Remembering Josh Bridgman [562]

Remembering Josh Bridgman [562]


♪ Swale, There’s No One Here, “Wooden Heart” ♪ -Who’s he? [laughter]
-Don’t you know? We’re here in Burlington at
the Radio Bean and tonight is an unofficial memorial for Burlington icon,
poet, playwright, Josh Bridgman. We’re here to celebrate our friend Josh Bridgman. Josh died from a heart attack in mid-December, 2018, at his home in Burlington.
Josh was 51 years old. Thank you all for doing this. Thank You Lee for
organizing this and thank you for all the people who’ve shared their postings
and their stories, it has meant the world to me to read through and have all these
wonderful glimpses and stories that I can cherish. I want to just start by
saying that I love Josh Bridgman. He loved movies and he was, he was a
playwright and he was a writer. He actually asked me to be on stage and
to give life to his words. I saw Josh Bridgman without trench coat
on Church Street once. And I was walking and every time I see Josh I do the same thing, I’m like, “Bridgman!” And I was like, “Well there’s a legend.” Just like, “Man.” I’ve known Josh a long time like everybody here, just from being a Burlingtonian. And I see a lot of
faces I haven’t seen in a long time and people that I love that are here in this
room that love Josh but I also think it’s really cool how all of these, all of
our different lives are intersecting at this one moment.
And how Josh is the sort of nexus of that. As we age as a community and as… -We rock.
-We rock, we do and there is this
legacy of eccentricity in this city. Walking around in the summertime with a
long, black, trench coat, middle of August. So I remember him saying, “The hero in a
film noir always wore a trench coat.” -People are used to me having crazy hair.
-You can’t disappoint them. Yeah, do you want me to grab my trench coat? Did his, you know his wave,
cause he had that too, you know. Pretty much if you loved Josh Bridgman,
you’re a unique person. So, that’s what I appreciated about him was his fundamental decency, he was just a decent, decent
person, always nice, never not nice, always genuine.
And he always made me feel like I could be myself. What? I mean even as a kid I wasn’t, I really couldn’t have many
friends so I could go to movies, I could read. Just given what my parents
were doing I just couldn’t, I couldn’t just surprise them with people coming over
so, you know, so I sort of had to, you know, live in my own little world so. I love Josh with all of my heart, we’ve been through thick and thin.
He’s always been my protector. He survived a traumatic childhood and
turned his experience into art. And he told me he was going to fly up into the
air and stop the airplane with his hands. The ideas he had even in fourth grade of
multimedia stage productions with the stage full of TVs. I’m like, “Josh, what are you talking
about? How you gonna do that?” But he was there, he wanted to improv and I was like, “What’s improv?” Then I got the lights to be sorta cool, well for
a high school, yeah. “If the Earth was ever going to be invaded, they would drive El Caminos.” Have you heard Iggy and the Stooges?
Have you heard this? And he introduced me to a
bunch of irreverent music. Josh was reading his poetry and it was the
first time in my life that I’d ever seen anyone in my age bracket be so
audaciously artistic. Some twenty years later, [he]
didn’t change. He’s just Josh. I mean one of my favorite
quotes from Brian Eno was that he said, he’d like to work with
people who ask questions. I remember going to see Silent Invasion the first time and it’s just like, “Oh my god, you really did this, this is really incredible.” I have Josh to
thank for bringing me into his world on Silent Invasion
and able to play a small part in making his story a part of Burlington history. In 2008 I wrote an adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose.” Oh man, who’s gonna,
you know, who’s gonna be The Nose? I was like, “Oh, well it’s gonna be Bridgman!” Josh got along really well with the cast members of the film. Ally Sheedy, Brian
O’Halloran, and Justin Henry all found him to be really funny and smart and
they all enjoyed talking with him on the set. He was fearless when it came to
challenging social convention, he even appeared naked on a public access show. Once upon a time in Burlington, there was an illegal radio station that was very
necessary. Josh and Rael had absolutely the weirdest show of anyone. My name’s Richard and
I worked with Josh in the parking garage and really… [applause]
-Thank you. Once at the
parking garage, where we both worked, a customer expressed surprise that a
simple parking attendant would be reading War and Peace.
“The original Russian was better,” was his repost. [laughter] You took Josh like he was and that was it,
wonderful person and he will be missed. Josh had never been to college but he was more well-read than almost anyone
I knew who had. But he was always talking about something, something genius and
masterful and every time I listened to him I was like, “Man I gotta, I gotta learn
about that movie.” If you ever tried to argue with him,
he would just shut you down. Josh was one of the most courageous people
I have ever met in my life. His strength of character and his self-assuredness and his effortless
ability to just be himself. He said to Fishman, “This is my house and I’ll let
you hang out here but I want you to know, I don’t like Phish.” [laughter] After years of bashing
Phish for playing hippy music, here he was playing lead guitar in a punk band with
Jon Fishman playing backup drums. [laughter] Oh Penderecki, the Polish composer, I just
got really into him because of Stanley Kubrick, who’s also one of my heroes. Well
they all share, they all have their own individual voice and their own individual
take on the world and they’re also willing to sort of mix things up. You’ll
have this horrifying thing and then you’ll have this funny thing. When you go to
the theater, or when you go to a movie, I think you’re, it’s like, it’s a better, or
a surreal, like super real experience, you know. Like, I like, also Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, like you, you, you’re supposed to take somebody
into the world and I think like David Byrne and Lou Reed do that
with their songs. If you can make him laugh, it was good. His laugh was like this, [Bridgman laugh]. You’d be working and then you’d hear like, [Bridgman laugh], and you’d be like,
“There’s that guy again.” And his frequent laughter, a series of
piercing, demented, shrieks of glee. Right?! [laughing] [Bridgman laugh] Do the Bridgman laugh. [Bridgman laugh chorus] [Eva] Now you can pretend I’m here.
[laughing] I gotta remember to use that for a play. It was the best laugh ever.
I don’t know anybody with a laugh like that. I never will. Green Candle Theatre Company is committed. We will be doing Josh Bridgman’s “The Organization” so his trilogy will come to completion. [applause] Josh is a planet and there’s an orbit around him
and there’s an orbit around every single one of us, there’s all the people that connect through us. And he has set many seeds to grow in everybody else. And he will forever be the smartest person in any bar in this goddamn town. He was too strange and strangely wonderful to forget. I’ll miss you Mr. Bridgman. [cheers] Josh and his laugh were one of a kind and Burlington
will never be the same without him. Burlington is full of really, really,
really creative people. Often some of them are just too eccentric to figure
out how to go from the notebook to the stage. And we all know those people
whether they’re musicians or they’re playwrights or puppeteers or whatever
they are and let’s try to help each other make that happen by connecting
those dots for people. [Josh laughing]

2 Comments

  1. Kenneth Lambert says:

    He will be missed

  2. Scott Scott says:

    See a lot of faces I hadn't seen much if at all since HS. I didn't know Josh that well, but really thank you for making the video. It gave a little background and insight into the man. He seemed like a really good guy. Condolences to his family and friends.

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