Skip

Still in the shadows, an artist in his own right
October 4, 2006 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Interesting update on Maxon Crumb, fascinating guru brother of counterculture cartoonist Robert Crumb.
posted by crunchland (33 comments total)

 
If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out Terry Zwigoff's 1994 movie, Crumb.
posted by crunchland at 7:03 AM on October 4, 2006


Good stuff. Thanks, crunchland.

I've seen the movie Crumb about five times and each time I wish the Crumb sisters had agreed to share their perspective. Have there ever been any interviews with Sandra or Carol?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:23 AM on October 4, 2006


So, what, now we're supposed to send $23 to this guy, too?
posted by soyjoy at 7:41 AM on October 4, 2006


The bottom line is that Maxon Crumb is a very odd guy with no desire -- or ability -- to duplicate the patterns of existence and thought that most of us call "normal."

That is what makes him fascinating, and that is what makes him maddening.
Fascinating? Why? Stop staring. That life is available to you, too. Chances are you will find not find it fascinating in a good way. Yes, it will capture your attention, but the reason more people don't do it is because it is a hard life and unhealthy to live quite so poorly.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:45 AM on October 4, 2006


What a great link.
Although it does not concentrate on his family as much as Zwigoff's Crumb, I really enjoy The Confessions of Robert Crumb which was produced by/for the BBC. Check it out.
posted by squidfartz at 7:52 AM on October 4, 2006


Still flossing his digestive tract I see.
posted by hal9k at 7:56 AM on October 4, 2006


Fascinating? Why?

I agree. The only reason people find this "fascinating" is because of the celebrity connection. There are nutcases like this living out their sad, obsessive lives all over the world. I'm glad the guy is getting money for his art and isn't hassling women on the street, but that's about it. (Not complaining about the post; it's a newsworthy story because it's about Crumb's brother, and I'm interested because I saw Crumb. But that doesn't make him a particularly interesting nutcase.)
posted by languagehat at 8:06 AM on October 4, 2006


Still flossing his digestive tract I see

My most enduring memory from the movie was that rather disconcerting scene. String? I'm a frayed knot.
posted by fixedgear at 8:08 AM on October 4, 2006


Thanks for the update. Even years later, Crumb is still the best documentary I've ever seen. And I still find Charles's lot the most tragic - those tiny meticulous notebooks of perfect print devolving to chickenscratch. It doesn't get much creepier or sadder than that.
posted by melixxa600 at 8:18 AM on October 4, 2006


The difference between Maxon and your ordinary, everyday nutcase is that, if you saw the movie, you were introduced to him. You learned about his bizarre idiosyncrasies. You stared at him without the fear of being confronted by doing it. Is he any more special than the ordinary, everyday nutcase that yells at the ghosts of dogs on your street corner? Probably not.

But, like the stories in a book by Oliver Sacks, that doesn't mean his plight isn't inherently interesting.
posted by crunchland at 8:26 AM on October 4, 2006


There are nutcases like this living out their sad, obsessive lives all over the world.

I find them fascinating, too.
Anyone who lives their life on the extreme fringes I find very interesting. What led them to this lifestyle? Did they have a choice? How do they live the way they do? What does a typical day entail? What challenges do they face?

Outsider artists and musicians, homeless people, hobos, cultists... I'm fascinated by them because the stories of their lives differ so much from my own story in some ways and line up perfectly in others.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:31 AM on October 4, 2006


he's certainly looking good these days. thanks for this post, it still amazes me how profoundly messed up that family became. does anyone have links to his artwork? the one you see looks pretty awesome.
posted by andywolf at 8:31 AM on October 4, 2006


My most enduring memory from the movie was that rather disconcerting scene.

Andy Kaufman and J.D. Salinger both reportedly tried it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:32 AM on October 4, 2006


maxon's gallery on rcrumb.net
posted by crunchland at 8:37 AM on October 4, 2006


I found Max much more interesting than Robert in the movie. I'm glad for this update. I'd like to see more of his art, actually.

I'm surprised at the naysayers here...I bet I could find lots of examples of you discussing (deriding?) other psuedocelebrities in your comment archives.

But, solely in my opinion, Maxon Crumb is very interesting in his own right, regardless of who his brother is.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:39 AM on October 4, 2006


I used to see Maxon Crumb regularly in the mid-90's. Anyone who was working in downtown San Francisco did too. He was usually in the financial district sitting in a lotus pose with his eyes rolled back in his head, occasionally asking for change. He would give you the creepiest stare. I remember shuddering a bit everytime I walked past him. He actually managed to stand out amongst all the other crazed panhandlers.

