Back in the summer of 2009, while in Chicago on the very first Invisible People national road trip, I started to get tweets from a homeless woman @padschicago. Somehow Ann Marie found me and was trying to connect over twitter. At the time, Ann was one of the first homeless people I found using twitter. I frantically started replying to her trying to connect, but I wasn’t getting a response. I remember it being very frustrating because ‘normal’ people would have responded. Heck, she was the one to contact me. Then I realized that unless she had access to a real computer she was not seeing my replies. As it turns it, that was exactly the reason Ann was not responding. As soon as she was able to get to a library, which was the next day, she responded. It was a real learning experience for me and taught me to think about the challenges homeless people have with computer access and use of social media.
I also met one of my heroes during that trip, Liz Strauss. Liz has continued to love and support me and my work fighting homelessness since the day we first met. I am forever grateful. Liz started tweeting about a film director from China, Tan Siok Siok , who was in Chicago making a documentary on Twitter. I tweet out to Siok that they must meet with the homeless woman in Chicago using twitter. Well, not only did the two-person crew meet with Ann to tape her story, they put her on a Greyhound bus to join me on stage at the first 140 Conference in Los Angeles.
Too me, Twittamentary is an amazing work out art. Why I say art is because it’s more of a performance arts piece than a movie. There is something serendipitous about Twitter, and Siok almost completely crowdsourced the film using the power of Twitter. For the last few months screenings have been happening all over the world and whenever possible the cast of characters of joined the screenings via Twitter using the tag #twittamentary. It’s been amazing to participate with audiences all over the world.
Twittamentary will make its official premiere next month on 19th June at the AMC Empire 25 theatre in Manhattan, New York, as part of the annual 140 Character Conference. But you can watch it now and support three wonderful charities, one being Invisible People.
From the Twittamentary’s release:
In support of some of the more emotive themes featured in Twittamentary, ticket sales from this one month charity pre-launch will be donated to three charities nominated by the cast: Invisible People, a charity tackling the issue of homelessness; RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence network in the US; Shelter Exchange, a charity working to reduce animal euthanasia in shelters. After the NY premier on the 19th June, 30% of all future profits will also be shared with charities.
I am honored to have played some small part in this film and even more honored to call Siok and many of the cast members friends. I am grateful they documented Ann’s journey from Chicago to Los Angeles helping to change the story of homelessness. This is a really amazing movie so please if you have a blog write a post and embed the film. Watch and share and tweet about it.
Here is the the video from the first Los Angeles 140 Conference with Ann joining me on stage. This was a history making moment for many reasons. Personally, I owe a world of thanks to Jeff Pulver for inviting me to stand on the stage of the Kodak Theater. 15 years prior I was homeless selling photos of my iguana on Hollywood Blvd.