10.17.18: a rebel alliance of quality content
our facebook page our twitter page intrepid media feature page rss feed
FEATURES  :  GALLERYhover for drop down menu  :  STUDIOhover for drop down menu  :  ABOUThover for drop down menu sign in

on meeting adam yauch, who had nothing to lose
by jason gilmore (@JasonGilmore77)
pop culture

It doesn’t even matter what happens after this: One of the best summers of my life will always be the summer of 1997, when I, fresh off my junior year of film school, found myself in New York City interning at the now defunct October Films. It was a sweltering trimester of script coverage and flirting with fellow interns from Hampton or the University of Wisconsin and wandering aimlessly through Manhattan most evenings, eventually emerging at my friends’ brownstone in Newark.

Headed home one of those early evenings, I passed a park and glanced over to see three white adult men skateboarding. Not a noteworthy vision in and of itself, except that one of the three men kind of looked kind of like one third of a rap group that had dominated my preteen years in Toledo, except that it couldn’t be him because of OH MY GOD IS THAT MCA FROM THE BEASTIE BOYS???

I had learned that summer that I was not normally the starstruck type, as a casual jaunt through the streets of Manhattan will almost certainly find one face to face with all manner of celebrity. None had so much as provoked a second look from me, prior to that moment. Another thing I learned about myself that summer is that if you were big to me in junior high, you will always be big to me. Before I knew it, I was approaching him.

He was standing, talking to one of his friends, but his eyes kept darting back in my direction.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you,” I said. Which was a lie, because I wasn’t.

That gravelly voice, one of the most distinctive in all of popular music, greeted me. He sounded neither friendly nor upset. “No, go ahead.”

“I know you get this all the time,” I said. “But it’s an honor to meet you. Me and my cousin Orlando used to rap along to Licensed to Ill every weekend for like a year when I would go over his house every weekend. I mean, we know that album by heart. And I went to see you guys in concert around then in Toledo, which is where I grew up. My dad took me. You guys are the best and changed the game forever.”

“Thank you.”

“Sorry for bothering you, I just had to say something.”

“Nah, it’s cool,” he said. “I was just trying to make sure I didn’t owe you money.”

Beat. Then he laughed. Then I laughed.

The rest is blurry. He did ask me what I was doing and I mumbled something about being a film student, which he seemed vaguely intrugued by. Of course, years later, he would go on to found Oscilloscope Pictures, a boutique film company that brought the world indie gems like Wendy and Lucy, Exit Through the Gift Shop and We Need to Talk About Kevin. But then, at that time, we didn’t know all that, and I was too enamored to say much about my goals.

Less than three minutes later, I was gone. And now, sadly, almost fifteen years to the day, Adam “MCA” Yauch is gone, as well, after losing his battle with cancer. As a musician and a film producer, his influence has been felt throughout the entertainment industry and in the hearts of a surprising (to me, at least) number of fans old enough to remember the 1980s and ‘90s. Popular ‘80s music stars have been dropping like flies lately. I won’t compare this loss to the others, except to say that it hurts in unusually deep areas.

To excel as an artist – to create legendary, evolved, celebrated work, in a field where you are a decided minority… To cross over into another field, in an equally cutthroat industry and distribute interesting films that may not have found an audience without you… To find spirituality and be genuinely concerned with the well being of others… To be a husband, father and passionate but calming influence to all whom you meet... To do any of these things is difficult. But he did them all, in just 47 years. And for that, we salute Adam Yauch. Thank you for all of it.


Jason Gilmore is a film director, screenwriter, novelist and unrepentant Detroit Pistons fan. Track him down on Facebook.

more about jason gilmore


michael jackson and the chocolate factory
reflections through a broken mirror
by jason gilmore
topic: pop culture
published: 12.5.03

an unawkward interview with awkward black girl's issa rae
by jason gilmore
topic: pop culture
published: 12.12.11


no discussion for this column yet.

Intrepid Media is built by Intrepid Company and runs on Dash