I had recently moved to New York as one of those youthful artistic types. Now I could go see all of the art I am supposed to all go see. I am unemployed , and Performa 11 is happening. I make a few attendance decisions, and then am quickly overwhelmed. I then see the name James Franco.
There have been moments in my life when I had a dire to urge to have a conversation. The piece was “Three Performances in Search of Tennessee Williams”. Tennessee Williams also happens to be one of my favorite vehicles for tormented Old Hollywood icons playing totally messed up but totally fabulous characters. I mean I did leave a shift at work once to go down the street for a screening of “BOOM”.
(it was worth it)
I digress-James Franco. Oh yeah . So, James Franco at Performa it is.
^ JAMES FRANCO ^
CRAP! SOLD OUT!!! Of course. Good thing I believe in wait lists (and have worked at a box office).
Good think I didn’t have a job and nothing else to do.
I waited in line while reading a book called “Guilty Pleasures”. The theater was smaller than I had expected. A group of young adolescent girls fully emerged in the depths of tween fandom sat in front of me. For a moment I felt superior to them, and then I realized how much they reminded me of myself at that age.
There was a “séance” with Tennessee but I got pissed off because it was hard to try to pretend to channel a dead person wither camera flashes are going off all the time. I mean, I just wanted to have a pretend moment with Mr Williams, that’s all. The second act of the performance contained auditions for “the Glass Menagerie” in which girls had to audition with a recorded performance of James Franco while Franco and Nakadate watched. It was hard not to notice the irony, or rather maybe appropriateness of the dozens of cellphones repeatedly being elevated to snap photos of Franco. After I got over my ex-usher theater freak out about cellphones at a show, I realized it was kind of the point. Partially for the sake of art, and partially for an underlying instinct to document celebrity, and partly for my teenage self, I raised my hand, smartphone enclosed, and snapped an awkward photo of James Franco and Rachel Nakadate.
I posted it to my twitter and facebook, trying to play it semi-coyly. I may have removed it from my facebook wall out of some shame of my actions. Thus..there are no likes. No comments. I guess I totally didn’t take this photo for the sake of art.
I left “Three Performances in Search of Tennesssee” feeling conflicted. I wondered if I would have gotten more out of the piece if I had a more comprehensive Tennessee knowledge, at least, one that exceeds just Old Hollywood film adaptations. I left knowing there was probably an opportunity to find and talk to James, given all the times I’ve had the burning desire to do so. Yet, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to say to him.. Parts of the piece I found powerful. Parts of the piece I was dubious about. Parts just left me blank. I then thought of all the teenage girls swarming James. That’s when I decided I would hit that cool looking donut place I saw on the way over. I then squeezed myself into another line, not of teenage girls, but of Sunday morning New Yorkers and tourists demanding gourmet donuts. I waited. I ordered my donut and started walking back towards Brooklyn. It was one of the best damn donuts of my life.