by John Tarpley
Fifty-one years after his death, eccentric Heber Springs photographer Michael Disfarmer (left) has managed to achieve a considerable place in the spotlight. He was the topic of an award-winning 2009 album by Bill Frisell, titled, yep, "Disfarmer"; inspired a full-length piece of Samuel Beckett-like puppet theater in New York called, again, "Disfarmer"; and had his iconic self-portrait nationally broadcast during the 2008 Academy Awards when the Coen brothers needed a photograph during the "Best Editing" nomination for their pseudonym, "Roderick Jaynes." Now, the late folk iconoclast is the subject of another ode to his legacy, this time in — you guessed it — "Disfarmer," a new play from local columnist, playwright (and frequent Times contributor) Werner Trieschmann. The production bounces from decade to decade from the portraitist's career in the '30s and '40s to just last decade, when two New York City galleries rolled into town in a frenzied race to find as many original prints as possible by the newly en vogue photographer. This reading of the play launches Hendrix's 2010-11 Public Events series and is followed by an audience and cast discussion.