This isn't Bird-Magic. Not even KG-Kobe. But it is men. And it is a bunch of Boston guys invading Hollywood to get serious. Only this time the NBA championship isn't at stake. Just the very manhood of everyone involved.
The Good Men Project is a foundation that helps at-risk boys through the sale of its recently released book and documentary film. The Project was founded in Boston and has been on a non-traditional event tour to get the word out. The founders started the tour inside Sing Sing talking to life time inmates and found their way to boys' schools, colleges, a Gay Center, a feminist bookstore, an off-Broadway theater, and a sold out gala at Boston's Institute for Contemporary Art.
But starting this Saturday the crew is taking their nationwide discussion of what it means to be a good father, good son, good husband, and good worker to Los Angeles. The keynote event will be the LA premier of the Good Men documentary film, directed by Matt Gannon, with a panel discussion afterwards with Mad Men creator Matt Weiner and Obama "Hope" artist Shepard Fairey talking about, you guessed it, manhood. Weiner and Fairey have never met so the conversation, framed by the portraits of ten men at turning points in their lives in the film, will be fascinating.
Both Weiner and Fairey have become icons in the advertising industry though neither is an ad man. Weiner's portrayal of 1960s America through the lens of Don Draper has become a social commentary of manhood not just then but now. Fairey's OBEY campaign was built through guerrilla art the world over getting him in hot water on a regular basis, even while his stated goal has been to turn traditional media on its head.
These two icon makers, then, will meet on the neutral ground of a Project whose goal is to spark a national conversation about manhood through real stories of men from all walks of life trying to do the right thing, even though they often fail and the very definition of "goodness" is up for debate in 2009.
Other events during the week readings at the Metropolitan Bookstore on Saturday December 5 and at Book Soup on Wednesday December 9, a screening at USC film School on December 8, a Tour of Homeboy Industries with Father Greg Boyle on December 9, and a forum on being a good Jewish man at Temple of Israel Hollywood on December 10.
But it's the screening with Weiner and Fairey that will be the money event causing the most stir. Issues to be discussed will be the connection between Mad Men and Good Men, Fairey's view of whether manhood is indeed at a turning point in America, and the role of art and advertising in determining how we view ourselves as men.
Fasten your seatbelts guys, this could get interesting.