Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom Film

Directed by Jay Corcoran

Rock Bottom FilmRock Bottom follows the journeys of seven gay men struggling with meth addiction and recovery against a backdrop of an emerging second wave of HIV infection. From grappling with the drug’s effects on their physical and mental health to wrestling with their darkest sexual desires, Rock Bottom delivers a chilling portrait of a community in crisis. With an unflinching eye the film captures their stories over a two-year period, from sex clubs to hospitals to family gatherings. It takes enormous courage to face these demons, and even more to allow the world to watch.

Why do they do it? Why are so many gay men, in their 20s, 30s, even 40s, men with good jobs, good friends, men in committed relationships, falling prey? These men who on paper seem to have it all, why are so many risking everything for sex? Hot, uninhibited sex. Group sex. Unsafe sex. Crystal Sex.

At blinding speed, Crystal is ushering in a new generation of HIV infection, along with a host of other life-destroying attributes. Unlike HIV alone, Crystal destroys the professional, financial and personal lives of gay men, often in a matter of months. The psychological attributes of Crystal addiction often create self-destructive behavior that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for friends and family, or even professionals, to help. And the numbers are frightening. Anecdotally, more than 1/3 of new HIV infection can be attributed to Crystal use, and new HIV infection rates are rising at historically high rates in the gay community.

In November, 2003, the communities indifference and silence took its toll on AIDS activist and recovering crystal meth addict, Peter Staley. Spending $6,000 of his own money to come up with a campaign that was featured on Verizon phone booths in Chelsea, he created image of 6-packed ab club boy, his face obscured by a mirror disco ball, emblazoned with the words, Buy Crystal, get HIV Free! Finally people had to pay attention.

Rock Bottom shows Peter Staley as he attempts to wake the New York gay community and New York City Health officials up from their complacency coma of the past decade. We watch Staley on his Herculean effort on telling the gruesome story of meth addiction to the world at large.

We’ll also meet Raymond, 47, a successful graphic artist from Minnesota. Introduced to meth by his last boyfriend, he lost his job, home and the patience of many friends and family in just two years. When we’re introduced to him, he is hooked up to an IV in Cabrini Hospital, debilitated from a staph infection as a result of his injection use.

Next is J., 28, HIV-. A singer/songwriter living in New York for the last decade he recently made a splash on the club circuit performing his new single about drugs and sex. He claims that his life really started taking off in August, 2004, when he tried crystal for the first time, got a gold card to the popular New York nightclub, Roxy, and starred in two adult videos for Michael Lucas of Lucas Entertainment.

Rock Bottom Press 



Directed by Jay Corcoran

UndetectableUndetectable is a feature documentary, following for three years six Boston residents on the new multi-drug therapies for HIV disease. The film examines the complex physical and psychological effects of the treatment on three women and three men of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and the importance of AIDS education and advocacy within both the gay and poor and minority communities. It was broadcast on PBS, Independent Lens.

Undetectable looks to the next stage of the AIDS crisis: how many of those affected deal for the first time with hope, and how the fortunate number who respond to the drugs face both a grueling treatment regimen and the challenge of rebuilding their lives during a reprieve from what was formerly a death sentence. For many there are devastating side effects; a third cope with the desperation and frustration that accompanies the lack of any response.

Above all, the film looks to the changing face of the epidemic, posing difficult questions about the readiness of both the AIDS support community and the unaffected larger world to contend with the changing demographics of the disease. For the first time since the beginning of the U.S. epidemic, the number of new cases among Blacks and Hispanics have surpassed that among Whites. Coinciding with the appearance of the expensive new therapies, this development suggests that the politics of AIDS will be more and more racially and ethnically charged.


“A pungent social mosaic that in slicing across boundaries of sex, class and ethnicity has moments of heartbreaking intimacy… Besides being a powerful human document, the film is a reminder that AIDS miracle drugs are no quick fix and that the end of the epidemic is not in sight.”
Stephen Holden, New York Times

Jon Matsumoto, Variety

“So moving and powerful because it reminds us how rarely we look into the human face of AIDS..The strength of the film is its simplicity.”
Loren King, Boston Globe

Critic’s Choice
John Leonard, New York Magazine

Critic’s Choice, Boston Magazine

Life and Death on the A-List


Directed by Jay Corcoran

A-listThis striking documentary by New York actor and playwright Jay Corcoran, details the life and death of Tom McBride, a New York actor and model dying of Progressive Multi-focal Leucoencephalopathy (PML), an AIDS-related brain disease.

McBride’s “All-American” good looks made him a familiar face in television commercials, print ads and films through the ’70s and ’80s. He even became that most emblematic of masculine images: the Winston man. For many gay men, McBride became an icon exemplifying life on the “A-List” — the whirl of sex, drugs, theme parties, and summers on Fire Island that made New York’s gay scene famous. But McBride’s glamorous life was stalked by his sexual obsession and compulsive drive.

Corcoran’s film takes an unsparing look at one man’s relationship to his beautiful body and how he copes with its disintegration. More profoundly, LIFE AND DEATH ON THE A-LIST is about us: our bodies, our fantasies, our dreams of sexual fulfillment. Tom McBride is a fallible, tragic hero pointing the way to a more humane vision of how we all — gay and straight — might view our lives, bodies, and the endless possibilities of life.


“This intimate view of an unrepentant sexual adventurer raises tough questions about personal values, vanity and the emphasis on beauty in the fast lane of New York gay life.”
Stephen Holden, New York Times, Critics Choice

“Wrenching, …wryly humorous and unflinching.”
Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times, Critics Choice

“Absolutely enthralling.., leaves you breathless at the range and depth with which it tackles the power of the libido, issues of gay self-hatred, and the use of sex to conquer, degrade and compensate for rejection in other areas of life.”
Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly, Critics Choice

“Painfully honest… riveting.”
Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe, Critics Choice