CSW Honors The Tweakers Project

January 30, 2015

Christopher Street West would like to recognize the numerous individuals who have given their passion and soul to this amazing cause.

The film is based on this book by Wehoan Frank Sanello.

“The Tweakers Project” is film depicting real stories from real lives in an effort to motivate real change by bringing this silent addiction out of the closet. Crystal Meth is a dangerous and life threatening epidemic with a 90% relapse rate in the first year for those attempting to break from its hold.

The courageous and poignant detail to which this dedicated team captures the stories, testimonies and tragic loss of affected community and family members, is creating a dialogue for education and awareness.

This subject is being brought to the screen with distribution of this film to be provided at no cost to those who desperately need to see it. No advice, no preaching and no judgment…just a hope that every person touched by Crystal Meth sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you Jimmy Palmieri, Sue Sexton, Yvette Sotelo and participating individuals for the sacrifice and courage it has taken to make this project a reality!

Jimmy Palmieri (l) and Robin Tyler accepting a check from Wells Fargo Bank Corporation for Tweakers.

Following is a re-print of an article done over a year ago when the project first began. In it, Jimmy Palmieri describes the film and the motivation behind its making.

What IS the Tweaker Project? By Jimmy Palmieri

Co-sponsoring this project is the city of West Hollywood through an initiative by now-Mayor John Duran and unanimously approved by the entire city council. They are providing the much needed “In-kind” assistance, and community support.

Also being extremely generous on this front is Christopher Street West, the organization that puts together our enormous Los Angeles Gay Lesbian Transgender and Queer Pride Festival every year.

Sponsored by Crescent Heights United Methodist Church – Click Here To Find Out More About This Historically Important Institution.

They are a non profit, and are assisting The Tweaker Project, with support such as a filming booth this year, in which any and all festival participants will be welcomed to come by and have us film them, and their experiences with this drug, and how it has impacted the lives of them and those they love.

Jimmy Palmieri. Photo by Ryan Gierach.

They also will be providing craft services during the shoot, along with an actual larger screening tent with a sound system and projector at next years Pride festival, so everyone in attendance can view this film for free. Thanks to Chris Clarkin, this process has been a pain free experience.

Kudos must be given to Robin Tyler, Executive director of the Women’s Cultural Arts Association for not only co-executive producing this with me, but having the vision to make this film the focus of her non profits outreach program, thereby allowing us to make this as a non profit piece, made simply for the community, by the community.

Some of the talent involved in this production range from Golden Globe winner, veteran actress Elizabeth Ashley, who has told me she has had many friends involved in this quagmire and is only too happy to join forces with us.

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International favorite drag impresario Miss Coco Peru is also playing a role, that has been specifically written for her witty delivery, being both sarcastic and funny, yet loaded with pertinent information. Local radio personality Harrison of “Harrison on the Edge” will be joining in the film, making his message come through loud and clear, in true Harrison style.

One of the film’s actors, Hunter Lee Hughes, plays a relapsed tweaker. Photo by Jimmy Palmieri.

Adult entertainment legend Kevin Kramer will lend his personal story dealing with meth, and openly gay, accomplished young actor Hunter Lee Hughes will be lending his talents as victim of this drug. Ivy Bottini, a mainstay in our community’s battle against inequity will be acting as a grandmother who has lost a grandchild to the world of meth. She helped us in the battle against HIV and the near-octogenarian jumped in to help us in the battle against crystal meth.

Writers and behind the scenes talent involve award winning author Zsa Zsa Gershick, award winning playwright and President of the Tom of Finland Foundation, Dan Berkowitz, veteran character actor and writer Neil Elliot, and author and journalist Dan Cullinane.

The music for this film will be written and scored by non other than Brian Grillo, the front man of the internationally famous, defunct band Extra Fancy. Brian led them with his tribal like vocals, and roughhouse performance on a roller coaster to success, always being true to himself. He always was openly gay and openly HIV positive and has become a role model of sorts.

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I truly hope to see all of you at “The Tweakers Project” tent at CSW this year, so you can say a few words to our camera, and let the world know of your experiences with this drug, and how it may have touched your life or that of a loved one. And let’s hope that those who haven’t found a way out of this nightmare will indeed find their way to a healthier way of living.

About the author: Jimmy Palmieri is a proud member of the West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB), is the host to the West Hollywood gay issues talk show “Time Out” on channel 36 and is chair of the lgbtq youth subcommittee of the LGAB.

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