The Jersey Arts 5: 5 Questions with Eugene Pack of Celebrity Autobiography
Last week, we had a chance to chat with Eugene Pack, founder of Celebrity Autobiography. Here's what we learned.
JA: How did Celebrity Autobiography come to be?
EP: We started working with the idea years ago, in Los Angeles. We'd found Vanna White's autobiography--Vanna Speaks. It's ridiculous...she goes on about how challenging her job, and there's this one passage where she describes how her belt broke and it required such strong force of will to keep flipping those panels. Finding that, and thinking "this would be great, read aloud..."--that's where it started.
JA: What makes for a great performance of an autobiography?
EP: I look for creative minds...the trick with the performances is that it's not just about parody. It's not just about being funny, but what they reveal. A good performer will illuminate the words without imitation. It won't be a straight sendup of the person they're reading; it'll reveal something new in the words on the page, which will often be funny.
JA: What are some of your favorite autobiography performances?
EP: Oooh. Elizabeth Taylor. Oh--one of my very favorites is Tiger Woods. It's full of graphic descriptions about how he handles his putter, and long passages about putting the ball in the hole. There's a lot to mine in that one. Sherri Shepherd does a great Madonna.
What are some upcoming celebrity autobiographies that you can't wait to get your hands on?
Well, it's fun to keep in mind the people who do the show, and what they're going to match--Justin Beiber's got one coming out, and I think we're going to have fun with it. George Takei's new book is a lot of fun, too.
JA: Has a celebrity ever been in the audience for a reading of their work?
EP: Oh, yeah. Brooke Shields put out this book years ago--On Your Own, about her teenage years, and it's just angsty and painful to hear now. She was in the audience for a performance of it, and was a real good sport about it.
Celebrity Autobiography plays October 30 at NJPAC