"For friends and fans of John Lurie,
there’s a disturbing article in the current issue of The New Yorker. The title of the piece is Sleeping With Weapons
(sadly, abstract only for non-subscribers) and it's a strange and sad tale. John has been in hiding for the past 18 months to avoid a former friend who is supposedly stalking him. In addition, he has a mysterious illness that kept him a virtual prisoner in his apartment for six years."
John Lurie (previously
) is the leader and founding member of the influential New York jazz band The Lounge Lizards
. In the 1980s, Lurie gained more fame by starring in the Jim Jarmusch films Down by Law
and Stranger than Paradise
. Later, he gained notoriety by hosting the oddly charming television series Fishing with John
In 2002, John Lurie fell mysteriously ill, and has suffered debilitating and chronic ailments ever since. From the New Yorker article: "His condition was diagnosed as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and about ten other things . . . Lurie finally came to believe that he had chronic Lyme disease - a condition whose very existence, as he wryly acknowledged, was fiercely disputed in the medical community." The mystery disease left him essentially confined to his apartment for six years. Then, one day in 2008, his good friend, the New York artist John Perry,
asked Lurie to help him film a pilot episode of a drawing show that Perry was going to call "How to Pose". Because of his ailments, Lurie had difficulty sitting under stage lights for too long, but agreed to help anyway. Perry rented a space for the night and they set to work. Lurie, however, was unable to finish because of his symptoms, and left before the filming was over. (Here is a brief clip
of a portion of the show filmed that night.) Perry, who only had access to the room for one night, became more and more enraged over the next few days, and started calling Lurie with vague threats. Lurie, concerned that Perry wished him harm, fled to Grenada, then Los Angeles, then Turkey, then Big Sur, then Palm Springs. He has, for the past two years, essentially fled his own life out of a fear that Perry intends to kill him. The article shows that although Perry has, in fact, consistently harassed Lurie, the risk that Perry poses to Lurie appears to be very slight.
Here is a relatively recent, extensive and wide-ranging interview
with John Lurie in which he discusses his career and in which you can see some of Lurie's artwork.
(Though the New Yorker is unavailable online to non-subscribers, I felt the story of Lurie's exile was interesting enough on its own [and Lurie an interesting enough figure] that I figured the story of his illness/disappearance and supplementary links still warranted a post. If the mods or others disagree, I understand.)