wesley willis dies in chicago

40 year old homeless, schizophrenic musician Wesley Willis died earlier this week. He died of leukemia… I liked Wesley. It was complicated though. I kind of felt dirty for liking him. Linette and I saw him in Atlanta once and the crowd was full of people laughing at him and his antics, the nonsense that he would yell, the lyrics about fast food, the poorly played Casio organ, the way he kept his eyes averted from the crowd and shook around. After I saw the way he was treated by an audience, I had mixed feelings. I never went to see him play live again. I know that he enjoyed doing it, and that he made a living from it, but I couldnt be a part of what it had the potential of becoming I like his stuff (in small doses) because its interesting, different and completely original. More than his music though, I like his drawings. I regret not trying harder to acquire one of them from him when he was around. I should have taken a day off and driven to Chicago I had a chance to speak to him once in Atlanta. He was sitting at a bar with his headphones on, guzzling pop and drawing. As I was trying to get up the courage to go and speak with him, another person, a woman, went up and tapped him on the shoulder. He stood up (he was over six feet tall and over three hundred pounds) and head-butted her really hard. That, I would later find out, was the way Wesley greeted people. I decided to postpone our meeting His artwork, consisting mainly of pen and ink cityscapes of Chicago, is very good. You can actually see some of it right now in Chicago at the Intuit Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.

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