Saturday, February 23, 2008

More eccentric blackness!

Big thanks to Bay Radical for introducing me to Thoth, a biracial, ambisexual performance artist. Thoth is fantastic... the very epitome of eccentric blackness.

His album “The Herma: The Life and Land of Nular-in” is available on iTunes. I’m streaming the track “Nular-in” on my Vox spot. Click here to listen. (Thoth sings in his own made-up language!)

Thoth was the subject of an Academy Award-winning documentary short film a few years ago.

More recently, he appeared as a contestant on “America’s Got Talent.” Thoth’s art was not appreciated by those Philistines:

10 comments:

Bay Radical said...

Thanks for the shoutout UBM. I haven't posted in forever but I hope to get something together on the 1969 SF State Student Strike this week.

As for Thoth - I used to see him playing in BART stations all the time until he got priced out of San Francisco during the dot com boom.

Brendan said...

Priced out of SF? Last time I saw Thoth was in Central Park a couple years back holding court under a pedestrian bridge and even my friends living in Bed-Stuy pay more rent than I do in SF...

Civic Center BART was being entertained by a less theatrical but more eccentric violinist last I passed through-- he had a music stand and sheet music but was playing like he was a deaf epileptic... Watching people hurry past covering their ears was always worth a smile and it was interesting in its way... For the life of me, tho, I can't remember what race the guy might have been... I'll have to go check...

Bay Radical said...

Well, according to some article on the internet, he moved to NY so he could live rent-free with his mama.

My favorite BART musician is the guy who plays "Oh! Susanna" on what I presume is a huqin.

Brendan said...

Okay, it took a couple of days to have my mind accidentally stumble across a possible contender for eccentric blackness which, considering I was born and bred in San Francisco, is a little surprising... So does Vaginal Davis have a place in the upper echelon of zaniness? It also reminds me that I keep wanting to go back and re-watch "Paris is Burning", a documentary on poor black drag-queens in New York...

Undercover Black Man said...

Hey Brendan. When it comes to eccentric blackness, there's a fuzzy line between those who are outrageously weird as a matter of calculation, and those who just can't help themselves... the genuine eccentrics.

Vaginal Davis I would put in the former category. He can be entertaining, though.

deeceevoice said...

Not feelin' you on this guy. The Nular-in piece was far more listenable than his "America's Got Talent" piece -- but it didn't showcase his talent as a musician as effectively.

Yeah, he's talented, but he seems pretty much another sad casualty of the "racially" polarized society in which we live. I have to wonder. Had he a more nurturing/affirming experience in his formative years and embraced his blackness rather than clearly trippin' on/away from it into some weird, indeterminate ethnicity of his own concoction -- complete with an ersatz language -- could he have been another Coltrane? Another Ellington? Or, with that vocal range of his, a powerful, moving vocalist?

We'll never know. And it's too bad. Not to completely diss the brother, but in the end, it seems to me another case of black genes on crack.

Self-loathing's a b*tch.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Harsh, deecee. But I must admit, I never drew a connection between his make-believe language and any sense of racial alienation.

But I keep listening to the "Nular-in" piece... it's really something. His voice is remarkable.

I'm all for freaks, so I'll be digging deeper into Thoth's album.

deeceevoice said...

It's not just the language. It's the whole get-up/persona. One of the U.S. Native American tribes? Maya? Aztec?

A weird name that sounds like an inversion of "lunar." (Sun-Ra on acid? lol) And, yes, the invented language.

You understand what I'm getting at?

Looks like he's trying very hard to reinvent himself as virtually anything but a Blackman -- as an exotic of sorts -- which is a classic hang-up of "bi-racial" Black folks.

deeceevoice said...

And I seem to recall that in response to one of Sharon Osborne's questions (no time to play it back -- deadlines) -- he says something about doing what he does to feel better about himself -- or something to that effect.

Sorry, but he's a classic case.

Not that it's a criticism; just an observation. There are lots of people walking around with issues. At least his is a creative response.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Keenly observed.