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Name: The City of Grand Rapids
Occupation: second-largest city in Michigan
Last Seen: southwest Michigan
Bee-otched For: female nudity = no, jizz-soaked paintings = a-ok---
Right now: only five words are on my mind:
Thank God ArtPrize is over.
For those outside of Grand Rapids, ArtPrize is the yearly competition created by the great and almighty Devos family (Amway) to bring business and tourism to the great little town of 190,000 that's been called by Newsweekthe 10th dying city in America. Each year, hundreds of artists display their art in hopes of getting $250,000, or a flash in the pan to the Devoses.
IMHO, ArtPrize is very overhyped and once it's over, a smile is proudly displayed on my face. It makes me want to move back to Traverse City, where their big arts festival, the Traverse City Film Festival isn't run by a billionaire and actually shows stuff that's entertaining.
Not to mention, as far as I know, their venues aren't soaked in jism.
One of the entries in ArtPrize was the painting shown above entitled "Live Positive" by a man named EA Conner, who is HIV-positive. The paintings of a scorpion, red ribbon and biohazard symbol are of symbols many HIV-infected people have tattooed on them that symbolize their infection. I will admit, it's a nice painting. The colors are vivid, yet dark to show the pain people with HIV have.
But, there's a problem: the painting is a mixture of acrylics... and Mr. Conner's HIV-infected semen.
The paintings hang inside Rumors Nightclub on 69 S. Division here in Grand Rapids, which serves the GLBT community (I went there a few times.... When it was Stooges 10 years ago). The paintings themselves have raised a few eyebrows for the fact that they were made from HIV-infected sperm, but many feel that they have spread something else: a positive message.
Conner himself says that HIV is no longer a death sentence and people with the disease are living longer, healthier lives thanks to medicine. People died of AIDS after only a few years a long time ago. Hell, name one famous person with HIV/AIDS who died recently. Magic Johnson has had HIV for over 20 years and is just as healthy as he was back then.
OK, so why I'm I pissed over a jizz-soaked painting? It's really not about HIV; as a matter of fact, HIV can't survive very long outside the human body. It's the fact that, well, it's a painting made from a guy's semen and it's displayed in a restaurant. There has to be a health repercussion regarding jizz in a place people eat.
You see, I'm pissed that it's OK to display a painting made from infected ejaculate, but a young hot chick can't expose her privates in front of a guy in the city. Why? Yep, it's the Devoses. It's a well-known rumor that they were in bed with the old Dutch bitch Judy Rose who challenged the city's strip club laws in 2006. After all, Rose herself appeared in a TV ad for Dick Devos when he (thankfully) unsuccessfully ran for governor that year.
Grand Rapids needs to get its shit in order. It's sad that nobody will get fined about a series of jizz-stained paintings, but one mm of ariola will get a woman severely fined. Wonderful. Thanks, but I think I'll avoid Rumors. The last thing I need are a bunch of dudes hitting on me. I already have that problem at all other bars in town already. :/
But hey! WOOD-TV's got a new set! ArtPrize is good for something....
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