Performers are raving about Performance Art!
“Are some people born with that urge to share themselves in public? To behave privately, emotionally, majestically while strangers watch? To perform? David Kranes in stunningly singular fashion explores this need to expose the gifted self, re-inventing the way we look at celebrity. The stories are a raw and intimate journey into the rewards, the risks, and the souls of the stand-ups and fire-eaters, the daredevils and magicians, the people who ‘show off’ for us. And this of course includes Mr. Kranes himself. His prose does backflips; it’s brilliantly manic, beautifully mad, perfectly paced. And very funny.”
—Ethan Philips, actor and playwright
“Performers have one foot in this world and one in that of illusion, or maybe better, imagination. It’s the liminal space between the two that David Kranes, in his own sleight-of-hand performance, brilliantly explores. His tough, flint-like prose, unsparing in its search for what is true, reminds us that one person’s side-show is someone else’s main act, and, it gives us new ways to look at the world. Funny, disturbing, and in the end, deeply moving.”
—Bill Harley, entertainer and musician
“I love the sound of a ’world-beyond-traffic,’ and the ’no comprehension of next,’ in these stories. . . . It’s funny and powerful how Kranes depicts the tick, tick, tick of the mind. And he did make me think, oh, yes, sometimes a person’s mind can be a stranger. A dark stranger.”
—Russell Davis, juggler and playwright in residence at the People’s Light and Theatre Company
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 12 members
I really enjoyed reading this anthology of short stories of different types of performance artists. The book itself is laid out clearly and concisely while the content remains interesting. I ended up liking this book more than I had expected but I think this would be an important book for any shelf.
If you want to be fair to yourself, make yourself read this collection of stories one at a time. Yeah, I know, of course you'll read them one at a time, how else? But seriously, open Performance Art by David Kranes and read a story. Then put the book aside and think about what you read. Then live life with those thoughts percolating in your mind. Then maybe the next day come back. When you come back, you will be tempted to reread the last story you read because in the time since the last reading you have considered several ways of understanding it. But move on to the next, you can come back to them all later, after you have given each story its own devoted time. I am suggesting this method because these stories are about people who perform. While ostensibly those who are widely considered "performers" it actually includes all of us. We perform all the time. Performing does not negate authenticity or sincerity, it is simply the way we make sure our authenticity and sincerity is presented to others (and sometimes ourselves). These stories may not appeal to those who simply want action of some sort leading to a nice neat moment of closure. The single effect here, to borrow and likely butcher Poe, is a doubling. Both sides of a window. What is seen from outside is indeed what is actually inside, it just isn't everything that is inside. Our performance is for those outside the window, but in deciding what to show through that window we are performing ourselves for ourselves. I highly recommend this collection and, as you can tell by my review, it will lead readers to ponder things. I suspect what I took away will be different from what you do but I feel confident that if you read actively you will find yourself thinking about much more than simply what is "performed" in each story. My apologies if my performance of reviewing the book is not what you expected, but is that a bad thing? Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.