Lena Dunham Reluctantly Decides to Pay Book Tour Perfomers

Somewhere in her reportedly $6 million of annual earnings, she will find the money.

Laurie Simmons and her daughter Lena Dunham at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (February 6, 2014). Photo: via the Boston Globe.
Laurie Simmons and her daughter Lena Dunham at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (February 6, 2014). Photo: via the Boston Globe.

 

Laurie Simmons and her daughter Lena Dunham at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (February 6, 2014). Photo: via the Boston Globe.

Laurie Simmons and her daughter Lena Dunham at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (February 6, 2014). Photo: via the Boston Globe.

Girls-creator Lena Dunham, daughter of photographer and filmmaker Laurie Simmons (see “Laurie Simmons Casts Daughter Lena Dunham in New Film“) and painter Carroll Dunham, has reversed her unpopular decision not to pay the opening acts on her upcoming book tour, reports Gawker.

The site was the first to criticize Dunham for selecting seven warm-up acts to perform free of charge during the 11-city tour for her new book, Not That Kind of Girl. Last month, after Dunham’s website announced an open call for the acts, the actress, writer, and producer received almost 600 video auditions. Among the applicants: performance artists, stand-up comedians, gymnasts, and at least one sand artist.

Damning figures compiled by Gawker include Dunham’s $6 million annual earnings, her $3.7 million book advance, and the $304,000 the book tour will earn in ticket sales alone.

At least one opening act wasn’t about to complain. “I’m fine with not being paid,” comedian Caroline Bassett told Gawker, pretty much sticking to the first line of defense used by those offering unpaid internships in the arts. “I have a chance to work with someone whom I respect and who’s highly accomplished, which is rare for someone at my level. It’ll be a unique addition to my credits.”

Dunham Decides to Pay

Nevertheless, in response to the backlash, Dunham announced her decision to pay her openers, this via a series of Tweets.

“As an artist raised by artists, no one believes more than I do that creators should be fairly compensated for their work,” she wrote. “Some good points were raised and I’ve ensured that all opening acts will be compensated for their time, their labor, and their talents.”

Dunham declined to mention whether she ever found herself on the short end of the stick during her days as part of the parody art collective Delusion Downtown Divas, which she created in 2009. While the group was the subject of an Internet television show, it did have at least one live gig, serving as emcees for Rob Pruitt’s first Annual Art Awards, hosted at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2009.

Dunham did get in at least one dig at her detractors, Tweeting that “the fact that Gawker pointed this out really proves Judd Apatow’s saying that ‘a good note can come from anywhere.'”

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