I knew Dean as did many through the years via performance and always
viewed him as an exotic spider - gorgeous and terrifying. The physicality
alone was a phenomenon. When told 'his
body could not be identified for a week' ... I made a bad black-humor joke - "What fool couldn't identify THAT body?"
I only got to know the man personally very recently as a result of doing
editorial for our Verbal Abuse #5. Dean's submission was a masterpiece
of concision, mordant wit and insight... I barely had to do a thing to
'make it' perfect. Ask Chi Chi and she'll tell you how unusual that is.
... well now I can't resist relating something about it...
It's a zip-through the 80s, a 'Lost City' indeed, as per the various famous
types he rubbed up against. He always has something rude and hilarious to
say about them. The next-to-last entry for 1988 is appallingly awful...
I literally screamed when I got to the end of it.
That wicked humor and what my friend Carl Apfelschnitt would term
"tragic-pig grandeur" shines with a
hysterical gleam. I'm thrilled we have something of his for #5 and I'm
thinking Chi might have to make it a Memento Mori for The Johnson.
Dean does seem in himself one of those Utopian cities, a place where a
certain order and truth strained to be perfect, but always
with a black laughing edge slashing through the glitter.
In the course of our short correspondence I asked him if he had more
material about his life, since his mini-tour of the 80s promised so
much more thick and rich detail. He said he'd been wanting to write his
autobiography and had TONS of material. But that he didn't know how to get
started or get focussed. I offered to look through everything he had and
start editing it. He was excited to think someone would help him with this project.
This is another thing I wanted to say... Look around you, and tell the genius next-door HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THEM and appreciate them.... NOW. You'd be surprised to know how marginal and isolated ... Dean told me he felt! As so many of us feel.... SO DON'T WAIT until we're on our death-beds or as "a hot dame on a cold slab" to say you worshipped our asses! TELL US NOW.
Sorry to say, he did not get around to sending me anything. We decided to meet up first when I got to NY. So I hope this material for his Autobiography is right there on his computer desk-top, to be discovered, kept intact and
cherished. And if the executors decide to go for it and need an editor, I think Dean would have been happy with my red pencil.