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    • CommentAuthorDon Kelly
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008 edited
    Who is your unappreciated genius? You know, the person you bring up passionately in conversation only to receive blank stares. The artist, musician, writer, filmmaker, or general creative maverick who inspires you, moves you, gets you thinking, or just makes you laugh.

    And it drives you nuts that no one else knows who they are.

    Mine's actually been a close friend for about a year now. Marc Maron is and has been one of the funniest men in stand-up comedy for the last 20 years. To my mind he continues what Bill Hicks started and is what Bill Maher should be.

    The general lack of awareness of his work saddens me. His popularity peaked with a stint on Air America, but that gig ended some time ago. For the past year I've watched him struggle to find a greater audience without compromising what he has to say.

    As I drove home from his house tonight it struck me that you out there on Whitechapel probably have Marc Maron's of your own. So who are they and what do they do for you? And, most importantly, where do they live out in the electronica?

    Marc's at Check out the Guerilla Performance Footage under the videos tag to get acquainted.
    • CommentAuthorzenbullet
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    Warren Ellis.

    {but i think you might be aware of his work...}
  1.  (599.3)
    Dr Oliver Sachs is someone i admire a lot. His insight into mental illness, pathology and treatments of otherwise considered untreatable conditions is really remarkable. plus everything he does is amazingly human, nobody is ever just a patient number, they're always people, with stories and lives and always with a future of sorts, and that's what medicine should be like.

    oh, and patch adams for the exact same reason.
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    Frank Black, musician. some people stopped bothering with him altogether when the Pixies broke up, but his solo work, and the stuff he's done with his band the Catholics, is fantastic and intelligent. he switches genres regularly-- if you listen to one album and don't like it, try another and it'll be totally different. one day, he blows me away with lyrics about terraforming Mars, the next he's screaming good old down and dirty revenge on an ex-girlfriend. he is my personal god.
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    Absolutely true about Marc Maron, every time I've seen/heard him, he's been hysterical.

    For music, I'd say David Eugene Edwards from 16 Horsepower/Woven Hand and Todd A from Cop Shoot Coop/Firewater. With 16 Horsepower, Edwards made some of the most chilling blood and thunder bluegrass ever, and as Woven Hand, he's taken things even further by adding European and Medieval influences.

    Cop Shoot Cop started as a noisy industrial rock band and by the end had incorporated swing and blues into their sound. Todd's lyrics managed to go from an homage to early Swans to clever little Noir stories. Firewater was ahead of the Gogol Bordello trend, creating a Tom Waits inspired Gypsy Rock in the mid 90's.

    I've tried like hell to get friends into either band, with little to no success.
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    I hate that the Chameleons aren't bigger than U2.

    And one of my favorite books is The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France, who apparently won the Nobel prize in literature, but nobody reads him anymore. The book's amazing. It's about a guardian angel named Arcade, who's given watch over a young French dilettante in the early 20th century. During his free time at the family mansion, Arcade reads from their huge library of religious & philosophical texts, and he catches fire upon discovering plenty of gnostic books that cast God in an unflattering light.

    Arcade quits his day job and decides to start a second revolt, which leads him to discover a community of Parisian angels-in-exile, and he eventually meets the devil, who France casts as a blend between Milton's Lucifer & the Greco-Roman god Pan.

    It's got all of the elements of the perfect, mid-nineties Vertigo series, and I almost wish they'd adapt it like they did Neverwhere.

    And it has the most fulfilling ending in fiction to boot.
    • CommentAuthoreggzoomin
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    Mike Keneally - Zappa's last stunt guitarist (he replaced Steve Vai with Frank calling him "the best new guy I ever had in the band") and has gone on to record some truly amazing solo records since the early 90s, in formats ranging from solo acoustic to rock power trio to seven piece fusion-pop ensemble and even as guest composer and soloist with the Metropole Orchestra. First heard him in 2001 as a complete metalhead and he radically changed my thinking on what is possible in music. The guy literally radiates love in every note he plays or sings, his lyrics, drawing, painting and even blogging. Insanely virtuousic, but beyond mere technique, he's the perfect cross between Zappa, Coltrane and XTC. I buy everything he produces, shirts, CDs and all. Met him a few times at gigs, very humble and friendly man.
  2.  (599.8)
    I'm going to go with the author John Fante (and not just because I'm re-reading him at the moment). A huge influence on Charles Bukowski and a noted influence on Hubert Selby Junior he never achieved even a modicum of fame in his lifetime which is a tragedy when his grasp on psychological realism is up there with people like Patrick Hamilton and Charles Jackson (author of The Lost Weekend). His prose is fantastically readable and he has the knack of portraying powerful emotion without sentiment. An unsung genius indeed.

