When an artist channels his autobiography as a medium for creation, it becomes difficult to separate the art from the artist's life. It's like looking at your reflection in a mirror while peering through a kaleidoscope. Look at Van Gogh and his hallucinatory self-portraits, or Hemingway using Nick Adams as a conduit for his personal demons. Both committed suicide. But these artists have left us with stained-glass windows into the depths of their beautiful minds. And this is why Spalding Gray's (Swimming to Cambodia; Life Interrupted) writings and performances were so popular. Gray was a man who stood on a stage and confessed to the world. And when he committed suicide in 2004, his death rocked the art scene. His death, however, has given Gray's fans an opportunity to read his personal journals and see where life met and confused art. At the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatres, Writer's Bloc Presents … A Tribute to Spalding Gray will feature book critic David Ulin and a discussion of Gray's life through his journals. Ulin will be accompanied by Nell Casey, editor of Gray's journals, and Gray's close friend, actor Peter Gallagher. Don't miss this intimate entree into Gray's psychology. Laemmle Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues., Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.; $20; writersblocpresents.com.

Tue., Nov. 8, 2011

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