BoingBoing pal and fellow happy mutant John Cusack visited the Boing Boing Video studio this week for an internet video crate-digging session, and shared the 10-minute clip above. This find is ample proof that Cusack possesses a doctorate degree with honors in the Studies of High Weirdness. The video is titled "Tiny Tim at The Hunt Club (The Festival Green Room)," and neither of us could figure out much about its origins. Which Hunt Club? What city, what year? What were the circumstances, an afterparty in a "green room," after some festival? There are some clues (the blip-flash between songs to sync light and sound suggests a certain era), but no answers.
What is evident in the video is what a delightful freak Tiny Tim is. Cusack points out that the video is different from all the other clips you can find of Tim on YouTube, mostly television appearances in which his character is louder and over-the-top. But this one seems more vulnerable, more personal. Tim meanders in and out of modified Vaudeville classics, dips into an Al Jolson impression somewhere, all the while strumming his uke.
"There's something about him that reminds me of Joey Ramone," Cusack observes—Tiny Tim was anything but classically handsome, just like Joey, and he had a certain talent and force of personality that the "normal" world had no use for. Until that talent burst forth, and the world came to appreciate it, weird punk freak that he was. Cusack also got a kick out of the "thank you/goodbye-kissies" hand-gesture Tim uses in this video, and compared it to Noh theatre. There's no kiss, really: he's just tapping his chin, a sort of oblique blessing-greeting. I'm tempted to use that one myself now, at tea parties.
Here's to high weirdness. I've asked Cusack if he might join us on Boing Boing as a guestblogger, and he's thinking about it. If you have some thoughts to share with him on that matter, why don't you tell him yourself, in the comments? Incidentally, Cusack has a movie coming to theaters on March 26 that you should go see: Hot Tub Time Machine. It's not on YouTube, but it might show up on YouTub.
Update: Thanks to the multiple Boing Boing commenters who identified the clip! The "Hunt Club" was the green room for VIPs at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and this video footage can be found on this Criterion DVD (Amazon). It's in the "additional material" section of the DVD. More about the what the disc contains here (criterionforum.org).