I think maybe — maybe — I’m starting to pick up the faint outlines of what my new piece, Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?, wants to be. A lot of this has to do with the fact that my director/collaborator, David Dower, has been focusing on it the past few days, and we had a nice talk on the phone about it recently. (You can join part of our collaboration, via Twitter, by following warholjew and WarholDir.) Also, I had a great, long conversation with my producer, Jonny Reinis, yesterday about Warhol and Jews and Martin Buber (one of the 10 subjects of Warhol’s “Jewish Geniuses” portraits) and Existentialism — you know, the usual stuff performers talk about with their producers. And I’ve been having some fascinating exchanges with two brilliant and freaky Berkeley rabbis, Menachem Creditor of Congregation Netivot Shalom and David Jonathan Cooper of Kehilla Community Synagogue. Plus I’ve been reading lots of cool stuff, including a book that I just happened to find in the Judaica section at Half Price Books in Berkeley: Martin Buber: An Intimate Portrait, by Aubrey Hodes — the first account I’ve discovered that actually conveys Buber’s ideas in what I could firmly call the English language. Not to mention that, despite my stark fear that I would bum them out on a celebratory occasion, I managed to do an improv towards the Warhol piece at a Berkeley Hadassah benefit last weekend. And you could toss in the long conversation I had with my mom yesterday about our Jewishness (or lack of same) — which included her delivery of this classically Jewish-type sentiment: “Well, I thought they should have founded Israel in South America — but no one asked me!”
But I’d have to say that mostly, it’s this: For the first time, really, as I try to explore Buber’s concept of “I and Thou” and relate it to my own experiences, I’m thinking about not just the “thou” but also the “I.” Who is he? What does he want? What’s he so afraid of? The next step, I suppose, is to track him down. If I make any headway, I’ll let you — or thou — know.