The crowd that filed into the Silent Movie Theater on Saturday night included a kid handing out free weed cookies, a woman with a T-Rex skeleton tattoo wrapped around one calf, and a middle-aged man complaining to a friend about the Hall and Oates show his wife was forcing him to go to that weekend. In other words, here was an audience ripe for an Andrew W.K. Special Lecture About Partying and Blood.
The artist didn't disappoint. "We're all getting older. We can't deny that. We're all going to die," the rock star/Internet meme explained during his keynote speech at Cinefamily's 2nd annual "Everything Is" festival. Odd coming from a guy whose relentless optimism landed him a New York Times profile in 2007, not to mention 135,000 Twitter followers. Of course, fans of Andrew W.K. know he traffics in upsides, and that if anyone can find a silver lining in life's inevitable end, it's him. He went on to conclude that death means his sole obligation in life is "to not feel bad at the end of the day." Hear, hear.
W.K. started the night with an informal Q&A, interrupting himself to play improvised keyboard or lead the crowd in impromptu sing-along versions of "It's Time to Party." Audience questions included "We all look up to you for your relentless optimism. Is there anyone you look up to?" ("My wife, Cherie Lily), "Has fame changed you?" ("No.") , and "Do you believe it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?" ("You're stuck with the same outcome either way.")
He finished the set by going catatonic, freezing in place, mouth twisted into a silent grimace that sent the crowd into a state of rapturous confusion. Before we lost him to whatever higher plane he ascended to, he was kind enough to share with us some of his signature insight.
4. On following your dreams:"Insane Clown Posse really confirmed for me that any vision that you could ever probably have as a human, it could happen. You could do it."
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3. On acceptance: "I don't deny that when I pet a dog's ear, it's soft. I can't deny that when I eat macaroni and cheese, it's really good."
2. On role models: "Your mom is God."
1. On partying every day: "People say how can you party every day? And I'm like, I'm alive. What else would I be doing?"
As philosophies of life go, this one seems to be fairly effective, at least for W.K. On top of producing a steady outflow of new music, he hosts the Cartoon Network show Destroy, Build, Destroy, helps run Santos Party House in New York City, and produces fledgling bands. Love him or hate him -- and some people really, really hate him -- you have to admit: that's not bad for a goofy kid out of Michigan whose most famous song basically consists of the word "Party" repeated over and over again.