Joplin: Our Lady of the Perpetual Party


“In desperation [Janis Jopilin] dumps her bag onto the floor of the limo. Its contents are truly awesome. Janis has a baglady’s compulsion to carry her whole life with her. There are: two movie stubs, a pack of cigarettes, an antique cigarette holder, several motel and hotel room keys, a box of Kleenex, a compact and various make up cases (in addition to a bunch of eyebrow pencils held together with a rubber band), an address book, dozens of bits of paper, business cards, match box covers with phone numbers written in near-legible barroom scrawls, guitar picks, a bottle of Southern Comfort (empty), a hip flask, an opened package of complementary macadamia nuts from American Airlines, cassettes of Johnny Cash and Otis Redding, gum, sunglasses, credit cards, aspirin, assorted pens and writing pad, a corkscrew, an alarm clock, a copy of Time, and two hefty books-Nancy Milford’s biography of Zelda Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel.” David Dalton, Piece of My Heart.

In February 2012, I posted the above excerpt on my art blog. I came across this excerpt just as I was putting together an exhibition proposal on handbags. The contents of Janis Joplin’s handbag gives new meaning to the phrase, “what’s in your wallet?”

Just like Janis Joplin unknowingly foreshadowed where her life was going in some of her music, I feel like I must have instinctively known somehow our paths would cross again. Recently, I interviewed Francesca Ferrari and Paige McNamara who are sharing the role of Janis Joplin in North Carolina Theatre’s production A Night With Janis Joplin for Broadway World, which opens this week.

And although my exhibition never got off the ground, NC Theatre is hosting an exhibit for audiences attending the show May 4-20 at The Duke Energy Center at 2 E. South Street in Downtown Raleigh. The exhibition, The Fashion and Art of the Blues: Janis Joplin, Her Style, and Her Heroes includes authentic items from the Janis Joplin estate (Janis’ clothing and her famous tambourine). In addition, the theatre will present a talk-back panel discussion, The Musical Muses of Janis Joplin,  immediately following the Sunday, May 6 matinee performance at 4:30pm. The panel discussion is free and open to the public also at The Duke Energy Center.

It’s funny how things come full circle, isn’t it?

For more information or tickets to A Night With Janis Joplin, visit the NC Theatre website. The show runs May 4-20 at the AJ Fletcher Opera Theater in Downtown Raleigh.

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