July 13, 2010

see the sky about to rain


Carl Fischer, Andy Warhol's Scars, 1969

* RIP Tuli:

With his bushy beard and wild hair, Mr. Kupferberg embodied the hippie aesthetic. But the term he preferred was bohemian, which to him signified a commitment to art as well as a rejection of restrictive bourgeois values, and as a scholar of the counterculture he traced the term back to an early use by students at the University of Paris. Among his books were “1,001 Ways to Live Without Working” — and for decades he was a frequent sight in Lower Manhattan, selling his cartoons on the street and serving as a grandfather figure for generations of nonconformists.

Beneath Mr. Kupferberg’s antics, however, was a keen poetic and musical intelligence that drew on his Jewish and Eastern European roots. He specialized in what he called “parasongs,” which adapted and sometimes satirized old songs with new words. And some of his Fugs songs, like the gentle “Morning, Morning,” had their origins in Jewish religious melodies.

Naphtali Kupferberg was born in New York on Sept. 28, 1923. He grew up on the Lower East Side and became a jazz fan and leftist activist while still a teenager. He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1944 and got a job as a medical librarian.

“I had intended to be a doctor at one point, like any good Jewish boy,” he recalled to Mr. Sanders in an audio interview in 2003. Instead he began to write topical poems and humor pieces, contributing to The Village Voice and other publications.

* Also RIP -- Harvey Pekar. 10 questions with Harvey Pekar.

* Interesting article on Wayne B. Wheeler, the man the man who turned off the taps.

* "“The songs are not meant to be real life. They're meant to have a psychic - rather than a factual - bearing on the listener. It's rare that a song grounded in reality moves me because I don't feel like I'm getting the whole story. Songs are made to exist in and of themselves, like a great James Jones or Robert Louis Stevenson novel - they're not autobiographical, and yet there's a reality in every single page. It's real life of the imagination.” -- Will Oldham

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