ART and ARTists
By ice rivers
The New Detectives, The FBI Files, Notorious, Autopsy, Investigative Reports, almost anything on Reelz Teevee; I've been watching WAY too many of these shows for decades now. How decadent can I get?
What do all of these shows have in common?
You got it. Crime and investigation re-enactments.
Lately, instead of paying any attention to the crime or the investigation, we've been focusing our attention upon the "acting" of the "actors" in the "re-enactments". We've discovered that it is difficult to build a cult following for any of these actors because seemingly, none of them ever go on to bigger and better things. If there is a Brad Pitt or Jen Lawrence amongst them, I have yet to see that Brad Lawrence emerge from obscurity.
As a non-emergent, obscurity myself, I love those performers and wonder two things; a) where do they get these people and b) how much do they get paid?
I imagine a directory somewhere of renactment actors. The directory is full of rigorously anonymous looking people who have never been on teevee or in movies before and promise that if chosen, they will never appear on teevee nor movies again, nor will they ever write about their experiences nor their pay rate...and of course, no residuals.
They are members of the Anonymous Re-Enactment Team known as ART.
As soon as they appear once, they're off the team and out of the directory.
Each appearance is a once in a lifetime event.
How freakin' artistic can ya get?
Last night, for example, they showed the standard shot of a brutalized woman covered in a sheet on the coroner's table. The only visible body part on the table was a bare foot with a tag on the big toe. We freeze framed the toe and came to the conclusion that this was in fact, a brand new toe, a toe that had never been peeping under a fake coroners sheet on any re-enactment show although in its very anonymity it resembled every toe that had ever appeared in any such situation.
We specualated that when you're involved with ART, you're encouraged towards extreme specialization in performance.
A true ARTist does no preparation and basically develops no craft or skills. A true ARTist tries to avoid any kind of publicity because if anybody knows who they are other than family and very close friends, then they foul up the authenticity and anonymity of the re-enactment and their fellow ARTists.
An ARTist in the directory has to hope that somehow or other his/her face looks like either a cop, an investigator, a forensic dentist, a guy in a bar, a woman in stiletto heels, or that their hand or foot or eye color or body is the same size/shape/color as any of the above.
Then that great moment, that once in a lifetime moment call finally arrives. The call came from Merle Seton who does all the casting for all of these shows.
The call to re-enact.
Merle Seton: Hello Jerry, this Merle.
Jerry: Is this the CALL, Merle.
Merle: Yes it is. Are you ready to re-enact?
Jerry: Oh yeah, Merle. I've done virtually nothing for the past three years. Nobody knows who the hell I am. I'm an ARTist.
Merle: Well Jerry, I've got some good news for you. We found a lookalike and we need you next week?
Jerry: Wonderful. Am I a cop?
Jerry: A victim? A guy in a bar?
Merle: No Jerry, think bigger!
Jerry: OH God, don't tell me.....I'm the criminal!
Merle: That's right Jerry or should I say Clem. I'm proud to tell you that you look exactly like a bearded, cowardly, perverted, twisted, d bag, sick, drunk, speedfreak, uneducated slime ball son of a bitch from a trailer hell hole in South Carolina.
Jerry: Oh that's uh great uh Merle.
Merle: We're gonna send our legal person Paula G to go over the paperwork with you tonight.
That night, Paula shows up.
Jerry signs a contract. He will never tell anyone that he played Clem. He will get no pay nor any credit for his effort. He can tell his wife, his parents and his immediate family and circle of most trusted friends about his performance but he must also tell them of the stipulations, and that he can be sued "for whatever little he has" if the stipulations are tresspassed.
And so can they
Paula takes the signed contract back to Merle.
Jerry does the re-enactment.
He goes home with nothing other than ARTistic satisfaction and the knowledge that he resembles a bearded, twisted, slime ball froma South Carolina hell hole trailer park.
Jerry is an ARTist.
He must make artistic sacrifices.
Afraid that some viewer will recognize his performance and confuse him with Clem, as has been known to happen, Jerry shaves off the beard that probably got him the job in the first place.
He even changed his name to Thornton Krell.
Naked faced and rebranded, Thornton wouldn't have to worry about a bunch of obscure ARTists seeking revenge for even telling this much of their story. Especially any of the ARTists who looked like Manson, Dahmer, or Wournos.
And he wanted to keep the little that he had.
And protect his family and friends from ART.