Wild Man Larry Fischer

We just watched a documentary about Wild Man Larry Fischer, whom I used to know a bit in Berkeley in 1965.  He used to come to our house on Thursday evenings, when we had open house.  All sorts of characters used to come, including, for a while some other people from the Sexual Freedom League, although nothing sexual ever happened.  Saul Landau filmed part of a documentary about Jerry Rubin one of the occasions, but he said he never finished the project because he was not very positive about Rubin.

Wild Man Larry Fischer never sang at our house. At the time, he billed himself as a human jukebox, playing music by slapping, hitting, and pushing various body parts.  Neither I nor my roommates ever engaged in any serious conversation with him.

We did not see him for a while.  When he returned he told us that Frank Zappa had held him as a prisoner in his basement several months.

The documentary showed him as a very talented, paranoid schizophrenic, admired by many people in the music business.  But nobody ever got close to him.

I watched the film with a sense of shame.  If others who shared his talent and interests never got close, of course, I wouldn’t    have.  Even so, I was more taken with his strangeness than his humanity.  I never had a clue about the demons were torturing him, but maybe some signal of sympathy might have been a appreciated.

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