Everything's Memorex

James Drakes conversations speak silently

Considering all of that, looking at the exhibit with the knowledge that it might not be documentary gives it a "Remember the Maine" quality.

Drake can do whatever he wants. These are not photos in a newspaper; they're photos in a gallery. And it's been 20 years since the gallerati stopped insisting on "straight photography" and opened its collective mind and pocketbook to the fabricated and artfully staged. In today's tabloid world, there's little difference between a TV re-enactment and its "real-life" inspiration, except for the quality of the acting. Everything is malleable. And when the technology gets better, nothing will be live, and everything will be Memorex.

"Conversations:Inside/Outside" at Cal State Long Beach's University Art Museum, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 985-5761. Through April 23; Jimmy Santiago Baca reads his poetry inspired by Drake's work. Wed., 5 p.m.
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