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Art of ConfessionThe Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV$
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Christopher Grobe

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479829170

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479829170.001.0001

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Broadcast Intimacy; or Confession Goes on Tour

(p.179) Interlude
Art of Confession

Christopher Grobe

NYU Press

Confessional performers may seem on intimate terms with their audience, but this relationship can often, in fact, be complicated or thorny. In part, this is because true intimacy is impossible under the circumstances. After all, for whatever reason, confessional performers have consistently relied on touring as a business model—each night, a new audience; each week, a new town. Exploring Sexton’s ambivalent relationship to her fans and Spalding Gray’s interactive theater piece Interviewing the Audience, this essay asks how confessional performers have constructed a public from the various audiences they encounter on their travels. This public, when it’s conjured, is defined by an ambivalent affect, which this essay names “broadcast intimacy.”

Keywords:   intimacy, touring, fan relations, audience relations, Spalding Gray, Anne Sexton

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