Slapped Actress is the eleventh and final track on fourth The Hold Steady album Stay Positive, coming after Joke About Jamaica.


Don't tell my sister About your most recent vision. Don't tell my family. They're all wicked strict Christians. Don't tell the hangers-on. Don't tell your friends. Don't tell them we went down to Ybor City again.

Don't tell the dancers. They'll just get distracted. Don't tell the DJs They already suspect us. Don't mention the bloodshed. Don't mention the skins. Don't tell them Ybor City almost killed us again.

We are the theater. They are the people dressed up to be seated. Looking upwards and dreaming. We're the projectors. We're hosting the screening. We're dust in the spotlights. We're just kind of floating.

Don't drop little hints. I don't want them to guess. Don't mention Tampa they'll just know all the rest. Don't mention the bloodshed don't tell them it hurts. Don't say we saw angels. They'll take us straight to the church.

They queue up for tickets to see the performance. They push to get closer. Looking upwards with wonder.

We are the actors. The cameras are rolling. I'll be Ben Gazzara You'll be Gena Rowlands.

Sometimes actresses get slapped.

Sometimes actresses get slapped. Sometimes fake fights turn out bad. Sometimes actresses get slapped. Some nights making it look real Might end up with someone hurt. Some nights it's just entertainment. Some other nights it's work.

They come in for the feeding. Sit in stadium seating. They're holding their hands out. For the body and blood now.

We're the directors. Our hands will hold steady. I'll be John Cassavettes Let me know when you're ready.

Man, we make our own movies.


The references to Ben Gazarra, Gena Rowlands, and John Cassavetes is an indirect reference to Opening Night, a 1977 film directed by Cassavetes, starring all three of these actors, "about a woman unable to admit that she is aging. When she witnesses the death of an adoring young fan, she begins to confront the personal and professional turmoils she faces in her own life."

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