Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fame Games

By Liz Rice, Education and Community Engagement Intern

The Goodman and season opener Red met by way of Hollywood Monday night, as the theater was swarmed by Collaboraction paparazzi (left) for the first 2011/2012 CONTEXT event, The Price of Fame. Attendees were greeted by flashing bulbs and jarring questions that delved into their personal lives—upcoming projects, and of course, who they were wearing. Rumors abounded as whispers that Brad Pitt’s mistress was attending, though nobody seemed to sight her, and that Steven Spielberg was picking up everybody’s next script.

Gracing the theater was Chicago-based Collaboraction’s Artistic Director, Anthony Moseley, former Goodman intern and current Collaboraction Assistant Artistic Director, Kristin Idaszack, and Goodman-commissioned playwright Carlyle Brown. Brown’s play Dartmoor Prison opens at the Goodman on October 13, as the first show in Goodman’s New Stages Amplified series. Guests mingled with prominent artists as DJ Jonathan Marks energized the room to the sound of Amy Winehouse and Ratatat. Excitement overflowed as the evening’s panel of speakers arrived. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot arrived from WBEZ’s Sound Opinions, along with Charna Halpern of the Chicago-based improv theater iO. Drawing from Mark Rothko’s views on fame and suicide, and the present-day aftermath of Amy Winehouse’s recent death, the panel discussed pressures of fame and how, mixed with assorted vices, it has been a major factor in the premature deaths of many talented artists. Among people discussed were Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain and legendary Saturday Night Live actor Chris Farley. Our panelists also touched upon the likes of Jeff Tweedy of Chicago’s own Wilco and comedian Andy Dick who, while still living, have also struggled with fame, alcohol, and drug abuse.

Audience members were given their own opportunity to discuss, questioning how we as fans, friends, and family can keep artists of the future from such fates. As the evening drew to a close, guests left with a new found firsthand understanding of “celebrity” and an appetite for more CONTEXT events to come. Keep your eyes peeled for another event this January!

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