26 November 2003 | matlock-6
A real hidden gem
Wesley Willis was a very unique person from Chicago, who grew up poor in the notorious housing projects, was a victim of violent abuse, and developed a mental illness (he was diagnosed with schizophrenia). He was homeless for a while, supporting himself by selling drawings of various places in Chicago, until he discovered his musical side and began performing spoken word poetry to the accompanyment of an inexpensive canned-music keyboard. Eventually, he made some very good friends who began to look out for him and make sure he took his medication and had a decent place to sleep. Perhaps the high point of his musical career was the forming of his noise-punk band "Wesley Willis Fiasco", which recorded on Jello Biafra's "Alternative Tentacles" label. Sadly, Willis passed away in 2003 after a battle with lukemia.
The DVD is great if you are a Wesley Willis fan. It's well made in a film school kind of way, including interviews with many of Willis' friends, as well as a huge amount of discussions with Willis himself. Viewers get to experience first hand the kind of meanness Willis would have to endure from time to time, as well as see how kind people can be with someone who just needs a little extra bit of patience and understanding. A full Los Angeles "Wesley Willis Fiasco" concert is included as well.