Folks who have been involved with the radical mental health movement for a while are likely familiar with filmmaker Ken Paul Rosenthal’s work. His film Crooked Beauty has helped to tell the story of The Icarus Project by weaving Jacks McNamara’s personal narrative with poetically visualized images of a stunning and broken world that is ever-striving to heal itself. Inspired by Bonfire Madigan Shive, one of the original catalysts of The Icarus Project, whose voice, music, and being helped to galvanize the vision of an international network of wild-hearted explorers of the space between brilliance and madness, Rosenthal is setting the roaring intricacies of Madigan’s voice and cello compositions to the larger landscape of a boldly soaring, crashing and trembling world.
This week for Throwback Thursday I'm digging up a classic piece by Leah Harris, who now works for the National Empowerment Center and just wrote this piece, Defeating Goliath: Mental Health is a Social Justice Issue, for Mad in America about defeating the Murphy Bill.
Here she is, in the younger days of Icarus, 2004, when we were to carve space for language that didn't just define us in opposition to psychiatry, but allowed us to express our beauty and solidarity. I recently slept on Leah's couch and it was awesome to catch up with her after a bunch of years. She's doing great work these days, just like she hoped she would be doing. Mad love, Sascha.
This week for Throwback Thursday I’m dredging up an old post from when I was the Icarus representative at a SAMHSA meeting in Washington DC and we made a bunch of new movement friends. This was around the time of our 5th anniversary and we were in the midst of a lot of interesting organizing on college campuses, working out of the office at Fountain House in New York City, and using the language of Mad Ones and Mad Pride a whole lot. Icarus has always managed to stay on the outside of the government money non-profitworld, trading some amount of legitimacy and exposure for keeping our messages radical. This is an interesting post because it documents the confluence of a bunch of activists who have yet to end up in the same room again. I wonder what the future holds?
Back in the early days of Icarus, Jacks and I compiled all kinds of brilliant musings and visions from Icarus Project community forum members. We were trying to chart new territory beyond the biopsychiatric model, elevate the voices of so-called “mad” people into a chorus for change. This blog post was originally published in our book, Navigating the Space between Brilliance and Madness, and it seems like a fitting start to a weekly series of pulling up (sub)cultural gems from the depths of our website up into the topsoil of 2014. Enjoy it! Repost it! If you recognize your words in the mix please get in touch and share your more recent stories and thoughts with us. This is our community history!
Imagine you are standing with your head poking out of a little tent, alone in an enormous open clearing, in the middle of a raging hurricane. There’s almost no space to hear yourself think over the wind. At the edge of the clearing, far away, the wind knocks down trees and power lines. The storm is so vast and loud you can’t hear your own voice over the pummeling noise, because the wind whips the words out of your mouth before you utter them.