May
Arte PoveraGo to Page 1 Page two, you are here go to page three Link to Reed Mag  Home download a .pdf file of Reed Magazine

 

José was born in Gary, Indiana, and came to Reed on a scholarship. His father died when he was seven. His relationship with his mother was never easy. "He was very lonely as a child," says Akemi. His mother refused to accept that her son was gay. Among José's spiritual, aesthetic, and political mentors were Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Bergman, Fellini, and Marcus Garvey.

José had incredible loyalty to friends, and they to him. Their kindness sustained him more than once; they loaned him money and he slept on the floors of their apartments. He also worked menial jobs— dishwashing and clerking, ushering--to survive. Homelessness was not just a fear, but often a reality.

 

 

Letter, 1988

I remain homeless and penniless. I have applied for money but it will be some time before I know. I still want a place in the Philippines to live and work and video tape. Perhaps I shall perform "Where the Moon Goes" here in New York in October and a festival of various groups here at a later date and in Denmark, Asia, and elsewhere. At the moment my life is poetry as each day is a surprise in and of itself that I have lived at all. Recently I have met strangers and become friends. Friends have become better friends. But I remain plagued by the lack of money.

 


Letter, 1988

The art climate here sucks. No money, no art. Obscenity having become a new cause is having more success. Real and unique work is very hard to find and without patronage such as the Philip Morris company, a supporter also of Senator Jesse Helms—it's an impossible situation.

Jose Brown in a fanciful costume

 

Tom Weiting, Mathematics 211, “Introduction to Analysis”

 

Journal entry, 1988

Last dollar buying a bad coffee in a bad coffee shop 6th and 14th street sitting on a tiny uncomfortable stool. No place to live. No options. Ridiculous but true. Must leave New York, but I have four performances scheduled. I have classes scheduled too but . . . . April—cold still— something not correct. A struggle. What do I do next? I have a job in Berlin in June. What do I do here? I must have an answer. I cannot move. Hitchhike--where? Fight. How? What action?


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