Thursday, 15 August 2019

Did You Know?

Just back from a fantastic afternoon with the really rather wonderful Tony Slattery - If there ever was a nation treasures national treasure it would be this man.
 
Not only is he a story-weaving wizard but an all round top bloke.



Anyway, it's a little known fact that in 1995 Tony Slattery auditioned for Doctor Who, so to celebrate I did an illo' for him.

He liked it so I did a few more and now he's the proud (I hope) owner of them.

Plus he signed one for me.

Which is pretty cool really.




Monday, 12 August 2019

Just visiting.

Been away in the sunny West Midlands visiting friends and as part of my annual trip I have to pay homage at the James Whale memorial in Dudley.

And here it is.










 

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Access All Areas.

Sorry for the lack of updates of late but a mix of school holidays and the like have been taking up most of my time which at least puts paid to the myth that we're awful at parenting at least.

Anyway I recently attended/observed the Glasgow City Council Autism Aware Initiative day (which was very good - full report to follow) and this got me thinking as to what actually constitutes good Autism Aware practice and makes a venue/event Autism accessible?

As regular reader(s) - If I have any - will know the vast majority of venues I've visited/reviewed have been absolutely great - and that still holds true a year into the initiative which is pretty good going but is there a chance of places getting complacent or even worse - just doing enough to be seen to care?



The biggest bugbear of all has to be the infamous Autism friendly quiet hour so beloved by everyone from shopping centres to museums and all in between, now I've covered this before (here if you want a look) but if you can't be bothered clicking on the link then I'll quickly go over the the major issue's with this.

For one they're invariably between 9 and 10 on a Saturday - and sometimes even, ulp, a Sunday morning and yes I've said it before but part of me (the cynical bit) thinks that first thing on a Saturday morning may be a wee bit quiet anyway, so why not put this in place and get a few more punters in?

Then you have places that out of the goodness of their hearts do an Autism Hour but only have it once a month.

Can you imagine a venue that only put out the accessibility ramps once a month for an hour getting kudos for it?

Thought not.

I've attempted to talk to a couple of venues* that do this to find out why but so far none of them have wanted to talk to me, which is fair enough if not a wee bit annoying, I mean if you're only consulting with Autism agencies and not actual Autistic people and families then there's a pretty good chance that things are gonna go a wee bit awry and at the very least the service isn't going to fit, then not get used so those involved will cancel it rather than think "Hmmm....do you think we might be doing it wrong?"

Just a thought.

In my original post I kinda suggested that NT folk would have no trouble at all adjusting to change and could be quite accommodating but these replies on the BBC website would appear to contradict that notion.

And they say it's us that are the problem.

Not too surprisingly tho' the venues that do the best job of making things accessible  - Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, Tokyo Toys, The St. Enoch Centre, the GFT and The Grosvenor have shown that you don't have you don't have to throw wads of cash and the issue to fix it.

You just have to listen.

End of speech.

 On a brighter note off to the Edinburgh Fringe next week to watch/review the rather wonderful Stealth Aspies show (among others), if you get chance go see it!



















































*I'm gonna try again.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Fringe Benefits 2019.

Regular readers will no doubt know that I've got THREE shows on at this year’s fringe festival - OK I've got three posters on show) but may not be aware that there are quite a few Autastic productions on this year too.

And here they are:*





Stealth Aspies – Aspies Anonymous

Sarah, Alain, Janine, Hannah and Paul return to Edinburgh to share the life stories of other autistic people.

Stories, poems and anything – you never know.

The show is written from our online surveys and the company members' experiences.

Be moved, amused and empowered.

Meet us afterwards if you want.

Share our lives.

'The sense of community in the room is unmistakable – slang and inside jokes explode in a collective glee, and empathy buzzes in the air. Here no one need be anything other than themselves' - (AYoungerTheatre.com).

