The Rob Pruitt Art Awards began last year as the art world's answer to the big award shows that honor achievement in other artistic endeavors like the Tony Awards or the Oscars. The ceremony humorously mocks the framework of the traditional awards show by deriding and deconstructing the stage banter, nominee announcements, and airs of a glamorous event. During this year's installment of the ceremony, it seemed only appropriate to have James Franco turn the art world on its head (or throw it flat on its ass) with his musical performance.
At 10 p.m. as the awards presentation wound down--with awkward art jokes about Larry Gagosian and the like--Franco took the stage with tranny performance artist Kalup Linzy to sing Linzy's song "Asshole."
"Fuck it up," Franco crooned about the asshole in staid nonchalance, affecting a sort of Backstreet Boy hold and a smidge of vibrato.
Linzy, who actually appeared with Franco on"General Hospital," indulged in soulful singing to this sodomitically-themed ditty. Franco wore a sleeveless tuxedo shirt, and the two wore super tight pants.
They were getting cozy and sort of drifting into a closely-held waltz until she had an epiphany:
"Wait, you cannot slow dance with me to 'Asshole!''"
Though Connor has been slightly anti-Franco of late (because her father admonished her "never to trust a man with a mustache...he's hiding something), she told me that in the art world, painters actually have this infatuation with Franco for unexpected reasons. The explanation perhaps would present itself best in a syllogism:
Major premise: Artists, who often slave all night over their canvases and attend slosh fest fancy art parties, need special treatments upon waking late.
Minor premise: Soap opera's like General Hospital, in which Franco plays a serial killer named Franco, serve as excellent hangover medicine.
Conclusion: James Franco cures artists of hangovers through his soap performance.
Apparently this is an actual movement, perhaps unbeknown to the actor himself. When he went on "General Hospital" for his performance art experiment, he had not only reached out to a targeted audience of fellow artists but also provided salutary services beyond his original conception.
On stage, the mustachioed actor then began a song called "Chewing Gum."
Soon after his performance as the ceremony officially ended, a giant pop sounded as confetti rained from the ceiling.
I then beat a path to the door, only to find Franco, leaning against the wall polishing off a Perrier.
Two girls pursuing Master's degrees introduced themselves to Franco, and he smoldered--shaking their hands slowly, holding eye contact. They said they loved his performance. He said thank you. Then he asked after their studies and work in a sincere manner, and the they asked him why he had the mustache given that it was already December.
"It's not for Mo-vember," Franco smiled.
I approached and asked him what he made of the remarks host Glenn O'Brien made of the homoerotic nature of his musical performance. Does he get tired of the questions about his sexuality, and given his penchant for bending genres and dismantling boundaries in his persona, was there any validity to such suggestions?
"It's just not interesting," Franco said. "The black and white of it all; it's just not that interesting."
Franco's more concerned with his overload of grad school classes and acting roles, such as his portrayal of a mountain climber trapped in an isolated canyon in "127 Hours." The role, which required Franco to hold down almost the entirety of the movie, has been given Oscar whispers against Colin Firth's performance in "The King's Speech" and Jesse Eisenberg's performance in "The Social Network." Would he pander to the Academy constituents to pin down a trophy?
Franco, who recently got the gig as host of this year's Oscars, said the hosting role actually alleviates the worry and stress of the will-he-or-won't-he-win questions.
"A host hasn't won in 50 years," he said, "so I don't have to worry and answer questions like that."
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