Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune
Where: The Belcourt
When: March 15-17
Too prickly and ironic a truth-teller to be fully embraced by the same wide audience that warmed to Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul & Mary — his “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” pissed acid all over bleeding-heart hypocrisy — Phil Ochs chafed at his relative lack of success all the way to his suicide by hanging at age 35. Yet his topical (don’t call them “protest”) songs retain their fury, excitement and scalpel wit, perhaps best exemplified by the still-rousing “I Ain’t Marching Anymore.”
Kenneth Bowser’s long-awaited doc gathers archival footage as well as interviews with admirers and contemporaries ranging from Baez and Pete Seeger to Sean Penn and Christopher Hitchens, creating the richest portrait yet of the man who longed to be “part Elvis Presley and part Che Guevara,” but had to settle for being fully unique.