Set in an urban fairytale, DeShawn (an unlikely anti-hero) is smack dabbing in the middle of a peculiar crossroads. He is haunted by the ghosts of 100 men (ex-"boyfriends" for one and also the ghosts of everyone they dated too.) His days are filled with spiraling epiphanies and lucid reckless Bohemianism fueled by systemic poverty and HIV ennui. In this particular sketch he is relating his philosophy of the world to an unknown caller on his land line telephone whilst magically shrink fitting his new Levi's jeans that he recently shoplifted from Macy's...
Commissioned in 2017 as part of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, a program of seven videos prioritizing Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS.
About the artist
Brontez Purnell has been publishing, performing, and curating in the Bay Area for over ten years. He is the author of Fag School, The Cruising Diaries and Johnny Would You Love Me If . . . (My Dick Were Bigger), the frontman for his band “The Younger Lovers,” and founder of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company (BPDC). The company’s founders, Brontez Purnell and Sophia Wang, build works that combine punk rock subversion, free jazz improvisation and a company comprised of movers and artists of all disciplines. Purnell has recently turned from music and dance to writing in order to use his own sex life and his incisive voice as an artist living with HIV to paint a vivid portrait of a sex life in the San Francisco Bay Area now. His new illustrated book, The Cruising Diaries, continues Purnell’s tradition of DIY literary and performing art. Purnell lives and works in Oakland, CA.
︎ Artist Statement
︎ Kenyon Farrow on 100 Boyfriends Mixtape (The Demo)
︎ Watch a conversation with Brontez Purnell, Tourmaline, and Tiona Nekkia McClodden at the Whitney Museum of American Art