Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My embarrassing moment with Jack Nicholson

I saw the new Candice Breitz video installation at Yvon Lambert Gallery in Chelsea a few weeks ago. Her most ambitious project to date--"Him & Her" explores gender roles and stereotypes through re-editing and recontextualizing popular Hollywood Films. Who better to play "Him" than Jack Nicholson? 23 Jack Nicholsons extracted from 40 years of his films converse with each other. Jack predictably talks about his problem with relationships, intimacy and commitment. Breitz' brilliant editing results in a maniacal dialogue between his younger & older selves. Humor laced with irony--the work is both insightful and entertaining. "Her" featured 28 Meryl Streeps who basically whined about men. Needing men, wanting men or complaining about men. Meryl Streep is a terrific actress, but the clips Breitz chose focused on didactic gender roles.

I could have watched the Nicholson 14 minute video all day (or at least 4 or 5 times). This reminded me of one of my more embarrassing life moments, which happened to involve Jack Nicholson. One of my favorite jobs was ushering at the New York State Theater, which hosts the NYC Ballet and NYC Opera. Living in New York, I saw 'stars' on daily basis--on the street, in restaurants, some of whom even attended the ballet or Opera. Kurt Vonnegaut was a ballet season tix holder. So was Jack Nicholson. One night I had the pleasure and ultimate embarrassment of seating him. He did not sit in the orchestra, but on the first ring, so he could CHECK out everyone else on the orchestra level. His film, "Witches of Eastwick" with Michelle Pfeiffer & Angelica Huston had just come out in theaters. He arrives in dark sunglasses (which stayed glued to his face the entire evening). I decide to make inane small talk and gush over how much I liked the witches movie. He just smiles his smirky Jack smile. Then for some reason, which is unfathomable to me now-- I tell him "I love you and would like to have your children."

At this point in my life (early 20's), I was convinced that I was never getting married OR having children, EVEN if Jack Nicholson proposed on the spot. Clearly this was moment of temporary insanity. Mortified I slunk away. My face was red for a week. When I peeked in on him later, he still had the maniacal smirky Jack smile.


  1. This is a good one. The event sounds wonderful, and your Jack story is one of a kind. Melissa

  2. It must run in the family to make idiotic comments to men to whom we are attracted! I have done it too, but to no one as famous as Jack! What a great story!