Directed by: Xan Aranda
“I’m either sweating bullets or I’m freezing all the time...
but it seems like a worthy thing to do with your life.”
In director Xan Aranda’s new documentary, which covers the final months of singer/songwriter/master whistler Andrew Bird’s nonstop 2009 tour, Aranda’s subject truly embodies the old adage of “suffering for your art.” Wrestling with a low-grade fever throughout and a foot injury in the last stretch, Bird never lets his afflictions get between him, his songs, and the audiences that come to hear them. The film deftly balances biography and live footage (mostly from a two-night stand at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theatre), offering real insight into Bird’s creative process, artistic motivations, and evolution as a music maker. It’s a fascinatingly in-depth portrait of a true artist—one who is driven by a pure, singular compulsion, maladies be damned.
Highlights include early performances of songs from his just-released album, Break It Yourself (including a gorgeous duet with Annie Clark of St. Vincent), as well as fan favorites “Fake Palindromes,” “Fitz and the Dizzyspells,” and “Opposite Day.”