Theater for the Lonely.

September 29th, 2009 → Leave a comment

For some extreme theater goers there are performances like NYC’s Elevator Repair Service production of Gatz. For six hours, you sit and watch ERS bring the entire story of the Great Gatsy to stage. I’m told your ass hurts, you get tired, but the process of watching the story unfold is riveting. For pop culture obsessed theater junkies like myself, I spent 10 hours watching even more interesting theater at the 3rd Annual Pick-Up Artist Summit in Hollywood. Yes folks, pick-up artists are so organized that they actually have their own conferences. And yours truly scored a press pass.

I’ve been invited to guest blog for Tavis Smiley, and I also have some other magazines I’m writing for over the next few months so I’m making a little documentary about my visit to this fraternity of grown men that call themselves “PUAs” (Pick-Up Artists).

I don’t know how to describe everything I experienced, which is why I spent most of this Monday in a half daze trying to shake off the 10+ hours of being surrounded by “professional” and aspiring pick up artists. If you’ve read my blog, you know I’ve been obsessed with this subculture for the last couple years. When I actually got picked up in Miami by a trained pick-up artist, I was more intrigued. I don’t condemn them, but am more fascinated by how they are guerilla theater performers with obsessive, analytical, and overcompensating personalities just like mine.

Images from the weekend invaded my dreams all last night: the pie charts presentations on “Inner and Outer Game,” the Powerpoint demonstrations about “Hooker Game” (the art of picking up hookers, who according to the pick-up artists are some of the most attractive women in the world….), and the live demonstrations onstage of kiss closing.

Who knew picking up a drunk girl in a bar would be such math?

Oh yes, I saw it all my friends. I even participated as an onstage model in one presentation. (It wasn’t hard, the girls usually don’t have any lines).

It was like a cross between a frat, the Landmark forum, Hot Topic, Comic Con, and a Sex Starved Anonymous Meeting. I’ve not really spent much time in any of these places, but my guess is that if you were to cross all of these into one space, it would be the Pick Up Artist Summit.

There is this thing in the community called “peacocking” (wearing an accessory that grabs attention and helps you stand out). And these guys were doing it. It was like a tattoo artist and Ed Hardy’s bastard daughter gave birth to a baby at the teen apparel section of Kmart. Sheeze louise I didn’t know it was possible to mix acid wash, metal studs, and silkscreened dragon/cross/ swirls to such proportions.

I even got picked up in the lobby by a guy who was trying to work out his game. He didn’t know I was doing press for the event and I obligingly listened to him as he stumbled through his set. I mentally graphed it all from his spontaneous opener (“Your shoes look like candy canes”), neg (“You don’t sound like a tourist”), false time constraint (“gotta meet my friend soon”), into a story with DHV spikes (“I used to own a punk rock record store in San Francisco”).

I stopped him before he could “Kino” (touch me) and confessed that I was actually doing press coverage of the event. I think he was a little embarrassed. From what I could make out from his mumbles, he was not actually attending the conference, just hovering around it? He scurried away when Mike arrived with the camera.

It was contemporary theater at it’s finest.

I freaked out that the 50:1 ratio of men to women at this event might turn my arrival into a “flies on shit” situation, but it was surprisingly ok. The first few hours I was on super high alert. I was both hyper aware of being picked up, but also kind of insulted that nobody was making a pass at me (after all, the event advertised that the Hollywood and Highland locale of the summit would allow the men to sarge sarge sarge whenever they took a break). I actually got to see a lot of these guys conduct themselves like the gentlemen I never suspected they could be under the trademark PUA subculture of internet “field reports” that broadcast their sexual exploits and rank the women they bag from 1-10.

I have a friend who just finished her time as a contestant on a reality dating show. She’s an artist and we’re both obsessed with the meta-ness of reality dating shows. She took her obsession the extra mile by actually going on one so she can create art on the experience. She said of her time living in the house with all the girls: “I kept thinking about you Kristina, it was so unreal, it was like, I’m in the televison set.”

I kept thinking this weekend, “I’m on a public access channel.”

It’s going to take a few months to get the video up because I am simultaneously trying to leave town for New York, show excerpts of new shows, and relearn Final Cut Pro. So hold your horses. It will be good though. Believe me.

Anyway, trying to shake off the surrealness of the PUA theater scene to get back into my world of making theater theater.

Category: the pick up artist

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