Thoth, the street performer about whom I wrote an article for the Village Voice, was the subject of a documentary film which was nominated for an Oscar, and apparently it won. Though not without Thoth getting harrassed by guards for performing on the red carpet before the ceremonies.
I pitched an article about Thoth initially because I thought he was nuts, or, I don’t know, maybe just because he was fascinating. It’s one of what I hope will be the few times where I succumbed to the kind of doily-burgher features impulse that Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson rail against, though I know it’ll probably happen again. Fortunately, the experience of being exposed to anyone on their own terms tends to make it harder for me to hold them at arm’s length. I still find it puzzling that Thoth wants to foster human understanding by singing in a language only he understands; it’s the same kind of thing I never understood about Brecht. But the conversations I’ve had with him between his bouts of fiddling were a balm right after September 11th. He was there in Angel Tunnel, and I knew he’d be there, thinking with both sides of his brain (one of his tricks is writing mirror image words with both hands, at once) and not flying a flag.