The internet’s obsession with Nicolas Cage is long and storied. The original video of him “losing his shit” in movies garnered millions of views before being taken down from YouTube due to copyright claims and has since been re-uploaded several times over. One True God, a reddit forum dedicated to photoshopping the Oscar-winner into all manner of ridiculous pictures, has nearly 72,000 subscribers and is updated with user-submitted content several times a day. Cage himself is aware of all this to a degree, referring to it as “affection loaded with irony.”
Which is a bit of shame, really, as Cage’s talents are, if not one of a kind, then certainly once in a generation. I was thus a bit skeptical when I heard about this weekend’s Nicolas Cage Party, an art show expanding on a similar event held in San Francisco earlier this year. As an ardent Cage defender, I felt compelled to ask curator Ezra Croft whether it was coming from a sincere place.
Croft was unequivocal in his response. “I present this show without irony," he told me over email last month. "We embrace the levity of his place on the internet. As an icon. As an obscure and fascinating figure in our culture...He provides a uniquely awesome subject matter and we are going to take the creativity of Los Angeles and collide it with this show.”
Though it's true that the actor's behavior (both onscreen and off) has at times been eccentric, a surprising amount of the work Croft is including in the show reflects Cage's more low-key and contemplative side. It's not quite Sad Keanu, but might the irony be lessening as people who once only knew National Treasure-era Cage go back to watch films like Leaving Las Vegas and Raising Arizona?
“The momentum in the Cage show actually roots from his diverse catalog," said Croft, who was initially skeptical of his subject. "I’ve found a special place in my heart for Nic. Before, I was never such a super fan, but after going so deep into the mythos of Cage, I have found the art we've collected and curated has been pretty inspirational and brought back the excitement and curiosity he brings to moviegoers.”
The show, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Syrup Loft, has several hundred confirmed guests. As to whether Cage himself might show up, Croft was unsure but hopeful: “We hope he shows up and we hope he has a good time with us, but we'll see on that.”
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