Art News

Shia LaBeouf Will Bum a Cigarette Off You (!) and Other Tidbits From a Weird-Ass Meet and Greet

Outside of a movie-theater screen and red carpet, most celebrities go to great lengths to make themselves invisible.

But most celebrities aren't Shia LaBeouf. These days, the former child and action-adventure leading pretty boy-turned gonzo performer is known more for his bizarre and very public performance-art pieces and tabloid-famous exploits than for his starring roles in blockbusters. Just last year, police in Austin, Texas, arrested LaBeouf after he acted a fool outside some clubs. Around the same time, he live-streamed himself watching all his movies. And who can forget the time in 2014 when he sat in an art gallery in L.A. with a paper bag over his head and let people do whatever they wanted to him? LaBeouf claims he was even raped by one stranger.

You'd think that would have been enough to keep him away from the art world forever (definitely away from making himself readily available to strangers' icky hands), but that's hardly been the case. Much to the vexation of local and national media, LaBeouf's latest performance piece (if that's what it was) began as a curious set of GPS coordinates from Boulder that he started posting on his Twitter account a few weeks ago. People assumed that his cryptic tweets were a publicity stunt to promote a MediaLive panel discussion at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art featuring the actor and artists Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, and maybe they were. But why, then, did the tweets continue after his May 22 appearance? 

Glanton Brandon and friends Daniel Rachlitz and Cody Durman decided to get to the bottom of the mystery.  To be more specific, they “hauled ass” to the location of a GPS coordinate in Lyons — Oskar Blues Brewery, as it turned out – and found the friendly, down-to-earth actor working on a project to, as Brandon tells it, “de-famous” himself.  “We got up there, and they were filming part of the Vice documentary,” Brandon says.  The documentary may or may not coincide – Brandon says LaBeouf and the camera crew following him around weren't yet sure what they'd make of the footage – with, a website with LaBeouf's most recent location, indicated by GPS coordinates. The home page explains to anyone's who's interested in meeting up: “You are invited to pick up the artists [LaBeouf and his film crew] whenever their coordinates are posted about and take them anywhere.”

Live, LaBeouf is far from the out-of-touch shit show he seems like in tabloids, Brandon says. The actor bought food and beer for Brandon, Rachlitz and Durman and a couple who joined them later; he also bummed cigarettes, asked them questions and discussed his latest art project. “He was giving himself up to go and see where people would take him and where he would end up and what would happen,” Brandon recalls. “He realized that there was some danger in it, but he said that what he does reflects what happens to he is as a person. He was talking about karma.”

When the meal ended, Brandon, Rachlitz and Durman left LaBeouf with the couple, who wanted to take the actor for a hike. There was also talk of skydiving. Brandon and his friends filmed their interaction with LaBeouf, who is currently “in transit.” 

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Ana Campbell has been Westword's managing editor since 2016. She has worked at magazines and newspapers around the country, picking up a few awards along the way for her writing and editing. She grew up in south Texas.
Contact: Ana Campbell