smells of death and really bad piss.


I ask her how much time I will have with him. She laughs again. The bitter laugh. Not much.

 

“You know what to do, you just don’t have the courage to do it.” And then she smiles. I can see her breath as though the two of us are fighting in the snow. Tonight is a storm of it.

 

You are impotent,” she snarls.


True enough. My cock lost its ability to get hard a long time ago. HIV will do that. It came as a shock to me that I could live my life without my soldier cock stuck permanently in my head. The old me would have thought that life without a hard cock would not be worth living. Now, I do not even miss it. I SEE things I never SAW with my cock in my eye like that.


The boy is suicidal and he’s dying anyway. None of this is gentle.


Anyone who thinks my responsibilities are limited to food and clothing is so stupid I can’t even go there. These are the kind of people I have lived in remote places to ESCAPE.


The cultures these people have built have failed everyone. They are only empty. Western medicine is empty.


We have kept this boy alive but alive for what.


I would expand his world. Not limit it to his dying of AIDS and cancer.


The cancer has turned his cock black. He is riddled with tumors.


It is the morphine hour.


He gets his morphine. I get mine.


His pain is different from mine. Mine is dead bone pain. His is tumor pain. Pain is not just pain. That is how the emptiness of Western medicine sees pain. It is all the same pain. Western medicine sees pain this way because it is a cultural institution. It is empty. Pain is the dipper down and dredged.


The morphine and the weed are medical and legal.


There are many ways to expand consciousness. To see the province of life and death as not invisible to us.


Things arcane in silver fires and the skins of entire stars. Bodiless. Oh, purple dot a great frayed rope. The snarls unraveling and the storm of snow outside.


Did you really think I would leave the beating of that heart to a marshmallow. Then. You do not know me. I don’t do cute.


It honestly disturbs me that people would buy the marshmallow scenario like Little Women. Do I appear to be Louisa May Alcott to you.


I could lie and tell you that I do cute. Most people prefer the lie.


AIDS does not exist and all children are happy happy and live with mummy and daddy and everyone is white and no one is hungry ever ever ever and we all go to school in our shiny shoes where we all sit nicely for the teacher with our little hands folded and our smiley smiles.


There. I wrote it. It must be so. Shit. I hate god. I hate religion. And I hate Barney. I am haunted by SPIRIT and the beast is an apparition with claws and teeth.


So. How do I love this child even as I watch him die.
 

It didn’t disappear like a marshmallow just because you wanted us all cozy in our jamies by the fire. Get a grip. This is drugs and AIDS.


With our eyes now in this quiet house lifted toward an August sun. Take my hand and we will doze by the mulberry tree. Beyond the cornfield and the dusty towns. I will show you the world.


So. Are there places you cannot see.


Most of you can’t see the room you live in. Places.


We will stand in streets and laugh and fire will pour from our lips like birds. From this cage, I will run you down corridors of sound. Beyond them and their televisions I call them teleblindness. Beyond them. Forget the suitcase and the summerhouse. Our feet will sink into the soldier dust upon the wind. Knowledge is the incalculable center of the thing. We will outrun Spirit even as she waits for our return upon the shore.


Tonight, boy. Now. Let us run. Run, boy, run.

timothée barrus/ AIDS Drug Trial Notes (01/10/11)

I have become close to a group of people with HIV/AIDS who are all enrolled in the same AIDS drug trial.

We are all having the same (quite unexpected to us) neurological reactions; we have decided to keep our own anecdotal notes/logs (versus a drug company’s data) as to how these drugs affect us.

I hesitate to call my own experiences as hallucinogenic because this gives a spin to it that is a throwback to LSD. I would replace the idea of hallucinating with the idea of an expanding consciousness. I am, however, now convinced (this is definitely not the placebo) that there is a relationship between the molecular composition of a drug such as LSD (or an altered synthetic version of it) and the molecular composition of the current nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors used in the inhibition of  the HIV virus to reproduce itself.

We note that the drug Sustiva (actually three drugs all NARTI’s) also has these characteristics but they are not anywhere as intense as the Drug X we are taking now. The purpose of the Drug X is to inhibit the replication of the HIV virus in areas that have been difficult to get at such as viral reservoirs in bone marrow and the brain.

Retrosynthetically, the C-5 stereocenter could be analysed as having the same configuration of the alpha carbon of the naturally occurring amino acid L-trypophan, the precursor to all biosynthetic ergoline compounds.

However, LSD and iso-LSD, the two C-8 isomers, rapidly interconvert in the presence of bases as the alpha proton is acidic and can be de pronotated and reprotonated. Non-psychoactive iso-LSD which has formed during the synthesis can be separated by chromatography and can be isomerized to LSD.

Anti-HIV drugs from different drug groups attack the virus in different ways. Different anti-HIV drugs attack HIV at different steps in the process it goes through to make copies of itself. Think of the HIV enzymes reverse transcriptase and protease as “targets” that can be shot at with different groups of drugs.

Drugs that hit the reverse transcriptase target stop HIV just after it enters a cell, and drugs that hit the protease target stop HIV just before it leaves a cell. Hitting two targets increases the chance of stopping HIV and protecting new cells from infection. That’s why nucleosides (which aim at reverse transcriptase) and protease inhibitors (which aim at protease) work so well together.

If non-nucleosides and protease inhibitors are given together, they may raise or lower levels of each other in the body. The first studies to show how these drugs interact have now been completed.

San Francisco researchers led by Dr. Jacob Lalezari are looking for HIV-positive volunteers to participate in a groundbreaking study using gene therapy to modify patients’ immune systems.audmeasure.gif

The study is based on work conducted in Germany on an HIV-positive man treated for leukemia. In 2007, the man received a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that eliminates the CCR5 protein from the immune system. Without CCR5, HIV is unable to enter and infect T-cells. Three years after the transplant, HIV is undetectable in the patient.

Lalezari, medical director at Quest Clinical Research and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco, and his team are exploring a less invasive approach. Rather than undergo a costly and painful bone marrow transplant, volunteers will have their blood filtered to extract immune cells. Those cells will then be treated with a zinc finger nuclease that will remove the gene that produces the CCR5 protein. Following cultivation for about three months, a large dose of treated immune cells will be re-infused in the originating patient in the hope they “take root” and replace vulnerable cells.

The treatment is expected to be painless and carry a relatively low risk of side effects. By contrast, the patient in the German study received chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drugs to prevent transplant rejection.

Interested volunteers must fit a very specific profile. Researchers are looking for HIV-positive people who have not taken antiviral drugs in the last 12 weeks, who are negative for hepatitis B and C, and whose T-cell counts are higher than 500. For more information, contact Quest at 415-353-0800 or e-mail Lalezari at drjay@questclinical.com.



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