John Cameron Mitchell and Wallace Shawn: A Good Read.
425 Lafayette Street, NYC
Tuesday, June 03, 2014. 7:00 PM.
Table 0, Seat 311.
We began the evening by meeting our group in the lobby of our dorm rooms. I made an exceptionally wise decision to visit Starbucks before departing on our interesting yet unique night. I ordered a delicious Grande java chip Frappuccino with a fresh tasty mozzarella pretzel. For some reason I felt as if this brief outing was going to be enjoyable. I walked with eagerness through the rain as water soaked through my boat shoes. My beverage was shared for my peers to experience the crunchy goodness of java chips. My pretzel however was devoured quickly with zero trace of existence.
When we reached Joe’s Pub, I looked upon with awe at how elaborate the architecture compared to my expectation was. I thought it was supposed to be a pub. I guess pubs are fancier in New York. We received our tickets and walked through the doors into a dark candlelit room full of people waiting for the show. Brittany, Jeremy, and I were the only ones seated at the bar. The waiter asked what we wanted to order. I said water. He replied with, “There is a minimum purchase policy here at Joe’s Pub. You can either order two drinks adding up to $10, or food adding up to $12 or more”. I took this opportunity to expand my horizon and try food I have never tasted. I ended up ordering crispy calamari. I interrogated Jeremy before ordering to make sure I was not going to regret my choice. He described calamari as “rubbery”. He said I would “appreciate the food after realizing I was eating octopus”. The poet reciting began and I heard Rex from Toy Stories voice. I had absolutely no idea Wallace Shawn was going to be there. It made the next 10 minutes bearable. I received my “starter” and questionably tasted a first bite. It smelled delicious. The breading tasted fabulous. The actual calamari tasted like rubber.
Jeremy, Brittany, and I did not understand the numerous jokes told every few minutes. The whole crowd would laugh and we would sit in our seats, wondering what was so funny. Jeremy and I decided to laugh with the crowd as if we understood their humor. We experimented with various laughs including our regular laugh, the rich man laugh, a gay man’s laugh, a woman’s laugh, and deep and high laughs. These brief moments of laughter kept our sanity intact, but barely.
Overall we experienced a once in a lifetime night. Wallace Shawn and John Cameron Mitchell will never be reciting poetry in Joe’s Pub again. The calamari, pretzel, and frappuccinowere good, I got to see Rex, and we bonded as a group.
Here are additional details about our experience from Mindy Bond:
“As famed writer and director John Cameron Mitchell readies his Hedwig and the Angry Inch sequel, he has a side project he’s working on with Joe’s Pub called A Good Read. The ongoing series finds Mitchell curating readings of classic works of prose and poetry. For the second installment Mitchell has invited actor Wallace Shawn (Vizzini in The Princess Bride) to join him for an evening of Russian metafictional absurdity. In what should be an extraordinary literary feat, the pair are set to perform two-hander adaptations of works by Vladimir Nabokov.” -Mindy Bond