Looking for an inspiring movie to watch on Netflix? Look no further than Crip Camp, the documentary that takes us to the birthplace of the Disability Rights Movement, New York's now-defunct Camp Jened.
Through original footage shot when the camp was in session from the '50s through 1977, and then in interviews that follow the former campers into what their lives are like today, we get to reconstruct the early days of a movement not many people know about, and how this group of individuals fought tirelessly for their rights.
And while we get to catch up with some of the campers at the end of the documentary, many viewers are curious what happened to Al Levy. Keep reading to learn about Crip Camp's Al Levy.
The 'Crip Camp' documentary is told and directed by former camper Jim LeBrecht.
Co-director and occasional narrator Jim LeBrecht's experience is our entryway into Crip Camp. Born with spina bifida, Jim attended public school and spent his summers at Camp Jened, where "everybody had something going on with their body," as he explains.
Through his eyes, we get to meet many of the characters at the forefront of the Disability Rights Movement, including legislator Judith Heumann and activist Ann Cupolo-Freeman.
Then, we get to return to the campgrounds at the very end of the movie with him and Denise Sherer-Jacobson, in a sort of full circle moment that also lets us know where so many of the campers we meet over the course of the two-hour documentary are today.
So, where is Al Levy from 'Crip Camp'?
We meet Al Levy as one of the cigarette-smoking music-loving Dead Heads that Jim was drawn to befriending at camp. From the get-go, he's altruistic, eloquent, and hilarious.
"When thinking about it rationally," he says at one point in the doc when the whole camp is scrambling to get rid of a case of crabs at Jened, "I realized that I don't itch. So there's no need for me to disinfect. My wheelchair doesn't itch, and neither does my bed, my mattress, or my roommate Bruce."
Yet, the whole camp is "in the process of dehumanization," he continues. "You know, how would you like to have somebody wash your balls? Right, I can do it for myself so, you know, I don't really care. But there are other people who can't. You know, and they have to have it done for them," he continues. "You know, people around here feel small enough most of the time, and when somebody has to scrub their balls, they probably feel even smaller."
Al, who many other campers knew as Alec, passed away in 1997. In a Facebook group where former campers share photos of their times at Camp Jened, many clamored around a photo of Al as a teen to sing his praises.
"I spent a lot of time with Alec at camp and have thought of him often," one former camper writes. "He had balls... never held back from letting his opinions be known. I'm surprised to hear that he lived that long — I hope he had a good quality of life."
Ann Cupolo-Freeman went on to add that he lived in El Cerrito, Calif. until he died.
His legacy lives on, along with many of his former campers in Crip Camp, now streaming on Netflix.