Saturday, January 29, 2005

Le Roi du Bundt Cake

I have known Mike Shelley since '81 when he was but mere protoplasm in Buster Brown Shoes and I was still a couple of decades away from becoming the semi-arthritic, high blood pressure pill-popping shambles that I am today. I met Mike when I worked with him in the behind-the-scenes madhouse at the Great Bronze Age of China exhibit at the L.A. County Museum of Art.

We were filling ticket orders for that touring Metropolitan Museum of Art show at a time when computerized fulfillment of tix was still just around the bend. Dozens of failed hipsters, misfits, wannabes, never was-es, etc. seated around long folding tables armed with (a bit dangerous in some cases) letter openers, staplers and other accoutrement of of the mail order trade. It might well have been Mike's first grownup (!) job. For reasons now swallowed up by the dim recesses of time, Mike called the exhibit the "Great Pronta," and it stuck (he might have been the one to've opened an envelope addressed that way).

Mike is now a professional musician with a half-dozen or so CDs, and countless live appearances and tours to his credit. I am not certain how much he talks about his lineage in bios and interviews. However, it is significant that his late father was the well-known actor and director Joshua Shelley. In the former capacity, Josh appeared in the original production of Marc Blitzstein's No For an Answer, and wearing the latter hat, his credits list include the original staging of Langston Hughes' Simply Heavenly. His mother, Molly, is an actor and acting coach; in the latter capacity she played a significant role in the development of, among others, Matt Dillon's career.

With such a vaunted geneology, it's little wonder that Mike was---to invoke the parlance of Lord Buckley---such a hip little kiddy. Thus, despite the two decades difference in our ages, he and I quickly became fast friends in '81 and (also in spite of the entirety of the U.S. continent that now lies between us) have remained so ever since.

Mike and his wife, Jordan, have just become the parents of their first child, Juniper. AND he has also just added another CD to his credit, the brand new Goodbye Cheater. Mike thinks it is his best, and I tend to agree. You can read more about it here.

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