VAEFF 2014 opening day featured “Beauty, Sex, and Shame,” a screening of works which explore and analyze the overlap between beauty, shame, and sexuality. The program closed with “SHAME” by St. John McKay, an extremely intimate look at the artist’s most shameful moments and relationship to addiction. It was followed by a personal discussion with McKay, who discussed the inspiration for his work: while watching the 2011 film “Shame” directed by Steve McQueen, which told the story of a wealthy sex addict in NYC, McKay felt that he had much more shameful stories to tell, and that the truly shameful contains no glamour. When asked if he intended his film to give him a sense of catharsis, McKay said that his hope for the work is to give people a platform to admit and discuss their shameful moments, and that the acknowledgement of the lows that people can reach would remove the power and stigma they contain.

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