"" Writer's Wanderings: Love, Janis

Friday, January 06, 2006

Love, Janis

Janis Joplin and James Dean. I will never understand the need to esteem them. James Dean was just getting his career started when he died tragically--0nly three movies, albeit in one year and with two academy award nominations--but he has become a Hollywood icon. Maybe that's because he didn't have time to make a continuing success of his life...or a mess of his life as so many actors have done.

Last night we went to the musical, Love, Janis. We left at intermission. I didn't appreciate the psychedelic music when I was in college at the time and my tastes haven't changed. Besides, it's TOO LOUD! I could have sat through the music (my fingers were in my ears to reduce volume--Bob hates when I do that). And I would have sat through the music if the story was intriguing or compelling but it was the story of a girl gone wild in pursuit of...well, I'm not sure. I thought it was great music but as the story unfolded I couldn't tell if it was the music or the high she got from the recognition and the crowds and the drugs.

It was watching the actress down some pills with a bottle of alcohol and drape herself across a chair as if in a drug induced stupor that sealed the decision to leave. I knew what was going to happen. There wasn't going to be any redemption--just more drug influenced music and ramblings about how great she was at defying the conventional way of life. It was sad to think of what might have been if she'd have used her talent without the drugs but I couldn't garner enough sympathy to sit out the second half of the show. I knew the ending. She overdoses on heroin.

Now what is there I'm missing here? This was someone great? This was someone who changed the world for the better? This was a dope addict who played loud music and, as her mother noted, screamed when she sang. She wasted the talent she had. What's to admire? It's just a sad story.

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