I had several times meant to attend a Spalding Gray performance when he was in town, but something always interfered. Then the ultimate interference for my notion to see him live. He died. Committed suicide, actually. He who hesitates.
Gray as you may or may not know was a very funny monologist. Sort of a solo My Dinner With Andre sans the dinner. Gray would just talk about his life on a bare stage in a Woody Allenesque way, but more low-key, less neurotically, but neurotic enough.
Steven Soderbergh put together this posthumous documentary on Spalding Gray’s life in art called And Everything is Going Fine. They were and they weren’t apparently. Culled from various performances at different stages of his career (the hair grows long, the hair grows grey, the hair thins). Beyond the bare stage performances are several interviews as well. In them all Gray talks about the things that always occupied him based on his experiences with life: his mother’s struggle with mental illness, his mother’s eventual suicide (how shall I do it?), his father telling him the facts of life, his porn film experience, his homosexual experience, his tantric yoga experiences, how he developed his storytelling skills, the difference between the writers voice and the actors voice (he was both), his relationships with his long time girlfriend Renee and his later wife Cathy.
He is asked about dying, at one point and tells the questioner that everyone knows they are going to die, but no one really believes it.
Spalding Gray was a brilliant and funny monologist who spared not a sliver of himself in his relentless examination on what it means to be alive.