What’s It All About?

Josh Kornbluth has played out his existential confusion over the years in the most public of ways. And we’re extremely lucky for that. The performer has used stage and film to provide that rare mix of humor that’s so true it hurts (literally, from laughing) while also being so true it stays with you and promotes your own introspection. We think of him as a West Coast version of Spalding Gray, minus the tragic ending. In one of his early monologues and films, Haiku Tunnel, he struggles to balance his life as a would-be novelist (renting a one-car garage in San Francisco as an apartment) with the need for a paycheck (a new job as a legal assistant in a big law firm). Disaster duels with humor for the lead role. In a more recent work, Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?, he puts on a gray wig and examines a series of the Pop artist’s portraits of well-known Jews including Einstein, Kafka, and Gertrude Stein. There he confronted another issue: his religion. In Josh Kornbluth Wrestles the Big Questions, he recounts how he’d spent his life firmly planted in the secular world, not having a bar mitzvah and never having attended synagogue. But the Warhol project led him to ponder his Jewish identity — and now he reports religious-minded acts such as reading the Torah to his son. He appears with Rabbi Menachem Creditor, whose unusual surname might sound like a Kornbluth character but as far as we can tell is a real person with a real congregation. Kornbluth reports that he’s “proud to be a Jew and totally confused about what that means.” Lucky us.
Tue., March 22, 7 p.m., 2011

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