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Gary Wilson at The Silent Movie Theatre

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A couple weeks ago, Gary Wilson , the subject of the documentary “You Think You Really Know Me – The Gary Wilson Story” performed songs from his obscure masterpiece album “You Think You Really Know Me” after the screening of the film.

In 1977, Gary Wilson recorded his brilliantly bizarre debut album in the basement of his parents’ house in Endicott, New York. Then, Wilson disappeared. Fans of his music were unable to locate him. Filmmaker Michael Wolk in 2002 set out to find Wilson whose esoteric album became a sought after gem for obsessive record collectors and musicians. The film chronicles the search and discovery of Wilson.

And Wilson’s music? “You Think You Really Know Me” is a beautifully strange personal work that sails the horizons of avant garde, robot Fluxus funk, chromium pop, performance art and abstract cosmic lounge. It’s music that doesn’t sound like it was recorded in the 70s or even on this planet. However, even in its remote abstractions, Wilson’s songs possess an accessible humor and angular originality that leaves most first-time listeners awestruck. Wolk’s film is an endearing journey that pieces Wilson’s history, his art and his uniqueness.

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After the screening, Gary Wilson took to the stage with a backing band that consisted of fan and friend Ross Harris (Sukia/ DJ Me DJ You). Harris was the partly responsible for the revived interest in Wilson's music. Harris was the one who hipped many folks to Gary Wilson's music including Motel Records, who play an integral part of the Wilson search narrative and Harris' longtime friend Beck. Dressed in a red robe, veil and his signature dark sunglasses, Gary Wilson appeared with an inflatable life-size woman doll riding piggyback; he seemed to be splashed with flour or baby powder. It's difficult to perform for an audience that just watched a documentary on you but Wilson crooned and writhed away on the stage and floor to some of his classic tracks like the seductive "6.4=make out." Although the set was short, it was crammed to the gills with a distinctive absurdity that only Gary Wilson can create.


YouTube clip: Gary Wilson's Gary's in the Park,' Directed by Ross Harris

"You Think You Really Know Me" has been re-released on Motel Records. Plexifilm has put out the documentary.

The screening of the documentary and Gary Wilson's performance is part of the "Don't Knock the Rock '08" film festival, which is organized by Cinefamily and director/writer Alison Anders. This summer proves to be an exciting season at Cinefamily so dig the special events at their calendar. We plan on covering more of these events. Stay tuned and hopefully we'll see you there, too. Meanwhile, we recommend you try and get to know Gary Wilson.

Special thanks to Gary Wilson, Michael Wolk, Cinefamily, Pam and Kabeer at Girlie Action, and Alison Anders.