ROOSEVELT, NY (AP)
-Dusty Doodle, the enigmatic street performer who mixed an intriguing stew
of music-making, impressions and levitation on the sidewalks of New York
has died of complications from an undisclosed disease on his 52nd birthday.
He was 52.
Doodle, who was born Warren Myhed in Dingle
Town, Ireland, may not be a household name, but for those who've witnessed
the eccentric singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist-levitator at work
he will not soon be forgotten. A typical Dusty Doodle performance
in the late 1960's included poignant paeans to pigeons sung in his distinctive
high tenor--accompanying himself on ukulele and knee-cymbals; followed
by an uncanny impression of an angry, rabid dog complete with froth; and
those who lingered were treated to a giddy 5 minute attempt at levitation.
A neighbor and friend, Alice McNoughton,
recalls, "Dusty had a misguided theory that if he sucked in a lot of air
and held his breath as long as he could, he would float above the sidewalk
a few inches. He would turn purple with effort, his cymbals -- that
were strapped to his legs -- would clang uncontrollably, and just before
he passed out he'd shout, 'Did you see? Did you see me go up?' then
he'd burst out laughing when no one claimed to see him levitate, and he'd
try it again."
Doodle, who studied music and poetry at
the original Burren College of Art came to the United States in 1964 after
living in London and working as a busker within the milieu that spawned
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In fact, he often claimed
he was on the same flight that
famously brought the Fab Four to these
shores, and turned down an opportunity to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show
due to paralyzing stage fright. "He wasn't afraid of audiences, but
being indoors on a stage caused him to go into near convulsions," said
His only known indoor performance was opening
for The Velvet Underground at New York's Max's Kansas City in 1970.
According to McNoughton, "It was an inspired performance. His one
and only indoor show occurred as a result of his one and only experience
with drugs. Somebody dosed his lemonade with LSD at a flophouse party
on the Lower East Side, and later in the evening someone else coaxed him
on stage, while they were setting up the recording equipment for the Underground
show that was later turned into an album. He was recorded doing his
rabid dog thing and a couple of his wonderful animal songs, but I don't
know what happened to the tape."
No known record albums exist today, although
a bootleg recording made by fans of his street shows circulated around
Greenwich Village and Brooklyn in the early seventies where he spent most
of his time entertaining and doing volunteer work at various city shelters.
A self published book of poetry called I Want to be Quoted So Badly,
I'm Liable to Say Anything was set to be printed at the time of his
Doodle never married and is survived only
by his common-law wife, Alice Lois Johnson of Roosevelt, New York.