October 4, 2009 by Amy Elliott Bragg
Jib Kidder: Windowdipper
As a youth, I spent my college summer breaks at home in Michigan, working at Guitar Center in Southfield by day and storming M14 by night to get to Ann Arbor, where my friends at the University of Michigan smoked pot on their rooftops, watched strange films, worked at coffee shops and radio stations and led bold charges into late-night escapades with exhilarating regularity.
I came of age in Ann Arbor, where the summer streets rang out with champagne and Interpol, philosophies of war and sex and Stevie Wonder issued drunkenly forth, broken Wurlitzer pianos were drunkenly played, and in the mornings we all stretched out on the plush Kentucky bluegrass on the diag, cells throbbing in the sun.
My friend John was the commander-in-chief of Ann Arbor when I came to stay, navigating the city’s waters and one-way-streets on a course of maximum mystery and dazzle. In the first summers, we spent a lot of time with John’s roommate Sean, a skinny eccentric who ordered ginseng gum by the case and kept a room full of toy keyboards. For Christmas one year, John gave me Sean’s album of holiday carols, rendered in cascading synths and yelps. I still play it every Advent.
Sean got loopier over the years and I didn’t see much of him, but it was rumored that he was sleeping on benches and the WCBN couch, taking a lot of hallucinogens and composing strange and gigantic sidewalk chalk murals.
I learned, eventually, that Sean (a.k.a. Jib Kidder) was a folk art fixture in Ann Arbor. John lives in Detroit now, and this weekend, over YouTube videos and hunting season High Life at his house in Corktown, we talked about Sean and his life in San Francisco, where he makes music and mind-boggling internet video remixes. John says he is gaining ground with modern dance choreographers as a favorite musical selection.
In a body of work that is prolific and cosmic and bizarre, this might be his opus: “Windowdipper,” the YouTube dancing video to beat all dancing videos. Maybe it was just the hunting season High Life, but this video gave my brain a good stretch and a surge of endorphins.
Seriously. This video is amazing.