Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jason Downs’ ‘Why Am I Not Famous” at Howard Community College by Bev Fleisher

Jason Downs.

Jason Downs’ Why Am I Not Famous is more of a fireside
 chat that is breezy and entertaining as the fire is struck and
grows, then deeper and reflective as the coals die down. It
is also a dialogue about the futility of tying one’s self-worth
 to others’ opinions rather than listening to yourself and
finding joy in your authentic voice, whatever that may be.

My favorite examples of Downs’ fleeting fame were a SNL
skit done in his young teens and “The White Boy with a
Feather in His Hair,” a country/rap mash-up that topped the
charts in the UK and around europe when he was barely in
 his 20‘s. The first half of the evening is a delightful show as
Jason illustrate the things that influenced his artistic development.
His back up singers and band were in the pocket with him.
As the first half progressed, the boundary between performer
and the audience became almost transparent. More talk,
less action. The beginning of a conversation.Jason Downs
has a cautionary tale and encouragement for all of us.
He’s sincere. He’s not preachy. He’s had experience with fame.

And he is a great actor, singer and dancer. You get to see all
of this in the conversation he carries out with the audience
 throughout the evening. His heartfelt storytelling and
willingness to lay it all on the line increases his message’s
Downs showmanship and story was followed by an hour
of conversation, not Q & A. Jason and the other artists
involved in the production, including Producing Artistic
Director of the Arts Collective, Susan Kramer, carried out
a lively back and forth about the meaning of fame, self-esteem,
expression of creativity, and guidance for youth.
The long term goal of this project is to have it performed for
teens and young adults community venues to open up a
conversation with young people who are used to speeches
about going forth and conquering and dreams of instant fame
via American Idol or The X Factor.
wainf_bannerad-1 (1)The point of the evening was encapsulated by Musical Director
and guitarist Ken McGloin. He recalled a chat he had with Paul Simon
during which the artist explained that he only wrote and played for
himself; it just happened to be that other people also liked what he did.
Running Time: Two and one-half hours, including a 90 minute set
and an hour-long open conversation.has one remaining performance
 TONIGHT, SATURDAY, October 12, 2013 at the Horowitz Center
 at Howard County Community College -, 1901 Little Patuxent
Parkway in Columbia, MD. Tickets may be purchased at the box
office, (443) 518-1500, or at the door.
Why I am Not Famous? has one remaining performance 
TONIGHT -SATURDAY, October 12, 2013 at 8 PM at the
Horowitz Center’s Studio Theatre at Howard County Community
College – 1901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia, MD. Tickets
may be purchased at the box office, (443) 518-1500, or at the door.
Libation & Conversation, a discussion and question-and-
answer session, follows tonight’s performance.

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