The Home of All Things Mingering
This has got to be the most interesting story I've heard in years. A private investigator and vinyl-junkie stumbles upon what seems to be garbage at a flea market in downtown DC: a collection of handmade cardboard albums with amazing painted cover art, liner notes, serial numbers and even cardboard "records" inside dating from the late 60's and early 70's. Realizing these records, over 50 LPs, at least as many 45s and lyric sheets, were more than mere refuse, Dori Hadar put his detective skills to work and soon located the mystery soul superstar the world had never heard of, Mingering Mike, nearly 30 years after he created these albums. A friendship soon formed between Dori and Mike and together they decided to shine a light on the body of work that Mike had kept secret for decades. They made public the audio and visual diary made during Mike's formative years, from a teenager who dreamed of becoming a star to an adult who faced the Vietnam draft, civil unrest in the nation's capitol, the scourge of drugs in the inner city and all the amazing music to come out of those turbulent years. Mike's work seen as a whole is truly a document of one man's experience during America's most creative and destructive periods. The book and the exhibit (if you can make it to DC) are truly mind-blowing. Don't sleep on this. With stories from the New York Times, The New Yorker, Wax Poetics, The Fader, Flaunt, Tokion and Entertainment Weekly, among many others, heaping praise on the new book, Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar (2007, Princeton Architectural Press) the most celebrated outsider-artist since the discovery of Henry Darger is finally getting his due. Currently, most of Mingering Mike's work is on display through the end of July at Hemphill Fine Arts in Washington DC. A portion of the work was also displayed at the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in 2005. There are currently plans to have the show travel to LA, NY and Europe. A limited edition vinyl 45 of "There's Nothing Wrong with You Baby" is due to be released in a few weeks courtesy of the Vanguard Squad. A CD of Mike's music interpreted by current artists is in the works as well.