Jeffrey Lewis Can't Lose

Tales of (very minor) stardom with the anti-folk/comic-book luminary

Back at Mom and Dad's place, Lewis wades through the bedroom he once shared with his brother, Jack, a longtime Junkyard member. The six-by-10-foot space is like an archaeological capsule of Lewis's life's work. Dig into the boxes on the floor, and you'll find installments from his current comic series Fuff (formerly Guff), old runs of his pictorial travel diaries, and copies of books he illustrated. Peel off the layers of posters on the walls, and there's Luna on top of typical high school obsessions like Pink Floyd. Amid it all, Lewis slumps into a worn futon to reflect on his career arc. He complains that he misses the spontaneity of traveling with randoms and sleeping on sofas. "It seems inappropriate to ask for those favors now that we're making money," he says with a sigh.

Still, he's relieved that his modest success keeps him away from mundane money gigs. "My last day job was with the 2000 Census," he says, giggling. "I always kind of figured all this would fall apart just in time for 2010, so ask me next year how well I'm doing." Or maybe he'll ask you.

Jeffrey Lewis plays Bowery Ballroom May 20

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