SOAP at MoCA: GENERAL HOSPITAL Meets Performance Art
By Roger Newcomb and Damon L. Jacobs
The standout story of Franco versus Jason on GENERAL HOSPTIAL is coming to a shocking climax this summer, and We Love Soaps was there to see it being taped on June 24 in West Hollywood, Ca. On a nice summer night, Roger Newcomb, Damon L. Jacobs, and about 200 fans watched the shooting of GENERAL HOSPITAL scenes at the MOCA (Museum Of Contemporary Art), which included James Franco (Franco), Steve Burton (Jason), Julie Marie Berman (Lulu) and Dominic Zamprogna (Dante). The evening was billed as "SOAP at MoCA: James Franco on GENERAL HOSPITAL."
This exciting event was yet another innovative idea from the mind of James Franco. The Golden Globe winner approached GH's Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps with the concept of an interactive artistic experience that would incorporate his GH storyline, performance art, and fans. Although ABC initially expressed reluctance to produce this event, Phelps persuaded the network to undertake this unique project. The evening included a special Soap at MoCA soap opera magazine created for specifically for the occasion, and which featured several soap star interviews and articles by well known writers covering the soap industry, including We Love Soaps. [EDITOR'S NOTE: We Love Soaps will be having a contest to give an autogrpahed copy away soon.]
"SOAP at MOCA is an attempt to both blur and define the lines between different disciplines, between life and art, between art and popular culture, and between representations of the self as both performative character and as non-performative self,” commented James Franco in a press release from the museum.
Fans in attendance were able to watch the taping of several exciting and dramatic scenes in multiple locations, including an elaborate outdoor set built especially for these episodes. They were also treated to the musical stylings of performance artist Kalup Linzy, dressed in his usual performance drag and playing Kalup Dashinel, while having the chance to mingle with a gracious Steve Burton and James Franco between takes. Franco came into the crowd at one point and spent quite a bit of time talking with fans, signing autographs, and posing for pictures. Meanwhile, Steve Burton came over to the crowd of fans every possible time he could, and each time fans rushed to meet him with loud cheers and screams. Later in the evening, Dominic Zaprogna and Julie Marie Berman mingled with fans as well. This type of thing is expected at fan events, but at an actual taping of the show? And with such a big storyline? It just goes to show what pros all these actors are and the appreciation they have for their fans.
"James Franco’s collaboration with MOCA through SOAP at MOCA: James Franco on GENERAL HOSPITAL allows mass entertainment to be viewed through an art world filter. Franco’s artwork examines performance: it looks at the multiple levels of identity that are wound into performance; the legitimacy of some performance over others; the
contextualization of performance; and how this changes perception and even the nature of performance. "SOAP at MOCA: James Franco on GENERAL HOSPITAL" involves multiple levels of documentation and presentation,” said MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch.
The event itself seemed like an overwhelming success for fans and crew alike. Phelps seemed pleased as she walk around the outdoor set, and came over multiple times to make sure the fans were happy with the evening and thanked them for coming and helping make the night run smoothly.
Aside from the taping and fan portion of the evening, there were also guests from the art world in attendance. The entire event was a mixture of the art world, soap world and performance art. As the evening kicked off around 7 p.m., a projection of Franco appeared on a big screen to the left of the fans. “Is this art?” Franco asked. He went on to say that art is something that you experience. If that's the case, "SOAP at MoCA" was definitely art.
The entire evening will not soon be forgotten. And we're are sure fans of GH will enjoy and appreciate the elaborate twists and surprises that are coming up in this riveting story.
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- INTERVIEW: GENERAL HOSPITAL's Julie Marie Berman