Friday, August 10, 2012


In a pivotal scene in the comedy Pineapple Express, James Franco as a fuzzed up marijuana dealer and Seth Rogen as his erstwhile customer meet in a cluttered apartment for a transaction.  In the weed-clouded room, the boys wax poetic about the wonderfulness of chronic while a strange, slithery jazz plays in the background.
I was immediately attracted to the oddly surreal music, and a quick stop on IMDB brought me the desired information: It was the work the brilliant blind composer/musician/inventor Moondog.

Moondog (real name: Louis Thomas Hardin) was the epitome of the outside artist.  He was born in Kansas in 1916 an moved to New York in the 1940s where he became a street musician. He was a fixture on 53rd street and 6th avenue for over 30 years and was well known to the community  for his eccentricities: he sported a flowing white beard and homemade viking outfit complete with a horned helmet. He played his strange music on curious self-invented instruments, but counted among his admirers and friends established musicians like Leonard Bernstein and Philip Glass. 

Even though Moondog’s music is often characterized as avant-garde, it is strangely accessible. Though wholly original, there’s humanism to his style that, even in the soundtrack of a Judd Apatow movie, commands attention.   

Click hear Lament I: Bird’s lament

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