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"Llyn Foulkes One Man Band": An Artist Who Can't Be Contained by Anyone Else 

Wednesday, Jul 16 2014
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Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty's documentary Llyn Foukles One Man Band is not quite as joyful as the title suggests. The film's subject Llyn Foulkes is indeed a one-man band, playing a machine of his own design he calls the Machine, comprised of drums and bicycle horns and the like. He even made it onto The Tonight Show back when that meant something, though an offer to be Johnny Carson's house band for a week fell through due to personality clashes. This self-destructiveness is a recurring theme through the doc, which centers on his art career. It's a career which could be quite lucrative, or at least sustainable, except that when the art world wants to buy what Foulkes is making, his curmudgeonliness kicks in, and he decides not to make it anymore. Now in his 70s and bitter about his lot in life, Foulkes labors over a pair of large-scale, three-dimensional paintings, constantly changing them, subtracting and adding elements (including a dead cat, ick), never quite accepting the maxim that a piece of art is never completed, only abandoned. He still plays the Machine occasionally, and Llyn Foulkes One Man Band is at its most interesting when it focuses on Foulkes as an outsider musician rather than an outsider painter.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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