I never got to see Justin Chin perform his pieces in San Francisco, but I did go to two readings here in LA from his new book, Attack of the Man-Eating Lotus Blossoms. The book contains scripts from his shows as well as stage directions and commentary.
I figured that even though I had to imagine the lighting and slides, when he read, I'd get a feel for what he did on stage. I was a little worried that sitting home reading the rest of it, I might get lost.
Not a problem.
Justin frets about his reputation for anger, but what comes across so well in this book is his incredible sense of humor. Okay, his An Invocation for Mr. S___ and People Like Him in the Hopes That Their Moist Eyes Would Blind Them So They Stumble Off The Pavement Into the Path of a Beer Truck is a little angry. Maybe more bitchy than angry, but that rare witty bitchiness that only truly intelligent people can pull off. Cover your mouth and snicker along, but don't pretend you aren't laughing.
Parts of this collection are serious, but it takes me a lot longer to mull over (I'm sorry - process would be the artsy-fartsy word to use here) serious stuff. I wanted to get this review posted before I go into my two-week long self imposed computer exile though, so you'll only get my reaction to the parts that made me laugh.
The Casey Kasem Top 40 dedication, Solid Gold Dancers fixation, Day-Glo apologies, 80's hair tales, and Fagtown Bingo card are wonderful. (I used the Fagtown Bingo Card on one of my forums the other night. If only my Holier Then Thou Bike Fag who was also an Evil Vegan Fag, and Super Angry to boot would have ADMITTED that he handed out flyers, I would have had a blackout!) The text on the slides from Go-Go GO! was brilliant.
I watched the rest of the audience while Justin read I, Documentary or I Buy A Camera and Document My Love Life, and besides the laughter, there was a lot of head nodding. It's a piece anyone can relate their fucked up relationship history to.
So be a little adventurous. If I can handle the stage directions, so can you. Treat yourself to this book. Justin isn't performing any more, but you can enjoy what he has to say.