John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The exhibit next heads to Los Angeles, and then all over the world (well, maybe).
Nicolas Cage is many things, from undisputed master of ham to latter-day Elvis to castle collector to cockroach muncher. And now he has one more bit of trivia for his IMDB page: inspiration for the first art show devoted to the all-important phenomenon of Nicolas Cage.
"Nicolas Cage Is God" opened for one night this Saturday in San Francisco's Mission District, and it just dominated the block. Long lines that formed early were patrolled by suit-wearing bouncers enforcing occupancy regulations. Inside, people were wearing creepy, eyeless Cage masks and the gaudy garb of the actor's sad-sack hero from Raising Arizona. A burlesque dancer twirled her goods on stage wearing Cage-faced pasties.
I've been to art openings for Damien Hirst that didn't evince this level of excitement. It's as if all of Cage's devotees were melting down into a critical mass of fandom. Should a middle-aged white dude with a passing resemblance to the actor happen to have strolled down the block, they probably would've ravaged him until there was nothing left but hunks of hair. It makes you feel for Bay Area gallery managers who sometimes struggle to attract audiences for more traditional openings – all this artistic hubbub over a guy who's Internet-famous for yelling, "NOT THE BEES!"
The show was created by uber-fan Ezra Croft, who sourced Cage-themed art from all over the planet, according to a HuffPo interview a while back:
"About 3 months ago, I began to ponder the enigmatic intensity of Nicolas Cage, wondering, 'This guy has been in almost 70 movies, he's an icon, but not classically so. Why hasn't there been an art show dedicated to him?' And then, like the clouds parting, I knew this show had to happen."...
"I posted Craigslist ads all over the world, including the Ukraine, Nigeria, Japan and many major United States cities. Nic Cage fans and haters have been coming out of the woodwork in droves. I have almost 80 artists from four continents participating, and many from the Bay Area. Facebook has also had a hand in this show's almost viral notoriety. People I'm not even connected with are beating down my door to participate. It's kind of scary and awesome at the same time."
It's also perhaps the beginning of something bigger. The show departs for a Los Angeles appearance in July – who knows what city the Cage-art mothership will descend on after that?
(The previous butt was plastered with tiny images of Nicolas Cage.)
Photos by John Metcalfe