Shades Of Cool

Shades Of Cool

james Franco Pays Poetic Tribute To His Muse And Friend, Lana Del Rey, “the Miami Idol Queen, Gone To London And Back For A Triumphant Hendrix Return”

james Franco Pays Poetic Tribute To His Muse And Friend, Lana Del Rey, “the Miami Idol Queen, Gone To London And Back For A Triumphant Hendrix Return”

Photography: Chuck Grant

There was a story on the Huffington Post about a Twitter backlash against a new singer who ostensibly bombed on Saturday Night Live. I watched the clip, it wasn’t great. She wasn’t transitioning between the high and low registers of “Video Games” very smoothly, and she didn’t know what to do with her free hand; it awkwardly fluttered between her face and her side and she periodically touched her hair or made a deuce sign while singing, “They say the world was meant for two.”

Juliette Lewis tweeted, “Wow watching this ‘singer’ on SNL is like watching a 12-yearold [sic] in their bedroom when theyre pretending to sing and perform #signofourtimes”

The following week, SNL cast member Kristen Wiig did a spot-on impersonation of Lana on “Weekend Update” as a response—she caught the body carriage, the voice, and even the lip curl:

“I thought [I sang two songs] but based on the public’s response to [my performance], I must have clubbed a baby seal while singing the Taliban national anthem.

“I think people thought I was stiff, distant, and weird, but there’s a perfectly good explanation for that: I am stiff, distant, and weird. It’s my thing.”

It is Lana’s thing. She’s weird. But she never wanted to be a live performer anyway. If she could have, she would have made her music, and her videos, in her room forever.

This is a poem about Lana Del Rey.

This is an essay about Lana Del Rey.

Lana has become my friend. She is a musician who is a poet and a video artist.

She grew up on the East Coast but she is an artist of the West Coast.

When I watch her stuff, when I listen to her stuff, I am reminded of everything I love about Los Angeles. I am sucked into a long gallery of Los Angeles cult figurines, and cult people, up all night like vampires and bikers.

The only difference between Lana and me is her haunting voice. That carries everything. The voice is the central axle around which the spokes of everything else extend.

My axle, like her voice is for her, is my acting. Out of it, I do everything else.

I don’t like vampires and bikers in my life, but I like them in my art.

Lana lives in her art, and when she comes down to earth for interviews, it gets messy, because she isn’t made for this earth. She is made to live in the world she creates. She is one who has been so disappointed by life, she had to create her own world. Just let her live in it.

I am a performer and she is a performer.

The thing about singers, especially the ones who write their own lyrics, is that everyone reads the person into the songs. An actor is sometimes aligned with his roles, but a singer is asked about her lyrics as if they were direct statements of her true thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes Lana doesn’t know what to say in interviews, so she plays into the idea that her songs are her, and not her creations.

Lana spends a lot of time alone because everyone wants in.

She has this idea for a film. I want to do it because it’s a little like Sunset Boulevard. A woman is alone in a big house in L.A. She doesn’t want to go out. She starts to go crazy, and becomes paranoid because she feels like people are watching her. Even in her own house. It’s like an awesome B-movie that lives in Lana’s head. It’s about her, and it’s not about her. Just like her music.

I wanted to interview Lana for a book and she said, “Just write around me, it’s better if it’s not my own words. It’s almost better if you don’t get me exactly, but try.”

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Jessie Ware