[Over the next several months leading up to the celebration of our 15th Anniversary in October, Joe’s Pub will be highlighting drawings from archival artist Michael Arthur who has captured the likes Amy Winehouse, Pete Townshend, Alicia Keys, Carly Simon and many more on our stage. Read about Michael’s story, and stay tuned for details on how you might earn the opportunity to work with Joe’s Pub as an archival artist by submitting your artwork via Tumblr.]
Pete Townshend used to co-host (with his wife, Rachel Fuller) these occasional shows in which they’d invite special guests to first play a stripped-down, solo acoustic set of a few songs and then Townshend would join for the second half of a guest’s set and play along. It was called In The Attic and it was all very unrehearsed, spur-of-the-moment, and amazing music. When I was younger, I had had a cassette tape of Townshend playing solo acoustic at the Secret Policeman’s Ball—the charity for Amnesty International—and I was really excited to be able to experience an intimate acoustic set from him—while not in my car driving. It was surreal, really. There were many other guests that night and a few other drawings, which we’ll be sharing later. Some official footage of this night was released on a CD/DVD set (remarkably priced over here). Someone in the audience taped and uploaded Townshend’s complete solo set here.
This was drawn during a set by Jenny Scheinman, a long time collaborator of Nels Cline. I think Cline had only recently joined Wilco at this point—he’d been in the band a year or two or so. I’m a huge Wilco admirer and I was really excited to see this show, both because I enjoyed Scheinman’s work and I liked that Cline’s idea of a night off was to play. Cline wasn’t feeling very well—he had chicken pox and was woozy. But he was amazing.
I’ve actually known Sxip for a long time. In the nineties I lived in Austin, Texas and Sxip was sound-designer/music-composer for Craving Gravy—a play by John Walch that I acted in. We never actually met in Austin, but over the years, after moving to New York our paths crossed more than a few times. Still, we never really connected personally until we both found ourselves at the Pub. Sxip has a gift of bringing unique talent together and creating music out of … well, really anything. His Hour of Charm shows were where I first encountered so many performers whose work I continue to admire: Reggie Watts, Adam Matta, Corn Mo, Rachelle Garniez, Amy Gordon—the list goes on and on. The friendship that emerged between Sxip and I via the Pub resulted in a collaboration (with John Ivy as well) of an animated music video that debuted over at The New York Times OpEd.
Captions by Michael Arthur.
Drawing on memories of drawing at Joe’s Pub!