By Chuck Darrow
During the last four decades, Philly singer-songwriter Kenn Kweder could only watch as others who came out of the local rock scene he helped midwife in the 1970s rocketed past him. The late Robert Hazard, the A’s, and the Hooters are just some of the acts that landed national recording contracts while he remained virtually unknown outside the Delaware Valley.
Yet it’s the 64-year-old Southwest Philly native who is the subject of a full-length documentary feature that has its world premiere in two screenings at International House on Friday.
Adventures of a Secret Kidd: The Mass Hallucination of Kenn Kwederis a film by John Hutelmyer, a 27-year-old Coatesville native and longtime Kweder fan. Made with his subject’s complete cooperation, the 105-minute flick details Kweder’s childhood, including a mother with an outsize personality and a lifelong regret of not pursuing a show business career; his early days as a Rittenhouse Square busker; his mid- to late-’70s run as the city’s most buzzed-about rocker (backed by several generations of the explosive Secret Kidds); and his still-thriving, decadeslong career as a journeyman performer grinding out a living with gigs five or more nights a week at area taprooms and cafes.