    I'd also like to give props to Rob Newman. Back in the early nineties he was part of the Mary Whitehouse experience with his writing partner David Baddiel. They worked together for a while until Baddiel realised that it was a lot easier geting paid to ramble on about football in a moderately amusing fashion with Frank Skinner. Rob Newman stuck to his political roots, performing stand up that seamlessly combined ranting on about issues with more personal and straightforward material in a way not seen since that brief couple of years in the eighties when Ben Elton was funny. He still performs to this day and he's extremely good but almost entirely ignored, although he did briefly pop up on BBC 4 last year.
  3.  (599.9)
    Harlan Ellison - the body of work and all the accolades and such, and still, everyone I ever cross paths with has no idea who he is, except maybe "that guy that wrote that one Star Trek episode".

    And to a lesser extent, Jonathan Carroll.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    Nikolai Tesla FTW.
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    Alan Moore, simply because no one I know reads comics and so they have no clue who he is unless I mention a movie that's been based on his works, such as V for Vendetta. I can't get over the genius that is that man and his wonderful, wonderful stories.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008 edited
    For me, it's Ingmar Bergman. He was a Swedish director who made some of the greatest films ever, such as The Seventh Seal, Persona, Through a Glass Darkly, and Fanny & Alexander. Awesome stuff. He dealt a lot with existentialism, the non-existence of god, and things of that sort. Outside of cinephile circles, not many know of him, despite the fact that he was a cinematic powerhouse from about 1950-1980. He is even considered a "One-man Swedish New Wave" by some.

    @Don Kelly
    Thanks for the link. He's hilarious.
  4.  (599.13)
    Terry Bisson, author of "Bears Discover Fire" and "They're Made Out of Meat", among other things. He's won awards and written some great (especially short) fiction, but he's still not very well known.
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    Karl Blau, musician out of Anacortes.
    Friend and collaborator with some other slightly better known aritsts:
    Mainly, The Microphones and Laura Veirs
    But he's an amazing guy, incredibly versatile and diverse and prolific. He's created beatiful music to relax on the beach, and awesome RnB using just a looping pedal and on and on. Great voice. Plus he's just a super dude.
    The most underappreciated musician around these days, that I know of. But I'm so glad that he exists.
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    BIll Hicks, by far...i don't think i need to say why, prophetic, genius, original and hardcore.

    also Joe Strummer, shit im still losing my mind that U2 is bigger than the CLASH..,

    and maybe Bill Cooper too...
    • CommentAuthorjona
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    I would go for Hedy Lamarr who, in addition to being an actress, co-invented a torpedo guidance system that operated on 88 frequencies to prevent jammimg of radio-guided torpedoes.

    It was technology that was only taken up 20 years after its invention and forms the basis of modern spectrum communication technology such as cordless phones.

    Hell of a woman really
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    one of the most genuine writers of the beat movement -- herbert huncke; and for that matter alexander trocchi

    it would be immodest to name yourself, wouldn't it? :D
    • CommentAuthorANMorgan
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008
    I wouldn't go as far as genius, but Chris Mills is an outstanding musician who seems to have missed a break somewhere and not got a decent level of recognition. Most of his stuff is at the least interesting and listenable, but he's written one or two things that I'd go as far as to call 'beautiful' which I wouldn't bandy about much.

    And hey, speaking of unappreciated musicians, I think that Alex Harvey (Of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band) deserves more mentions around the place. Obviously never had the chance to be influential, but as far as Scottish Proto-Artglam goes...Um, yeah. I'm biast, as he gave me my name (My Dad was a big fan) so I feel an emotional tie to the guy, but I still think he qualifies as underrated.
  5.  (599.19)
    i just finished reading INDESTRUCTIBLE by christy c croad, and while i would be hesitant to say "genius", this girl is amazing. the story of her teen years as a chicana queer punk in miami is weird, touching stuff, with her amazing comic style art interspersed throughout. i would love to get her to do a sequential comic because i think she would blow up huge.
    • CommentAuthorcjtremlett
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2008 edited
    Tesla, of course. Ada Lovelace. Alan Turing. Ernest Shackleton. Emperor Norton. Queen Hatshepsut.

    Most of my largely unsung heroes are probably entirely familiar to readers here. I wonder how many people saw The Prestige and didn't know Tesla was a real person? But for me (and I expect most of you) David! Bowie! playing Nicola! Tesla! was one hell of a geekgasm.