It was really nice to see Jane tonight. My editor wanted me to do additional reporting, so I went and saw the great Pennebaker documentary, “Jane,” again, and during the Q and A I said nice things about the subject to the audience. (So did Moises Kaufman, one of her directors.) Jane was funny and gracious and more interested, really, in what Gaby had to say. It was packed, and a very mixed (racially) audience, thus proving my point in my profile that Jane has been embraced by a generation of emerging black feminists. These feminists wouldn’t even call themselves that–growing up they equated feminism with the white middle class–but life had taught them otherwise, they were now new professionals, and had grown up around activism (Black Panthers, etc) and were, like their mothers before them, the heads of their respective households–a role Jane herself knows something about but still won’t “own,” but at least she struggles with it. It was like a revival meeting, many women “testifying” to the pain they saw in the twenty-something Jane documented in the film.
The audience was very protective of her afterwards. I met Carol Jenkins who asked if my piece was “positive.” “I’ve been tracking these ladies for a long time,” she said, rather menacingly and then laughingly. A young woman came up to me afterwards to say how much she loved what I had to say about Jane during the Q and A. Afterwards, I repeated my audience remark to Jane. “My favorite thing or quote in the piece,” I told her was, “when Pennebaker said to me, ‘The reason we did this film about Jane, this young girl, was because no matter what role she was in, no matter the part, she really wanted, above all, to communicate something about herself.” When Jane asked when my piece was coming out and I told her in a few weeks, she started gnawing her fingers, little girl style. Then we laughed. When they asked Jane if the director in the Pennebaker doc was still alive, she said “No!” And cut herself off as she said, “Thank God!” Wow. As I was typing this Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat,” with his talk of Jane just came on I-Tunes.