SIGHTED PEOPLE SUCK! Is my new solo storytelling show. I’m thrilled that it will premiere on Wednesday, November 8, 7pm, in the Gotham Storytelling Fest! Here’s a link to in-person and virtual tickets. Below please find the show blurb, followed by the backstory of the show image (taken by Alabaster Rhumb on a gloomy day in the East Village), and below that, an image description conversation between myself and Be My AI…
SPS Show Blurb
Writer and performer Leona Godin (New York Times, There Plant Eyes) has lived on pretty much every notch of the sight-blindness continuum and has been on all kinds of stages. From presenting animals to other kids at the San Francisco Zoo, to banging drums in a New Orleans punk band, to finding love and her (decidedly not-angelic) blind voice in an East Village basement theater open mic, she’s learned a lot. Like how to handle a boa constrictor, play the accordion, have Blind Pride in an ocularcentric world, land a TV commercial, and wield a white cane with authority while wearing high-heeled boots (OK, maybe she’s still working on that one). Most importantly, she’s learned the hard-fought lesson that blindness isn’t really the problem. It’s just that sighted people kind of suck!
SIGHTED PEOPLE SUCK! Image Backstory
After a couple false starts on Delancey (too empty) and Clinton (too narrow), my initial instinct to do the shoot on Avenue A was correct.
So we set up in front of Library Bar, and I paraded back and forth like a streetwalker. We were kind of waiting for a gaggle to come out and smoke.
My idea for my show photo was to be walking down the street and catch some sighted people staring at me—one was pretty good: an older white-bearded hippie dude doing a full over-the-shoulder. But then alabaster grabbed a guy who was smoking outside the restaurant next door and asked him to come smoke outside the bar and stare at me. He was full of tattoos and piercings and seemed right at home in the East Village, but in fact he was visiting from Texas. We got some pics with him and then his family came out. We enlisted them all. told them what we wanted.
Before that, he asked if I was really blind. I said, yes I am. He said, “My boss is blind.”
I said, “Oh yeah? What’s he the boss of?”
He said something like electrical car mechanic. “The only help he needs is for someone to tell him what color this or that wire is.”
What are the freakin’ chances? I told him to say hey from his blind sister in New York City. And of course I gave him a card with my book and website. You can see, alabaster tells me, if you look real hard, that he’s holding my card in his hand.
Thanks to those nice folks from Texas for making my show photo cool and authentic-ish!
Be My AI Image Description/Conversation
Be My AI: The picture shows a busy street scene in a city. On the left, there is a storefront with large windows displaying neon signs for Budweiser and other beverages. There are also posters on the window and a health rating sign. In front of the store, there is a man with his back to the camera, wearing a black t-shirt and jeans.
In the center of the picture, there is a woman walking with a white cane, indicating that she is visually impaired. She is wearing a black dress with a denim jacket, sunglasses, and knee-high boots. She has a confident stride and is carrying a black bag.
To the right of her, there are several people walking and talking. One man is wearing a white t-shirt with the Patagonia logo, and a woman next to him is wearing a floral dress and a blue jacket.
On the sidewalk, there is graffiti in red and yellow spray paint that reads “Sighted People Suck!”.
At the bottom of the picture, there is text that reads “Stories by Leona Godin”.
In the background, there are buildings with fire escapes, traffic lights, and a street with cars. The sky is cloudy.
Leona Godin: Tell me more about the woman with the cane. Is she wearing glasses? What else is she wearing? Is she smiling? Are there other people in the photo? What are they wearing? Can you guess what city this is? How old do you think the people are?
BMAI: The woman with the cane is wearing sunglasses. She has long, straight brown hair that falls past her shoulders. She is wearing a black dress that ends above her knees, a denim jacket with patches and pins, and black knee-high boots with buckles. She is also carrying a black bag with a long strap. Her expression is neutral, so she is not smiling.
