Outburst

During the life of artist and musician Wesley Willis, many a pair of liberal white hands were wrung over the mindset of his audience. Did the hooting, hollering people in the crowds at his shows genuinely appreciate the efforts of this "outsider artist," or were they abetting a twisted modern-day minstrel act by laughing at the profane ramblings of an obese, schizophrenic black man? Ultimately, it was a pointless and patronizing concern, because in either case Willis (who died of leukemia in 2003) would have kept on writing hilarious, childishly simple songs like "Rock and Roll McDonalds" and "Birdman Kicked My Ass" over his keyboard's cheesy demo beats. Telling the voices in his head to "suck a panda bear's spermy nutsack" was his way of silencing his demons. But it was also his hustle: The man would sell CDs and drawings to anyone he met. The documentary Wesley Willis's Joy Rides by Eyeosaur Productions celebrates his life and legacy, and screens at 7 p.m. Friday as the inaugural show in the KNON Friday Night Music Documentary series. Cost is $6 in advance and $10 at the door at the Lakewood Theater, 1825 Abrams Parkway. Call 214-288-9591 or visit knon.org. Rock over London, rock on Chicago. Wesley Willis's Joy Rides: It's a Rock You Mentary.
Fri., April 23, 7 p.m., 2010
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Jesse Hughey
Contact: Jesse Hughey

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