Sun Ra (1914 – 1993) was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet, and philosopher known for his experimental music, cosmic philosophy, prolific output, and theatrical performances. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but in keeping with his Afrofuturist aesthetic (a thing that he pretty much invented), he always claimed to be from Saturn.
I was fortunate enough to have seen him perform multiple times in the 1970s and '80s, including several shows of a legendary five-night stand at Boston's Orpheum Theater. Even more amazingly, I met him on the street twice: once in the subway in NYC, where he was instantly recognizable since he always wore his colorful and eccentric outfits (the man lived "in character"), and once coming out of a screening of Invasion of The Body Snatchers during his Orpheum residency. It was thrilling to realize that I had just sat through a motion picture in his company.
Anyway, coming out of a show last night, I encountered him a third time, this time in the form of an epic East Atlanta Village mural, and just like at the previous two meetings and all of those Sun Ra concerts, I felt blessed by his presence.