This past Sunday, the Detroit Institute of Arts (a Knight Arts grantee) hosted Gustafer Yellowgold as part of their Sunday Music Bar Series. The show is a combination of storytelling, live musical performance and illustration, following Gustafer Yellowgold, who leaves his life on the sun to live in Minnesota. The show is loads of fun and bursting with imagination, and held the attention of both the children and adults in the audience. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh through Gustafer’s many adventures, which included playing with his pet eel, discovering a store where all the clothes are made of cheese, and perfecting his sneak attack pancake throws.
The highly acclaimed multimedia performance is the brainchild of Dayton, Ohio native Morgan Taylor, whose energy resonated throughout the theater, igniting the audience out of its afternoon slump as children gleefully shouted answers to the questions Taylor posed. When he asked the audience how far away the sun was from Earth, one child quickly yelled out “94 miles!” and another quickly corrected that figure with “103 miles!” It was a funny and charming moment in a very fun show, and it’s precisely those kinds of unscripted moments that speak to the charisma of Taylor himself, and his ability to keep the children in the crowd totally engrossed with the performance.
Taylor’s side projects include playing bass for the Wilco-affiliated band, The Autumn Defense, and collaborating on a recording project with Tony Award-winning songwriter Duncan Sheik. Gustafer Yellowgold’ Show has served as the opening act for Wilco and the Polyphonic Spree, and has appeared Off-Broadway in multiple incarnations, receiving critical acclaim from The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and New York Magazine, among many other major publications.
Although Taylor has no more scheduled shows in Detroit, his tour takes him throughout the country, and the world, with a stop back home in Dayton this coming Sunday, July 15, for a performance at Canal Street Tavern. He also has loads of fun downloads and videos on his website, as well as DVDs, CDs, toys and other merchandise for sale. If you’re a parent looking for a new way to stimulate the imagination of your child — or your own imagination — look no further than Gustafer Yellowgold.
Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org