'Funny, touching and terrifically fast paced, Stealth Aspies is a brilliant chance to see like-minded (literally) folk demystifying Autism. You'll leave the venue with your head held higher. But not making eye contact obviously' - (I said this in my review last year).

More information including dates, time and venue here.


Guerilla Aspies Year Five – Not an Autism Puppet Show

The fifth year of the world unique audience autism conversion show faces new issues. The organiser of the protest outside of the Southwark Playhouse this year, Paul Wady aims to demonstrate how he is not your autistic puppet, whilst keeping the same fun and energy up.

Join in and see what happens?

Discover new politics within the global autistic underground.

Dare you change your mind and your life, and join the neuro-rebellion redefining "normal"?

What are "Neuro Elitists" and "Real Autistics" in 2019?

More information including dates, time and venue here.

Oh and here's the poster art which is really rather good.









Life of Reilly

Living in a world where people don't say what they mean or mean what they say can be tricky, and Reilly has questions.

Like why is strip lighting everywhere?

Why are disgusting smelly crisps even legal?

Why are clothes so scratchy and why don't you understand? Growing up with autism can be difficult. Growing up with autism, a stressed mother, a father in denial and a granny who believes all you need is a smacked backside is far worse... What's it like to have autism? I don't know... what's it like not to?

More information including dates, time and venue here


Hindsight

The pieces of the puzzle that make up Laura’s brain don’t seem to fit.

When the world doesn’t make sense to her, at school she is labelled problematic.

The relationships that Laura has with her mother, teacher and self, highlight that we cannot always see what is in front of us, whether barriers are circumstance or subconscious.

It takes just a moment to change everything and begin a new way of thinking.

Returning after a 2016 sell-out, Fox & Hound premiere new play Hindsight. Shortlisted for the 2016 David MacLennan writing Award.

More information including dates, time and venue here.






A random picture to break up the text.



Dummy

A comedy about the autistic spectrum.

Diagnosed at a young age with autistic spectrum disorder, American comedian Anders Lee dives headfirst into questions of education, social cues, diagnosis and what it truly means to be dumb.

Through jokes and stories, Lee reflects on his own experience growing up with an autism label as well as the dark, eugenicist history of the diagnosis itself.

More information including dates, time and venue here


50 Words
The Shipping Forecast has stopped ships becoming wrecks since 1911.

Now it helps James cope with his mother's death. James' step-father, Alan, must learn to connect with an autistic child who is his sole responsibility.

When James decides that he and Tobias, his imaginary friend, are going to travel to Scotland because of the Shipping Forecast, Alan is forced to accompany them.

A raging storm confines the pair to their rooms and forces them to listen to each other for the first time.

A complex, but touching, story about living with autism and storm warnings in Cromarty.

More information including dates, time and venue here




Fix Us

'Be strong. Keep your head up. Knock 'em dead.'

Lee has autism, Zara has CHARGE syndrome and Kirsty has Cerebral Palsy.

They eat rules, boxes and labels for breakfast.

Just wait til you meet their alter egos. Access All Areas-supported artists The BareFace Collective present Fix Us: a funny, defiant new show about three wild, wicked and wonderful individuals – and their equally outrageous stage personas. Cheeky, sexy and full of charm... BareFace show you who they really are.

More information including dates, time and venue here.



Exhibition Spectrum

Already stocking nearly 60 local and UK artists, illustrators and makers, Resident Asperger Artist, blogger and local character Garry Mckenzie has curated a unique collection of art, statements and stereotypes from his asperger and autistic followers on Instagram in which he aims to convey a better understanding of the 'Aspergers Gift'.

Being able to communicate with fellow aspies on social media has enabled Garry to recognise and reduce anti-social frustrating conduct and focus on the creative side and share that experience.

More information including dates, time and venue here

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs from 2nd of August to the 26th of August, with venues all across the city.


Outwith these shows there are also a host of relaxed performances happening at this year’s fringe. Full listings with dates and times can be found here.



