Wanted: A Lifetime Subscription To Michel Gondry's Work

If we could, we would subscribe. Michel's work is so consistent, so mind-blowing. So joyful. So inventive. If we could bestow a "World Treasure" certification we would. He and his work would certainly have their own wing in The Ted Museum. I can honestly say I have never learned how to see the world differently as well as I did the time I got to spend by Michel's side as he directed "Human Nature". He sees the world -- and how to rearrange it -- like no other.

Even a young mind absorbs this is something else afoot, with Michel's brain. My son watched his work at a very young age, and holds him, like Charles Chaplin, as someone who does it all quite brilliantly -- and makes the world a better place to live as a result.

This is his latest video:

The Best Museum EVER!

Well, okay, maybe that's an over statement, but I have always wanted to live in a museum. Maybe it comes from reading books as a child and letting them corrupt me. Maybe it's because I can't afford art. Maybe because I still have fond memories of my college dorm room where I glued table settings and furniture to the ceiling and built a cave to sleep in just in case it all came tumbling down.

Awhile back when the Whitney had the Winograd show up, I became instantly jealous of Ronnie Bernstien. I went to see the show with Vanessa and Hope The Younger, and Mr. Frownland was using the locale as an office and rehearsing with one of his actors (I can't wait to see his followup!). But still, exchanging the price of membership to hang out in a museum is still not the same as living in one. After all you are not permitted to make a mess like you would if is your own home.
John Waters home should be a landmark -- both his place in Baltimore (particularly) and his apartment in New York are virtually museums that he lives in, able to make whatever sort of mess he likes. You get a bit of an overview of it here, but I think you'll have to find us money for FRUITCAKE if you want the full tour.
Without John Waters I never would have had the courage to make movies, to believe I could tell the stories I wanted to, or understood what a shrimp job was.

But What IS Mingering?

If I had to pick one thing and one thing  only that truly moved, inspired me, expanded my mind, and moved my feet,  I would hand that golden stature to the greatest soul superstar you never heard of: Mingering Mike.

How all this incredible work found its way back to this world is pretty great too.  A record collector, Dori Hadar, bought some crates of records sight unseen.  Although Dori knew pretty much all there was to know about soul music, he encountered records he had never seen before.  Upon closer inspection, these sealed and stickered discs were clearly hand-painted.  A full examination revealed a complex world of musicians, producers, and session players, their rise and fall, complete with side explorations into movie soundtracks and benefit albums.  A complete mythology and rockin' universe.
Although the actual discs in the jackets were often cardboard facsimiles, Mike and his cousin recorded several tracks over the years, singing all the instruments themselves.  "Coffee Cake" is my number one single of the last three seasons.  Mike's music is now available for download on eMusic.  The book is must-buy for anyone who has ever danced or sang in their dreams (and Amazon has it bargain priced now).  The Ted Museum would certainly give Mike's entire collection front hall prominence.  And the movie, well the movie, will change your life and blow your mind (but we have to make it first!).

Favorite Jeffrey Lewis Videos

The desire for authenticity is an interesting thing.  I often have had creative executives say to me that they are looking for something that "feels authentic", which I take it is something entirely different from something that is authentic.  The DFA is closely related to "keeping it real" which is a style I've seen worn quite well by those who are anything but (see Adbusters' great article on Hipsters).

Anyway I think Jeffrey caught all that and more with this Will Oldham (see prior post) Williamsburg Subway Horror.  When I first saw it I felt it was very much "right here right now", but that was earlier this year, but now when I watch it get then same kind of eye-well that the best nostalgia trigger gives.
I have a song list on my iTunes called "Songs About Songs and Singers".  It is one of my favorite groupings.  Jeffrey's made it far more than once.  Leonard Cohen should be proud of all that he inspires.

Jeffrey Lewis Is The Truth Of Now

Early this year, we stumbled into a show at Joe's Pub.  We were there to see some folkie that there was some buzz about.  Luckily there was some guy all alone at his table with great sight lines and we invited ourselves to join him.  Then Jeffrey Lewis took the stage.

Somehow we knew nothing about Jeffrey.  He wasn't whom we came to see.  On top of it all, he was even performing his own songs but those of the Anarcho Punk band CRASS who I also knew absolutely nothing about.  The night remains one of my favorite rock events ever!  Okay, not quite X's Wild Gift tour at Boston's The Channel, with Mission of Burma opening, but still, right up there, and that other one was sooo long ago.
Jeffrey has an incredible body of work.  I have now bought or otherwise acquired virtually all of it and it thrills me repeatedly.  The songs are consistently a blast, funny & wise, and occasionally work their way deep into my subconscious.  I love his comic books, but his histories (The History Of Lower East Side Punk, Of Communism, Of The Fall) really get me.  Now he's written something on the NYTimes' consistently great Measure For Measure blog that is the music equivalent of Jonathan Lethem's piece on influences earlier this year.
I look forward to this world where Jeffrey Lewis continues to consistently makes all kinds of stuff to delight and wake us up.  There's so much of it out there, I am going to have to make it a couple of posts, so stay tuned.
The Complete History of Punk Rock:

The History Of Communism (Parts 1 & 2):