No one could play the red-faced rageaholic like Gus.
In a short film we shot last year, Gus had a scene as a road-rager whose vehicle strikes an unsuspecting cyclist at an intersection in downtown Minneapolis. As the wounded cyclist limps away, Gus bursts from his car, holding up his cell phone, shouting, "Hey, fruitcake - I can't see you while I'm talking on this!"
And Gus did not hold back. Take after take his roars bounced off all the buildings surrounding us, very nearly crumbling them.
At this point in the scene, I was to march up to him from across the street and confront him. On one memorable take, I did so, and when I reached him, I was surprised to find I wasn't alone. With a dramatic swiiiiissssssh, another real cyclist had stopped his bike beside me, and with his elbow-and-knee-padded limbs poised for action, was apparently ready to join me in a heroic attempted ass-kicking of this bullying fictional character.
I sincerely doubt that even with his elbow and knee pads, this much shorter and slighter young vigilante would have succeeded taking down the mighty bulldog that was Gus Lynch, especially since if this were a real scenario, I would have run away and not helped. But it was a testament to how convincing Gus was in this role, as he was in any role.
I have no doubt that when he worked as a bouncer, he bounced well.
Sadly, the director cut the camera too soon on what would have been an outtake of purest gold, and the heroic cyclist, I believe, now works for Galactic Pizza.
When thinking about Gus, this story is the one I remember most right now, because basically I want to say that Gus was no passive-aggressive Minnesotan - he played it real with you and told you what he really thought about things.
When I told him I was a man in my 40s who had never been called boyfriend, boss or homeowner, he told me something to the effect of, "I really can't say that any of those things are going to change for you at this point."
As an artist, he was very dedicated to doing good work, doing something new, and not doing it to simply "pat each other on the back" afterwards. He was the real deal.
And in this world, and in this part of the world especially, that made him both courageous and dangerous.
Editor’s Note: Though I didn’t know Gus Lynch nearly as well as many other people, I have discovered that my impressions of him resonate in similar ways—probably because, as E.J. articulates, he was so authentic and authentically memorable in everything he did.
I met him through Thirst Theater, a production company that did plays in local bars for a while. Without getting into too much detail, he was a dangerous actor—-unpredictable, fully-committed to his role, opinionated, and fun-loving—-and I loved watching him and being around him for that reason. In the years since, we ran into each other a few times, I think, exchanged Facebook messages every now and again, nothing I remember too well, and yet, recently, when someone mentioned that they had just done a film shoot with Gus Lynch, I exclaimed “O, Man, I love Gus Lynch!” It was so spontaneous and heart-felt, I surprised myself.
He did what he was doing full tilt. He was hysterically funny. He was, without question, “the real deal,” whatever that meant for him. And, in the final tally, that matters a lot.
He will be missed, a lot, and his loss has come way too soon.
I just wanted to express my condolences to his family. And to the people who loved Ken Washington. While it is a hard week for our local performing arts community, it is hardest for the people closest to these men. It is an amazing testament to both these very different people (similar only in that they were so very much themselves) that so many people fell so strongly under their influence.
–Alan Berks, Co-Founder, MinnesotaPlaylist