Thax | Chicago Reader

Thax

Poet Thax Douglas is a loner who shares his intimate thoughts with hundreds or thousands of strangers; a fixture on Chicago's rock scene, he takes the stage before musical sets to read his verse, often penned on the spot. Director Alex MacKenzie uses taped performances, home movies, interviews with Douglas's family members, and the poet's prodigious memories to reveal a fiercely intelligent writer. But he also manipulates Douglas, driving him to New York for a reading that doesn't happen. Running throughout is a tension between celebrity and privacy: although Thax relishes the spotlight, he resents the fact that his audiences think they know him. With its revelations of homosexuality and electroshock therapy, this documentary goes a long way toward correcting that. 78 min.

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