A.O. Scott of The New York Times has a brief review of a new documentary about Spalding Gray, the man we borrowed the phrase “bark, bugs, leaves, and lizards” from (yes, that’s his serial comma):
The story he has to tell is, on one level, a rambling, anecdotal account of a more or less ordinary life, its tragedies, absurdities and frustrations offered with sincerity and charm. In an era of rampant memoirism and multimedia T.M.I., Mr. Gray might seem like a pioneer or just another old guy rattling on about himself, but Mr. [Steven] Soderbergh uses his own artistic resources to remind us of Mr. Gray’s uniqueness as an artist. A natural actor (praised early on for his uncanny sense of timing), he was also an extraordinary writer, perhaps the last in a long line of introspective, eccentric, mildly melancholic New Englanders going back to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
Spaulding–to watch his work is to think you know him on a first-name basis–was one of the good ones.
Hey, this is good news. Spuddy was my favorite. “Swimming to Cambodia” is in my top 5 favorite movies. A life-changer. I’m glad I got to see him at least the one time, at the Goodman in Chicago in about 1998 or ’99 (a performance of his monologue, “It’s a Slippery Slope”).
Spalding. Like the catcher’s mitt. The rule that helps me remember goes something like, “There’s no ‘I’ in team, and no ‘U’ in Spalding Gray.”
Swimming to Cambodia exploded my brain-dome, too.