Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell

Wow, its 3am this time and exhaustion is setting in, but I can’t sleep without getting a first draft of this statement out. I will revise, but it starts like this:

Allen Ginsberg was famous for the inspiration he found in Visions. William Blake appeared to him, as did Aurthur Russell, in the flesh. Ginsberg found him dressed in urban monks attire and ever after referred to him and his music as Pop Buddhist. They later lived for many years in a building stuffed with artists flats. Whether they were ever lovers, I’m not sure, but Russell lived out his life there with his faithful beloved partner, who was at the IFC center tonight to answer questions about Matt Wolf’s new film Wild Combination (GL).

Continuing with this week’s sea fascination: At the edge of The World, Cathie Opie’s depiction of surfers and Trouble the Water, Wild Combination emphasized Russell’s love of water. Fish tanks, the Staten Island Ferry, oceanic jaunts through midtown- wherever the water came from, he synthesized it into his work. Mastering cello, keys, guitar, vocals-this musician was a Brooklyn Socialite indeed- he could compose like his friend Philip Glass, create disco for raves at the Loft, and croon electro-cello-poetry. Arthur Russell rocks.

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