Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune
As our country continues to embroil itself in foreign wars and pins its hopes on a new leader's promise for change, Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune is a timely and relevant tribute to an unlikely American hero. Over the course of a meteoric music career that spanned two turbulent decades, Phil Ochs sought the bright lights of fame and social justice in equal measure – a contradiction that eventually tore him apart. From youthful idealism to rage to pessimism, the arch of Ochs' life paralleled that of the times, and the anger, satire, and righteous indignation that drove his music also drove him to dark despair. In this brilliantly constructed film, interview and performance footage of Ochs is illuminated by the ruminations of Joan Baez, Tom Hayden, Pete Seeger, Sean Penn, Peter Yarrow, Christopher Hitchens, Ed Sanders, and others.
Ochs grew up in Columbus and was a journalism student at Ohio State, where he formed his first musical group, The Sundowners. He wrote for The Lantern and when they wouldn’t publish his more controversial articles, he started his own campus paper, The Word. And there are still folks around town who can tell you about when Ochs played his first gigs at a late, lamented High Street institution, Larry's Bar. (97 mins., HD video)