“Today, June 5, would have been Spalding Gray’s 74th birthday. Known for his monologues–funny, sad, neurotic, and deeply human–his influence at Sundance Institute remains strong, even eleven years after his death.
“Spalding served as the emcee of the 1992 Sundance Film Festival’s award ceremony, the same year that the film version of his one-man show Monster in a Box, about his experience writing his first novel, had its US premiere at the Festival. The top photo, from a shoot by @thatrickmcginnis two years prior, captures Spalding with the enormous manuscript that was at least one of the monsters in his life. (Rick’s blog post about the shoot is itself a great portrait of Spalding’s persona.)
“Several other Festival films featured Spalding in some role; one that seems particularly fitting is Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon’s documentary Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud, in which Spalding read the writings of his fellow iconoclast. And Spalding’s influence extends to alumni, as well; he became friends with Steven Soderbergh after Soderbergh directed his 1996 film Gray’s Anatomy; Soderbergh would go on to direct a 2010 documentary about Spalding’s life titled And Everything is Going Fine.”
“Spalding continues to inspire new works for Sundance artists. Sheila Tousey’s Ghost Supper (Spalding Gray, You’re Invited, Too), supported at our 2014 Theatre Lab, is a solo show that explores how a woman comes to terms with her brother’s suicide through humor, grief, and storytelling. We think Spalding would have approved.”
Here is a clip from Spalding’s incredible 1987 film, Swimming to Cambodia.