Bill Shannon’s path, from childhood “cripple” to international provocateur, is not a “triumph over adversity” narrative. It’s a transformational story that inspires audiences to abandon assumptions about people with disabilities—and realize that all humans have crutches … some are just invisible.
Please join us on May 18th at 5:00 p.m. MSK for a free screening of Crutch, which documents Bill Shannon’s extraordinary journey from his early years to his rise as an award-winning dancer.
Following the film screening, please tune in to a live Q&A with film directors and producers Chandler Evans (Vayabobo) and Sachi Cunningham, and Bill Shannon — artist and actor in this film. The Q&A session will be moderated by Elizabeth Pringle.
17:00-18:40 MSK / 10:00 a.m. -11:40 a.m. EDT – Crutch: Documentary Film Screening
18:40-19:40 MSK / 11:40 a.m. -12:40 p.m. EDT – Crutch: Panel Discussion and Q&A
Synopsis and trailer
Two decades of exclusive access, plus a lifetime of archival footage, depict Bill Shannon from his early years to his rise as an award-winning dancer and cutting-edge performance artist whose work finds outlet at prestigious venues worldwide.
CRUTCH documents Bill’s extraordinary journey: the history of his medical odyssey and his struggles with chronic pain, the evolution of his crutch dancing and skating, his rise to become a world-renowned performance artist, and his transformation from an angry skate punk to an international hero.
CRUTCH also dives into Bill’s provocative street performances, in which he exposes the hidden world of assumptions disabled people encounter in public, on a daily basis. While the film questions his early exploitation of strangers’ good Samaritan impulses, it also marvels at Bill’s ability to create solutions and empower others to navigate similar challenges.
From childhood “cripple” to international provocateur, CRUTCH is an emotional story of a one-of-a-kind artist’s struggle to be understood.
About the guest speakers:
Chandler Evans (Vayabobo) is a writer/director, whose award-winning videos have garnered over 150 million views online. Vayabobo wrote Visions of Everest, a feature length documentary about the only blind man to summit Mount Everest and has written for TV shows on CBS, Syfy and CW. His work in advertising includes directing commercial spots for companies such as Disney, Singapore Airlines, Hamilton Beach, and KB Homes. Most recently, Vayabobo produced, wrote, and directed Crutch, an award-winning feature length documentary about performance artist Bill Shannon — a breakdancer and skateboarder on crutches (now playing on Discovery+). When not working, you can catch Vayabobo playing and documenting Capoeira around the world.
Sachi Cunningham is a filmmaker, water surf photographer, and Associate Professor of Multimedia Journalism at San Francisco State University. Her award-winning work has taken her from the deserts of Iraq to the shores of the Amazon for outlets including PBS Frontline, The NY Times, LA Times, and top surf magazines. Her most recent film, Crutch is a feature length documentary that chronicles the gravity defying life of Bill Shannon, an internationally renowned artist, breakdancer and skate punk—who uses crutches, now screening on Discovery+. Cunningham holds a B.A. from Brown University and an M.J. from UC Berkeley. A mental health advocate, cancer survivor and mother, she lives with her family on Ohlone Territory also known as San Francisco, CA.
Bill Shannon is an interdisciplinary artist, inventor and maker who explores body-centric work through video installation, sculpture, drawing, linguistics, sociology, choreography, and dance. Bill has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, a Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship in Performance Art, and a United States Artist Fellowship in Dance. Bill has received three NEA Multidisciplinary Arts Awards and worked as a choreographer on the creative team behind Cirque Du Soleil’s “Varekai.” Shannon’s latest solo work, “Maker Moves” 2022 delves into the history of his practice as a maker of objects and modifier of crutches as it relates to his evolution of dance moves on crutches. Shannon’s can be seen accessed online through a feature length documentary Crutch available for streaming on Discovery+, additionally dancing in a short dance film on Nowness social platforms and multiple videos on YouTube including the viral music video by Joey Garfield for RJD2’s seminal track “Work It Out.” Currently Shannon resides in Pittsburgh, PA working independently on a range of self-produced creative projects.
About the moderator:
Elizabeth Pringle’s career spans theatre and film, arts and media education, digital gaming, and professional development. She is a professional playwright/lyricist, actress, and director. Ms. Pringle has written and directed plays, film scripts, musicals, and operas, as well as adapting full-length operas, zarzuelas, and Latin song compilations. Along with an ongoing career in theatre and arts education, she pioneered digital media projects with the international broadcaster, MHz Networks where she created The Shortie Awards: International Student Film Festival and the EAT Program (Education Arts Technology), the first arts and media program to receive an Innovation and Improvement grant from the Department of Education. She built the festival from a regional program to a global education/media initiative. Ms. Pringle has worked with special needs and people with disabilities in both theatre and media. As an actor and playwright, she helped select plays and perform in the Very Special Arts Playwright Discovery program. In media, she curated broadcast programming for special education teachers as well as professional development programming on people with disabilities for classroom teachers. She has consulted, on marketing and development, with Open Circle Theatre, a Washington, DC theatre that promotes careers in the arts for people with disabilities. She continues to work with differently abled populations through The Good Listing Project, as a Listener Poet, and The Theatre Lab in the Life Stories program.
The event is in English with open captions in Russian.
To learn about the film Crutch, go to the film’s website.
ALL AMERICAN CENTER IN MOSCOW EVENTS ARE FREE OF CHARGE / ВСЕ МЕРОПРИЯТИЯ АМЕРИКАНСКОГО ЦЕНТРА В МОСКВЕ БЕСПЛАТНЫ
This event will be livestreamed on the American Center in Moscow’s YouTube channel, VK group, and Telegram channel.
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