Philip Musica’s story offers many insights. One surprise is the tenacity with which history survives.
No one should be able to unravel this narrative, because so many, including Philip himself, tried to rewrite, sensationalize, or bury it. How does one tell the story of a storyteller, when he and most of his dazzled audience are long gone? You just have to make the attempt. Facts, it turns out, are a stubborn thing.
When filmmaker Robert Kalm went looking for the amazing story that his grandmother left behind in four giant scrapbooks, he didn’t have to go far. Hidden in attic chests and basement drawers in the houses of his nostalgic family were heirlooms from Philip’s multiple lives that tell a far more nuanced, frail, and human tale.
During Kalm’s years of research and FOIA requests, further collections of artifacts, from Philip’s final estate to the Musica FBI files, would surface and become part of the project.
Self Made: The American Dreams of Philip Musica is told entirely through objects and documents from Philip’s past. How this legacy of primary sources reaching back into the Nineteenth Century survived and came back together in the Twenty-First is another part of this amazing tale.
You can interact with artifacts from Philip’s Legacy on this website soon.