I was completely thrown off when I saw the movie Crumb and he showed up on the screen. I remember turning to the person I was with: "Holy Shit! Its that creepy guy!"
posted by vacapinta at 8:54 AM on October 4, 2006


Thanks. I clicked in here to see if I could find a link to some of his art, and there it is.

I agree that the interest here is partly motivated by the celebrity connection, but also by the sense that there is an other side to some kinds of creativity--Lucia Joyce is also fascinating for this reason.
posted by OmieWise at 8:59 AM on October 4, 2006


Kickstart70 : "I found Max much more interesting than Robert in the movie."

You're certainly not alone: I remember that that's what a lot of reviews said at the time as well. Many basically said "Go for the Robert, stay for the Max."
posted by Bugbread at 9:03 AM on October 4, 2006


here is a place with some Maxon Crumb sketches for sale.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:02 AM on October 4, 2006


Is he crazy -- I think that current psychiatry would classify him as "schizotypal," in other words, having tendencies to believe in the supernatural -- or just on the same boat with a lot of holy men, sadus, and fakirs?

But on more practical matters: Why doesn't San Franscisco crack down on the landlord of his residential hotel? It seems like a mountain of fines should be waiting for the crumbling plaster. Doesn't San Fran inspect its lower-income housing??
posted by Gordion Knott at 10:23 AM on October 4, 2006


Either there is a powerful strain of mental illness in that Crumb family, or their childhood abuse was far more severe than I had previously thought. Maybe both.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2006


When I read the article I could all but see the journalist pulling a muscle in his effort not to be judgmental. Yes yes, I know, reportorial objectivity and all that, but it came off as a wee bit disingenuous: "Hey, everyone, look at this freak! But he's really just someone who makes unusual choices!"
posted by scratch at 10:48 AM on October 4, 2006


Why doesn't San Franscisco crack down on the landlord of his residential hotel?

I think better efforts would be made on taking care of those who don't have any place to live at all. My week in San Francisco pretty much convinced me that I could never live there after seeing mobs of homeless wandering in the downtown core. I've never seen upwards of 20 homeless, drug-addled, pitiful people congregating like that.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:10 AM on October 4, 2006


Blame the mild weather, 365 days a year, Kickstart. I'm told it's even worse in San Diego. And frankly, I'm shocked there's such a thing as "lower-income housing" in San Francisco.
posted by crunchland at 11:48 AM on October 4, 2006


I saw Crumb at the Key Theatre in Georgetown when it came out. I always wondered if this guy would live another year. What a wonderful thing to find out he's pushing ahead in life and with a companion no less. His art looks interesting, too. He's lucky he found a home in such an eccentric-friendly city.
posted by docpops at 11:59 AM on October 4, 2006


Oh, there's cheap places to live in San Francisco but...well, why not take a look at derangedlarid's post - 5 posts up. :)
posted by vacapinta at 12:40 PM on October 4, 2006


I saw Crumb at the Key Theatre in Georgetown when it came out. I always wondered if this guy would live another year. What a wonderful thing to find out he's pushing ahead in life and with a companion no less. His art looks interesting, too. He's lucky he found a home in such an eccentric-friendly city.
posted by docpops at 12:43 PM on October 4, 2006


crunchland, thanks for this.
posted by retronic at 5:45 PM on October 4, 2006


My week in San Francisco pretty much convinced me that I could never live there after seeing mobs of homeless wandering in the downtown core.

mobs, huh. you sure they weren't just waiting for Food Not Bombs to show up?

i'm trying to figure out where you might have been. my best guess is Golden Gate a few blocks up from Market, but those are mostly SRO types.

i've never seen anything close to a "mob" of homeless people. i work on 2nd st near Market. the only thing that kinda comes close are the runaways in haight st/gg park.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:54 PM on October 4, 2006


great post.
I was always fascinated by him after the movie, and always wondered what became of him.
posted by Espoo2 at 7:04 PM on October 4, 2006


Ascetic.
posted by rleamon at 7:24 PM on October 4, 2006


Too bad his art isn't Really Good. Interesting story though. Isn't it always fascinating when we get a close up view of one the "crazies" without the pressures or worries of having to be near by and actually deal with it?

For the record, I like crazy people. Partly because I think most of us aren't as far away as we might like to think we are.
posted by my homunculus is drowning at 2:31 AM on October 5, 2006


Mr. Natural. And/or Shuman. Stick with me folks, I got all the answers. Hup. Ho. Yeah.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:21 PM on October 5, 2006


« Older Childrens Letters During the Great Depression   |   Melting ice cap Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post