Monday, March 01, 2010

The Jackie Look

In The Jackie Look, famed performance artist Karen Finley plays an angry, bitter version of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, back from the dead. (Jackie doesn't overtly mention that she knows she's dead, but it's clear she does.) Using projected photographs and visits to relevant websites, this Jackie offers a presentation on how the media--and the public--fed on her fame and the frequent tragedies she suffered, while ignoring her actual accomplishments. Finley's point is legitimate, but not new or remarkable, and while she provides some deeply emotional moments, the piece is overlong and disjointed. The most interesting parts of the evening, for me, were the sections that she read from pages on music stands, but she zipped through them so quickly and awkwardly that it was hard to digest her words. Fewer words, more accessibly presented, would have been more powerful. I also think that Finley is arguably guilty of the exact sin she's finding in others--using Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for her own ends.

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