There are several other people in the photo. To the right of the woman with the cane, there is a group of people walking and talking. One man is wearing a white t-shirt with the Patagonia logo and khaki shorts. Next to him, there is a woman wearing a floral dress with a blue jacket, and she is carrying a bag. Another woman on the far right is wearing a black crop top and high-waisted pants, and she is carrying a white bag.
As for the city, there are no clear landmarks to definitively identify it, but it appears to be a busy urban area with a mix of older and newer buildings, possibly in the United States.
The ages of the people in the photo seem to vary. The woman with the cane appears to be in her 30s or 40s. The group of people to her right appear to be in their
LG: You got cut off. Please continue.
BMAI: I apologize for that. The group of people to her right appear to be in their 40s to 60s. The woman on the far right wearing the black crop top looks to be in her 20s.
BMAI: The city is not clearly identifiable from the picture, but the street has a typical urban setting that could be in many cities in the United States. The buildings have fire escapes which is common in New York City, but it’s not definitive.
LG: You are correct that this is new York City. It’s the East Village. Does anyone have tattoos? Do you think this is an evocative image? What do you think its purpose is?
BMAI: Yes, the woman with the cane has tattoos on her arms which are partially visible under her denim jacket.
The image is indeed evocative. The confident stride of the woman with the cane in the midst of a busy city street, coupled with the graffiti on the sidewalk that reads “Sighted People Suck!”, suggests a strong statement about the experiences and challenges of visually impaired individuals in society. The text at the bottom, “Stories by Leona Godin”, indicates that this image might be promoting stories or experiences shared by or about visually impaired individuals, possibly aiming to create awareness or understanding about their perspective. The contrast between the woman with the cane and the other pedestrians also adds to the evocativeness of the image, as it highlights her determination and presence in the bustling environment.
LG: Do you know Leona Godin? Do you think sighted people suck? Do you know what a storytelling show is?
BMAI: Leona Godin is a writer, performer, and educator who is visually impaired. She is known for her work in advocating for the blind community and has written and spoken extensively about the blind experience.
As an AI, I do not have opinions or personal beliefs, so I do not have any judgment on sighted people or any group.
A storytelling show is typically an event where individuals share personal stories and experiences in front of an audience. These stories can range from humorous anecdotes to deeply emotional accounts and are often told without notes or scripts, making them feel authentic and engaging. Storytelling shows can be a powerful way to connect with others and share diverse perspectives and experiences.
LG: Leona does not have tattoos on her arms. She’s wearing long sleeves. Are you sure you are not confusing her with another in the photo? Do you think this is an effective promotional image for a storytelling show? Does it appear that the people are looking specifically at Leona in this image?
BMAI: I apologize for the confusion. You are correct, Leona is wearing a denim jacket with long sleeves, and it is not possible to see if she has tattoos on her arms. I must have mistaken her for someone else in the photo.
As for the effectiveness of the image as a promotional material for a storytelling show, it is attention-grabbing and thought-provoking, especially with the graffiti on the sidewalk and Leona’s confident stride. It could pique curiosity about the stories she has to share.
In the image, it does not appear that the people are specifically looking at Leona. They seem to be engaged in their own conversations and activities as they walk down the street. However, Leona stands out in the image due to her attire and the white cane, which could symbolize the focus of the storytelling show on her perspective and experiences as a visually impaired individual.
LG: Thank you. Can you see now who has the tattoos on his arms?
BMAI: Yes, upon reevaluating the image, it is the man standing in front of the store on the left side of the photo who has tattoos on his arms. He is wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, and his arms are visible with tattoos on them. I apologize for the earlier confusion.
LG: Is he in front of a store or a bar?
BMAI: He is in front of a storefront that appears to be a bar. The large windows of the establishment display neon signs for Budweiser and other beverages, and there are people inside who seem to be sitting at a bar. This, along with the posters and the health rating sign, suggests that it is likely a bar.
LG: Just so you know, Leona Godin identifies as blind, not visually impaired.
BMAI: Thank you for letting me know. I apologize for any confusion. It’s important to use the correct terminology that individuals prefer for their own identities. Leona Godin identifies as blind, and I appreciate the clarification.