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  • Jimmy Broccoli

Mental Illness - With Kristin Hersh

Hi All

I'd like to talk about mental illness for a moment.

It is perhaps a cliche to state that creativity often comes from the mind of madness - and I'm certain that some music, art, written endeavors, and photographic achievements are reached by those with a "normal" mind - but I suspect, often, great creativity is achieved within a landscape grounded in some degree of mental illness. And, although I sit in the area of the classroom that is high-functioning, I raise my hand when the question is asked.

This evening I present singer Kristin Hersh. At a young age she was diagnosed as manic-depressive (bipolar) and schizophrenic - and later diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder.

To make things more complicated, she lost custody of her first son, Dylan, in a court battle with her then-husband. He argued Hersh could not take care of her little boy with her bouts of mental illness and while touring with a rock band (at the time Kristin was the lead singer of Throwing Muses). Kristin lost that battle and her lyrics, for years, express the agony of the judge's decision.

This evening I'd like to present her video, "A Loon". It's amazingly clever and brilliant, in that it is a story told from the perspective of someone evaluating a mentally ill person and, initially, reacting adversely to them but, later, accepting and appreciating them and realizing their value. And, it includes her son (most likely Ryder) on her lap, holding her hand, and not far from her at all times during filming.

It would be impossible for me to hold Kristin Hersh and her music in a higher regard. And, I hope you enjoy it!

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