Here’s how Murakami Madness! begins – 7am and a bed littered with dozens of outfits and shoes (oh, the pressure of knowing Isaac Mizrahi will be appearing on stage later). Here’s how Murakami Madness! ends – backstage after the final curtain call, drinks all around, lots of laughter and great conversation. What happens in between? Let me tell you all about it.
Soundcheck began at 6pm. It was instantly clear this was a fun group. Parker Posey was making everyone laugh with funny one liners and despite knowing it was a sold out house, everybody seemed comfortable and at ease on stage. Of course, several of the night’s participants are seasoned Shorts performers (Parker, Jane Curtin, Aasif Mandvi and Campbell Scott), but we also welcomed Miriam Silverman and Andre Holland, who fit right in. Backstage before the show, we were able to mingle with everyone, ask a few questions and gain some very valuable insight into what makes our performers tick.
Writer John Wray was on hand to speak about Haruki Murakami. John interviewed the famously reclusive (at least to press) Murakami for The Paris Review and gave us a great reveal about the man of the night. According to John, Murakami is kind of “goofy.” He reminded him of Eddie Murphy (no joke) in that he has a wonderful straight-faced guffaw. Go figure!?! There you go – Haruki Murakami has a goofy side. At this point, it was time to shine the spotlight on John. What’s his guilty pleasure? Ends up he shares one with Murakami. They both love to buy vintage albums, you know, the kicking-it-old-school vinyl kind. John did note that Murakami probably was much better able to afford this pursuit than him.
Ends up that Andre is also a guilty collector. He is so into mid-century furniture that he even has a storage unit. I asked. Really, we live in New York City. You’re lucky to have a closet in this town, never mind space to stash your furniture collection. Miriam collects yarn. I’m not sure how this is a “guilty” pleasure. Is there some S&M yarn thing I am unaware of? Forget it, don’t want to know. From Miriam’s sweet response (she really is a sweetie) we got into my kind of guilty pleasure. Parker’s admission? Take your pick: Dancing with the Stars (go Ricky!), X-Factor or Monster In-Laws. Isaac Mizrahi (who is so accessible and charming, he gives fashion a bad name) loves any of The Real Housewives – I tried to get him to pick one cast and he wouldn’t, but I still think he leans towards the Beverly Hills women. Jane Curtin may have had the best line of the night (other than Murakami’s) when asked her guilty pleasure. She responded, “Toddlers and Tiaras. But that’s not a pleasure, that’s a duty.” Isaiah claims he is totally free of guilt. Do we believe this? Jury’s still out. Poor Aasif was taken so off guard by the question it seemed to temporarily torture him. He finally settled on saying, “internet pawn.” I googled it and ends up that although internet pawn is probably just a play on “internet porn” there is, wait for it, a reality show called Pawn Stars. It all comes full circle.
Oh, did I mention the actual show? Well, that’s a whole other blog, or better yet, a radio show! Yes, great idea. I can say quickly that Murakami Madness! was one of the best Shorts I’ve been to – the stories were incredible, the performers were tremendous, and the audience on the edge of their seats. A magical night where it all came together and made for one hell of an evening.
P.S. Isaac Mizrahi was overheard telling Parker Posey he loved her shoes. Not a line we hear in the green room at Shorts very often (ever).