Lena Dunham’s Wild Ride – Reinventing the Book Tour

By Deborah Jensen 

lena-300x300She’s got ‘Portlandia’ star Carrie Brownstein and novelist Zadie Smith, ‘Prep” and ‘American Wife’ author Curtis Sittenfeld, poetry, live music, and food trucks, plus a set of artists whose videos she screened in bed. The ‘happenings’ sold nearly 8,000 tickets in less than a week. Starting today in New York City, Lena Dunham begins her 11-city ‘traveling circus of sorts that seems more like a roving Burning Man festival’ than a book tour, notes the New York Times. Lena told the Times:

‘I found the idea of a traditional author tour, where you go and stand behind the lectern and talk about yourself, I found it a little bit embarrassing, a little blatantly self-promotional and a little boring. I wanted it to have an arts festival feel, which is why we now have all these remarkable, special weirdos who I found on the Internet.’

They were chosen from the 600-plus who answered Dunham’s call for video auditions on her website, including, notes the Times, ‘a sand artist, a ukulele player, a cappella singers, gymnasts, performance artists and stand-up comics, even some exceptionally charismatic babies.’ Seven made the final cut and will be performing across the country, setting the stage for Lena Dunham and her candid, smart, and funny Not That Kind of Girl. Random House beat nineteen publishers bidding for Not That Kind of Girl in a frenzied two-day auction. The book is a collection of personal essays discussing her coming of age and coming into her creative stride. She ponders obsessive-compulsive disorder, abusive boyfriends, wonderful friends, self-actualization, and sexual assault. In writing the tell-all, Dunham told Terry Gross of NPR’s ‘Fresh Air,’ her main concern was protecting her loved ones.

 I feel very, very conscious that my parents, my boyfriend, my friends don’t feel in any way demeaned, exposed or abused by the work that I make,’ she said. ‘I think we all have enough content of our own that we don’t have to expose the people in our lives to these dark forces.

Opening her book tour stage and welcoming artists that appeal to her into the spotlight might be her unique way of sharing the positive aspects of success and keeping the dark at bay.