Coping in the digital age is an amazing thing.
A few days ago I stumbled onto a guy named Jason Alvin who had been sharing his live feeds with the Facebook Science Fiction group. I couldn’t figure out why it was being shared with the group at first, and then I couldn’t take my eyes off his show.
Let me tell you; he has built a surreal and magical show.
Each episode is called “Jason is a social scientist,” and then lists a pill number. The reason being is Jason is an HIV positive fellow. He usually takes his nightly pills while broadcasting. His topics cover everything from sexuality, to beating drug addiction, to just being happy with who you are as a person. I don’t always agree with everything he says, but I feel alright with that fact by default because he isn’t hard selling anything. He made this show to cope with his trials in life, and he doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to this fact. It’s very raw, and while he is chuckling through a topic that would be uncomfortable for most, he might also be setting up action figures, dancing around with a pasta strainer on his head or pounding on a keyboard.
He has a tiny set crammed into a corner with the camera facing out peering down on his home. In front of the view, he's set up toy cars, action figures, keychains and gamer memorabilia, which he happily rearranges throughout the show. He’ll bounce from upbeat topics to a suddenly somber message about missing his parents and then dash to the back of the room to cheer everyone up with an old timey melody played on an antique gramophone.
I’m not sure he realizes it, but he’s built an art installation that seems to be a genius representation of both the 20th century and the digital age.
While he’s coping, he’s helping his audience cope as well.
He’s often calling folks live on the air and chatting about all manner of topics all the while performing wild shenanigans. He might pause the conversation to set up a Star Trek action figure, themed rave complete with strobe lights, lasers and even fog from a vape pen. It’s not uncommon to find him pulling out a box of He-Man action figures while proclaiming that “After 34 years Skunkor still stinks! I swear I can smell him through the box.”
It’s refreshing to see someone being honest and someone coping with something that could give crippling depression to other folks. Most of his messages tend to be about positivity and happiness, and that underlying message is what seems to be drawing all of Jason's audience back to his Livestream.
I think my favorite part about the Jason is a Social Scientist show is that folks filter in through his Livestream's chat with the same experience every time. The shock of “What the hell am I watching,” is often followed by, “You remind me of Hunter S Thompson!” and people telling him how much they are enjoying his chaos. It’s such a constant occurrence that it has become a running joke to a lot of the regulars. However, these new viewers are correct. There is a raw uncut feeling here. There is honesty. Sometimes it can be a little scary, but you can tell it is coming from a good place. Jason is genuinely concerned about being true to himself and encouraging others to do the same.
I think the man is a genius. It might very well be my favorite show. A Livestream is my favorite show? It sounds nuts. Coping in the digital age is amazing and here is a case of somebody giving the rest of us hope.
If you wish to view Jason's live feeds you can find him on Facebook here:
or catch his saved feeds on Youtube at: