Niche: Here for It, #316

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

Last night my friends Byron and Lawrence held another one of their Soup Parties, which readers of this here digest may remember as the Best Thing I Have Ever Done. I ran into them out and about the other night and was roundly excoriated, however, because I had had to decline the invitation with the heaviest of regrets. (Every time I write regrets, I get the mental image of that "No Ragrets" tattoo from the movie We're the Millers and I chuckle, which is an odd sensation given that I am writing about regrets. I'm like "Haha, I wish I had made different choices in life! But the world only spins forward! I must forever live in the shadow of my past self haha!" Anyway, in this case I am thinking of a tattoo that would read "Some Ragrets!")

Me, unfortunately!

"I can't come to your competitive Soup Party, unfortunately, because I am going to DC to attend my friend Sean's made-up award show The Seanscars, for which he has rented out a theater and made it very clear that we should dress up!"

I may have made a lot of peculiar choices in life, but I don't have any ragrets about living the kind of life where I am overbooked with Quirky Gay Frivolity That Seems Initially Inscrutable but Actually Is Fun For Everyone.

This is the fourth Seanscars but the first I've been able to attend. I thought about wearing a suit but instead wore a green velvet turtleneck and a pink sequined jacket, which isn't so much Oscars as it is Grammys or, at best, Disney Channel star trying to make a splash at the Golden Globes, but I stand by it.

I have to say, I don't think I realized how involved this fake award show giving out fake awards was going to be. Which is silly of me considering that Sean printed and mailed custom cardstock invitations on which he'd photoshopped his face on to both Barbie and Ken. This was the Super Bowl for people who are obsessed with Ayo Edebiri's Letterboxd account.

Me, if I was presenting an Oscar for Most Blunt (award for the movie with the most Emily Blunt)

He had a musical interlude where he recorded a Billie Eilish parody and then used some kind of computer wizardy to turn that recording into an AI version of Billie Eilish's voice. He wrote and performed an opening song, with choreography, and then had an opening monologue, with jokes about people in the audience. (He told everyone I was his famous friend and reminded them that they might know me from my most recent job, starring in American Fiction.)

Me buying every Ann Patchett book at Parnassus.

First of all, I will absolutely take a Jeffrey Wright comparison, especially from Sean who is like 12-15 years younger than me depending on how much I'm lying. Sean frequently will send me texts that say things like "Just watched 9 to 5 again. What was it like seeing it on opening weekend, which as I recall was also your 40th birthday?" I consider myself the Gay Morgan Freeman to Sean's [Insert White Character Learning a Life Lesson]. The Legend of Bagger Prance, if you will. So being likened Jeffrey Wright is a thrilling. (I am angling for Sterling K. Brown next year, though. May we all have such a hot midlife crisis!)

Secondly, there is nothing I love more than someone so deeply committing to a bit that you fear for their sanity. I absolutely do not want to spend my time in any other way. My love language is Doing Too Much. The highest form of compliment you can give me is a nervous chuckle followed by "...wait are you serious?" So this was, suffice it to say, a perfect evening for me.

The Seanscars also had other fake awards shows nestled inside of it where his friends made up their own concepts and criteria and gave out their own awards. So during this three-hour event (every minute superb) we had musical parody awards, a series of awards recognizing excellence in the field of horror films that aired on Shudder, categories liker "The If I Had A Nickel, I'd Have Two Nickels Award" for something that happened twice in two movies and "Best Male Feminist", and a sub-award show where Sean's younger brother gave out Gen Z awards to TikToks and reminded Sean that he was a Millennial. (My, how the turn tables!!!)

What I enjoy most about niche events like The Seanscars, or the Soup Party or the birthday party for Miss Piggy that Chris Newcomer and I are throwing, is that they inspire me to have a more joyful, weird, enthusiastic appreciation of things like movies, Muppets, or wet foods. And they make me even more in awe of the weird, joyful, enthusiastic, arguably younger friends that I'm lucky to have. Congrats to all the winners, ragrets to all the losers!

The Super Bowl of Seeing a Play I Wrote

I have so many plays running right now. Sources say three!

Mrs. Harrison - Montgomery Theater in Souderton, PA - February 1-25 - More info

The Folks at Home - Alleyway Theater in Buffalo, NY - February 9-March 2 - More info

The Folks at Home - Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis, IN - February 20 - March 16 - More info

An Army of Lovers - Azuka Theater in Philadelphia - May 2-19 - More info (ALL TICKETS ARE PAY WHAT YOU WISH, AFTER THE SHOW! You can get tickets today for free!)

"...wait are you serious?",