Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, May 25, 2001

Performance artist and storyteller Mark Pinkosh unleashes a
population of breathless, gossipy semi-talents and also-rans in
"Don't Forget Me," a one-man show being staged at
The Arts at Mark's Garage.

A need for speed

By Scott Vogel

GODREY Hamilton's script for "Don't Forget Me" begins with images of the Pacific and its "waves like busted mercury," which is not only an apt simile for an ocean but also for contemporary fame-seeking, which is the real subject of this rollercoaster ride composed of one endless -- truly endless -- run-on sentence that takes us on a thrilling and infuriating trip through contemporary Hollywood, a universe teeming with semi-successful producers who cast Queen Latifah in "Two Gentlemen from Verona" and cinema-savvy car mechanics who ruminate on Orson Welles' battles with the studio system while changing fuel pumps, all of them brought vividly to life by Mark Pinkosh, though for one fleeting weekend only at the Arts at Mark's Garage.


What: "Don't Forget Me"
When: 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow; 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Arts at Mark's Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave.
Cost: $18 to $20
Call: 528-0506

It's Hollywood all right, an unraveling metropolis where "busloads of hope" arrive every day, where excited young kids get jobs as script readers in production offices writing "coverage," which here means reducing the contents of submitted screenplays to two-line descriptions, such that "Dracula" becomes a story about a vampire who falls for a woman then "falls on something sharp," and bizarre projects are tabled, such as a remake of "Brief Encounter" with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz set on a nuclear train, and penniless young actors search desperately for "a patron, a sponsor" to avoid L.A.'s high rents, which in the world of "Don't Forget Me" means young men cozying up to much older men, feigning machismo and dewy-eyed innocence even as they perform sexual acts on said older men while inhaling scents of cypress and night-blooming jasmine in Griffith Park.

Which means that there's endless talk of closeted executives and multiple references to "The Wizard of Oz," anecdotes about Tippi Hedren never putting down her handbag for a single second in "The Birds," and much sniffing at young women who mix Prada with Helmut Lang, and gossip about Gary Cooper's secret life and the pioneering plastic surgery performed on his eyebags, and the story about George Nader, a young actor whose career was sacrificed so that studios could perpetuate the myth that his lover, Rock Hudson, was straight.

And it's all a bit mind-numbing after a while, especially with Pinkosh playing all the parts, and the lights going off at Mark's Garage mid-performance, which forces the actor to retrace his steps, but soon this compelling performer is off and running again, and you begin to wonder if Hamilton's script would be quite so interesting if performed as a series of conventional dialogues, but you don't have time to wonder for long, engrossed as you are by this tale of starlets and hangers-on, of world-weary Angelenos whose Hollywood dreams melt into endless days spent playing extras in commercials, which portend nights of sadistic sexual foreplay, complete with demands that their partners respond "Yes, sir!" when commanded and take off their shirts at the drop of a hat.

Which enables us to recommend "Don't Forget Me" without reservation, hoping that you scurry down to Mark's before the nuclear train that is Mark Pinkosh and Godfrey Hamilton speeds away to another town like the skipping stones metaphor that crops up repeatedly in the show, their "world tour" -- which so far consists of Great Britain and Ireland, places like East Kilbride and Listowel and Aldershot -- scheduled to commence shortly.

And don't forget to put a few coins in the tip jar on the way out. Maybe this dynamic duo will buy something to help them unwind.

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