*All descriptions cribbed from the festival guide.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

(Even more) Arting About.

Yup, it's one of those day job posts.

As well as the top secret cops 'n' robbers style  project I've been working on - alongside the Get Your Genki releases - There a a few shows on at the Edinburgh Festival that I produced the artwork for this year that I thought I'd (re)share here, alongside info on where to get tickets.









Both of these shows are from the utterly fantastic Emily Carding, whose audience immersive production of Hamlet I reviewed here alongside last years Stealth Aspies show, for whom this year I've producedthe art for member Paul Wady's solo production Guerilla Aspies Year Five – Not an Autism Puppet Show.





Enjoy and do go and see them!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

More Arting About...

Sorry about the lack of updates but between the school holidays and drawy-type stuff I've had precious little time to do much else....tho' I am going along to the Glasgow City Council Autism Aware Initiative training day in a few weeks so expect a write up!

Until then enjoy these commissions for for Cine-Excess XIII featuring guests of honour Jen and Sylvia Soska and Norman J. Warren.



You can see the full set (if you so desire) here.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Do Autists Dream of Electric Sheep?

Reposting because it's the anniversary of the films original release (yes I was there) and because if enough folk leave me nice comments it may be the boot up the arse I need to finish it.

Nothing like hinting for (faint) praise is there?

Well at least I'm honest.








A while back I submitted an academic paper on the fun filled idea of Ridley Scott's classic Blade Runner (1982) being the most Autistic movie ever made.

Yes, I know I need to get out more.

Anyway, turns out that although the folk concerned liked it the whole thing didn't really fit in with the conference in general so unfortunately couldn't be presented.

Me not fitting in? Imagine that!

To be honest tho' I've enjoyed the research and groundwork so much that I'm tempted to continue with it and see what happens.

And most importantly they didn't tell me it was utter rubbish and to just stick to the wee drawings which was nice!

So to that end here's a sneak peek at the introduction.





Do Autists Dream of Electric Sheep?





I was always told that it's best to start as you mean to go on, so to that end, let me begin by saying that Blade Runner is, most definitely an Autistic (of which more later) - as well as artistic obviously movie and whilst it's true that Blade Runner features absolutely no characters actually identified as having Autism spectrum disorder - but lets be honest barely any of the characters featured are actually human - it's a fact that every character on screen at some point displays recognizably Autistic traits.



The trick is how to look for them and where to see them.



And all without the aid of our own personal Voight-Kampff machines.



To do this you have to acknowledge that the usual cinematic portrayal of Autism in films such as Rain Man (Barry Levinson, 1988), The Accountant (Gavin O'Connor, 2016) or Please Stand By (Ben Lewin, 2017) are on the whole usually made with a majority Neuro-typical audience in mind, the experiences of any Autistic character shown firmly from the point of view of those who are non-autistic.



And usually solely for the purpose of the Neuro-typical character to be able to grow and become a better person by the films climax.



But Blade Runner doesn't go that route.



Blade Runner is different.



But before we go any further a quick idea of what we mean by Autistic may be useful, according to the National Autistic Society Autism is defined as:



Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.



And just to shake it up a bit the definition of a Replicant is:



A genetically engineered creature composed entirely of organic substance designed to look and act like a human being but lacking in empathy.



And it's this issue of empathy that is the most important theme of the movie as far as seeing it through an Autistic eye is concerned for as much as the films characters use this as a way to 'judge' replicants in reality the neuro-typical community too uses this vague notion to  judge, explain and sometimes marginalize members of the autistic community.



And it's the theme of marginalization, social exclusion and sometimes just blind prejudice that are not only at the films core but issues that affect autistic people every single day.

It even features in the Voight-Kampff machine a test that, when the science fiction trappings are removed is similar to the methods and questions used to diagnose ASD.

But surely it’s not just a – dreaded - sense of the familiar that has made Blade Runner into such a defining film for the neuro-diverse film-going fan?




More to come if anyone's interested.