2003 FEBRUARY 6 #037
On August 4th, 1995, an 80-year old man died in his tiny, old-style Hollywood bungalow. The same place he'd been living for nearly 50 years. He had no children and he was not married. He left a checking account with a few hundred dollars, a couple small parcels of land in the desert, a rusted 1971 Toyota with 4 flat tires, and a $45 dentist bill (for a restored post and crown).
But! While all the evidence suggested that this was just the passing of another nobody in the heart of Lipstick City, this peculiar old man in the bungalow left a buried legacy. Robert Zaprian Vidoloff, or "Bob Vido" as he called himself, was a prolific, energetic, and effusive outsider renaissance man.
I found Bob's homemade record at a flea market 2 years ago - it was covered with postcards of wild, space-age art and writing that suggested that Bob was a lecturer, a writer, a designer, an astrologer, a mathematician and philosopher. The music is deliriously off-kilter - bouncing around from goofy accordion songs to avant-garde noise and chanting with Sun-Ra piano. And Bob introduces himself before every song, just in case you forgot who the maestro was.
In the years since, I've tried to find out more about Bob. Not surprisingly, his life story seems to be riddled with contradictions as well as outright fibs. But I've managed to find many original pieces of his odd, thrift-store artwork. The tidbits of information I've discovered show a gifted eccentric and relentless self-promoter who loved what he did, and rarely compromised.
Jonathan Ward, http://www.bobvido.com/
TT-2:53 / 2.64MB / 128kbps 44.1khz
from "One Man Band"
(Bob Vido Artwork. Image courtesy of Jonathan Ward)