Collisions at the Corner of Art and Commerce

Passing Strange

Friday, June 18, 2010

Passing Strange
Find this DVD and watch it.  If you make music or are simply a fan, you need to see this beautiful recounting of young man's effort to shape his identity, artistically and otherwise.  I'm decidedly *not* a fan of musicals.  Whether musical theater or movies, the form generally makes me want to shove knitting needles in my eyes - I exaggerate, but only slightly.   However, 'Passing Strange'  is so brilliantly conceived, written, staged, and performed that it's in a whole different universe to me.  It tweaks the conventions of the form in wonderful ways, but is still very much musical theater.

The backstory:   Before the musical there were bands - 'The Negro Problem' and 'Stew'  fronted by a guy named Stew, who along with longtime collaborator, Heidi Rodewald, wrote the musical.  From there I'll let them tell it -  you can learn more at:    There's a bunch more about 'Passing Strange' there too.  But don't just visit the site, get the DVD and watch - Netflix has it.

The DVD is a document of closing night for the show,  and the film was directed by Spike Lee.   For me it  tapped into something real and strong and moving about the power of music and creativity.  I hope it does the same for you.

Stew at TED from a few years back here

updated: 8 years ago