Local musician Mindie Lind was buying tickets for Lena Dunham's reading at University Temple United Methodist Church when she saw a button on University Book Store's site announcing that Dunham was looking for local talent to open for her at each stop on her book tour. Lind didn't think twice about entering. Signup "was extremely easy," Lind says—just a spot for your name and a link to a video displaying your talent. Lind even had the perfect recent example of her work: her band Inly had just completed a music video for their song "Mississippi Misfit" with director Ryan Jorgensen:
Unfortunately, two days after Lind sent the submission, she realized that Dunham was looking for solo acts, not bands, so, she says, "I called my video friends" and then made a video for her song "Lowlands," which she re-submitted.
Then there was a lot of waiting.
The deadline for Dunham to choose came and went, and Lind was getting impatient for closure: "Okay, fine, she didn’t choose me, but who did she choose?" Lind "sent a bunch of e-mails to made-up variations of 'Lena Dunham' at 'lenadunham.com.'" She estimates she sent about a dozen of those e-mails, but she's "actually glad that none of them made it," because "a few minutes after I’d sent all of them," Dunham's people sent an e-mail asking her to open the reading. "It was a weird day on the internet," Lind concludes.
Late last month, Dunham was under attack from Gawker and other sites for not offering to pay her opening acts. The lack of payment didn't bother Lind, because "I did not click on that button to get paid." But soon after the uproar started, Lind and all the other opening acts received an e-mail from Dunham explaining "that she’s heard the criticisms and thinks that it’s a totally appropriate response." Dunham agreed to pay her openers, and Lind is more than happy to forgive her: "I think we need to allow people to learn from the stuff that they don’t do right the first time."
Lind has been a Dunham fan since she watched Tiny Furniture on Netflix years ago. "I feel very Lena Dunham about Lena Dunham," she explains. "I think she’s really charming and talented and self-aware and self-involved and embarrassing in this very specific not-adorable kind of way." Lind admires the way Dunham leaves herself "inspirationally exposed" to her viewers and readers. It's something she tries to do every time she goes onstage. "I think I have no choice but to do that," she says. "If you go onstage as a person without legs, there is no hiding from who you are and, you know, I’ve never really been someone to cover that up." The only choice, Lind says, is to "exploit it and show it and play with it."