I love Steve Burns.
“Steve Burns?” you ask, looking quizzical. “Who the hell is Steve Burns?”
I can’t blame you. If I say “Blues Clues,” will that help?
Steve Burns played the cleverly-named character of “Steve” on the wildly popular and incredibly smart kids’ show Blues Clues. I first came to love him when the girl was still young enough to watch Blue — he is, quite genuinely, an engaging, charming actor who clearly loved what he was doing and who he was doing it for, and hand to God, the man deserves a ding-dang Emmy for how well he acted with nothing but green screen all day long. Click here if you want to get but a small taste (and make sure you wait for the Elvis at the end) — he not only gave every impression of deserving an Emmy, but he is also, clearly, a very, very good egg.
After hanging up his striped shirt and pleated pants, Steve went on to put out a really, truly wonderful pop-y album in the vaguely Flaming Lips vein (on which one of the listed instruments is “ice cream tub”) called Songs for Dustmites (for a taste of that, click here [and pause to note how ripped he got immediately following his kids’ TV gig…!]; to hear him talking about it on NPR, click here) and when I discovered the album, I just fell head over heels.
I bought it with great excitement, listened on a somewhat endless loop for a time, read articles and listened to interviews, and literally went so far as to try to score an interview with him when it looked like he might be coming to Chicago on tour. Neither worked out, and subsequent talk about a second album has yet to produce anything for release, and he has pretty much stuck to doing random theater dates or occasional work with musicians like Steve Drozd (of the – surprise! – Flaming Lips) and now and then a song for kids. He also appeared in what looked like a do-your-head-in cool movie called Netherworld Incorporated, but it was an arthouse thing that never made it to Chicago, as far as I can tell, so I only ever got to see bits of it, online.
It’s very frustrating for his biggest fan, is what I’m saying here.
The husband knows this about me, and being a person given to semi-obsessive love of artists himself, he understands. So yesterday, he sent me the following: Steve Burns performing for radio storytelling project The Moth, and killing it. The clip is nearly a year old, but having watched it, my ardor has been re-inflamed and I can see I’ll be spending some time scouring the web in the hope of learning that he’ll soon be doing some random theater thing or occasional music doohickie here in Chicago for once. Man I hope he does. He’s terrific. Watch the following, and you’ll see why I think so. (And Steve, if you’re reading this? Please get back out there in the world just a little bit more. Please? xo, Emily)