It's probably no startling revelation that a lot of us are fascinated by pop culture icons, their performances and their eccentricities. This curiosity ranges from simply having favorite actors and musicians, whose work we follow and whose occasional creative failures we might forgive, to a more addictive fascination with their private lives, if popularity of magazines like OK! or bloggers like Perez Hilton is any indication. The more artistically inclined among fans turn to their craft to express their fascination with entertainment icons. (LA based Gallery1988, for instance, has made its stock-in-trade to showcase art remixing and riffing on pop culture iconography.)
To my knowledge, however, there hasn't been a show quite as massive and solely focused on one celebrity as the upcoming tribute to Nicolas Cage -- he of the snakeskin jacket, but definitely not the bees -- taking place at Balançoire this weekend. What started as a cheeky idea and an online call for submissions has since snowballed into an event that currently has over a thousand RSVPs and seems to have reached the ears of the actor himself.
Nicolas Cage has had quite a career, and I certainly appreciate how relentless he is in the pursuit of his craft, oscillating wildly between critically acclaimed roles and questionable, eyebrow-raising choices. Cage wowed us in Wild at Heart, Moonstruck, and Matchstick Men, left our jaws and hearts on the floor in Leaving Las Vegas, and then left us grimacing with some, uh, less than stellar projects (Season of the Witch, anyone?). Sometimes his intensity simmers under the surface, and sometimes he lets it all out. The point is, even though I am not a fan with capital F, Nicolas Cage is very much a part of my pop culture knowledge. This is clearly something I share with Ezra Croft, the curator of the upcoming exhibit, who felt there was something to be mined in our collective fascination with the actor.
I've been acquainted with Ezra for a number of years, and he's always had a mischievous, irreverent sense of humor. Although our paths haven't crossed in quite a while, when I learned about the show, I knew I had to pick his brain a little bit, and so we caught up via e-mail.
KQED Pop: I know your idea for the event was to host an art show that was playful and fun, but why Nicolas Cage, specifically?