BEFORE ANYTHING, I am going to squawk at you like a bird. I'm going to yelp out this harsh, weird name, a strange and exotic word for a strange and exotic festival: Jandek. JANDEK! Some backstory: Jandek has been self-releasing these amazing, discordant, lonely sounding, spooky folk records since 1978. Up until 2004 he'd never appeared in public (as an artist anyway). He's stayed away from press, hasn't toured, and has built an honest-to-god following on song content alone. He lives in Texas. Or maybe he doesn't; this is how he rolls.
Now in his 50s, Jandek has come out of hiding and has played 11 (mostly unannounced) shows since October 2004. This is a big deal. Another big deal is somehow Chris and Isaac Slusarenko, the brothers that own Clinton Street Video and Jackpot Records, respectively, landed the man's first ever West Coast appearance for their festival.
Says Chris Slusarenko, who screened the Jandek documentary Jandek on Corwood at last year's fest, "We heard through Corwood Industries that he has been through Portland before and was quite taken with it. It was one of the few places in the US that he had desire to perform. A public performance by Jandek in Portland is a major coup and we're glad to be bringing him."
This is not to say the festival is a mere Jandek vehicle. Monday night kicks off with We Jam Econo, a documentary about punk rock icons, the Minuteman.
Tuesday is rare rap battle films along with Keepintime, a documentary on the hiphop producer/funk and soul drummer nexus. Wednesday is garage/psychedelic gems. Thursday is Jandek. Friday is the Beaver Trilogy (See film shorts, pg. 50). On Saturday Jeff Krulik (Heavy Metal Parking Lot) screens some of his films including his new documentary, Heavy Metal Field Party. Sunday is films and a special appearance by rock 'n' roll moviemaker Chuck Statler.
And like that, it's over—a heavy week of big substance, crazy fun, and mystery.
"I like that most of the festival is free of charge and that there is always a bit of mystery surrounding what we're going to bring or show," says Slusarenko. We just wanted to bring some of our heroes to Portland. The artists we are bringing to Portland have the same identity as our businesses—they are fiercely independent, have a long local history, and are off the beaten path. So this year's festival is a bit of heaven as well as a fever dream for us."