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New York Stories

Jeffrey Lewis
Jeffrey Lewis

Comic book artist, musician and New York native Jeffrey Lewis comes to Eugene behind his 2015 release, the appropriately titled Manhattan. Like a lost Lou Reed album, Manhattan recalls a time when New York was friendlier to artists and freaks. 

“I had a bowl of borscht in a tiny old neighborhood restaurant yesterday and Philip Glass was sitting at the table next to mine,” Lewis says. “He still lives here, too.” 

But, Lewis admits, beyond a few scattered members of the old guard with rent control, Manhattan is a pretty lonely place for an artist. “I think I’m the only touring musician that I know of who still lives here,” he says.

Lewis still loves his home. “I love the old places that are still around,” he explains, “and I love that the city is so old and familiar to me that it feels like a relative. I see the lamp posts and garbage cans and fire escapes; it’s like seeing an old friend or a grandparent.”

“Sad Screaming Old Man” is the kind of track and tale only a New Yorker could write and — with a mouthful of wordy street poetry — only Lewis could sing. The acoustic-punk tune tells the story of a lonely old man with night terrors. Lewis overhears his distress and wonders what awful things led this man to where he’s ended up. “Stop the torture old man and please don’t be myself from the future,” Lewis sings.

Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts play two shows in Eugene with comedian, musician and artist Isaac Paris. First, an all-ages show 7 pm Wednesday, Nov. 23, and then a 21-plus show 9 pm that same night, both at Wandering Goat; $5-$10.