Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Talented Mr. Brittle

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Lex Vaughn at a Peaches concert. Vaughn is a fantastic artist and performer, and I interviewed her for the TVO profile I was producing on Peaches. A few years later, I had the good fortune to spend time with Vaughn when she was at her "WEZY" exhibition at Katharine Mulherin’s Contemporary Art Projects on Queen Street West in 2006.

"WEZY" is the name of her performance piece in which she performs her role as Peanut Brittle. "WEZY" is also the handle of Peanut Brittle's ham radio station. In the piece, Peanut Brittle hosts his radio show that features jazz and talk, while hosting guests in his studio which also doubles as his apartment. As Vaughn says on her website, Peanut Brittle is a “stylish old codger who inhabits the installation that represents his world."

I was fascinated by Vaughn's character and the experience of spending time in Peanut Brittle's space. I  felt the world should learn more about him, so I pitched the idea of making a short film staring Peanut Brittle. I made the film independently in a documentary style set in Peanut Brittle's bachelor apartment where he spins jazz records while hosting a ham radio show on "WEZY". Entitled The Duke, the film was included in the Aarau Film Festival last year, and was screened earlier this year at the AKA Gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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