Matt Wolf’s documentary, “Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell,” reconstructs the emergence and all too quick dissolve of the musician and composer, who died of AIDS in 1992—as well as the rise and fall of the downtown New York community that nurtured him. A young man from Oskaloosa, Iowa, with bad acne scars and a cello, Russell landed in downtown New York in 1973, after a short stint in a commune in San Francisco and occasional collaborations with Allen Ginsberg. In the words of his peer Philip Glass, Russell was “one of the more eccentric of our community.” Wolf has dug up rare footage that will make some New York natives tremble: pictures of the Loft, the informal dance party that some claim as the birth of disco itself, and short films of Russell performing by himself, seated with his cello and singing the unearthly ballads that were exactly the “Buddhist bubblegum” music he told Ginsberg he wanted to make. “Wild Combination” has its New York première at the Kitchen May 15-17. ♦
Texto de Sasha-Frère Jones na New Yorker.