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A great and profound loss to the entire poetry community.

[From Wikipedia]

Sekou Sundiata, (b. Harlem 1948 - d. July 18, 2007) born Robert Feaster, was an African-American poet and performer, as well as a professor at New York City's New School. His students include musicians Ani DiFranco and Mike Doughty; his plays include The Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop, The Mystery of Love, Udu, and The 51st Dream State. He also released several albums, including Longstoryshort (Righteous Babe Records) and The Blue Oneness of Dreams (Mouth Almighty label). His subjects included Jimi Hendrix, Nelson Mandela, and reparations for slavery. Word of Mr. Sundiata's death came after a series of reports that he was in grave condition and on life support in a Westchester hospital after suffering two heart attacks. He had been afflicted with but survived other health crises for many years, including kidney failure, a transplant, pneumonia, and a broken neck from an automobile accident.

Sekou Sundiata recorded and performed his poetry with such renowned musicians as Craig Harris, Nona Hendryx, David Murray, and Vernon Reid, as well as with Henry Grimes in duo at the Vision Festival of 2OO6. His plays include "A Circle Unbroken Is a Hard Bop," "The Mystery of Love," and "Udu." Mr. Sundiata was a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, a Columbia University Revson Fellow, a Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, the first Writer-in-Residence at the New School University in New York, and a professor at Eugene Lang College.

Among his students was folk-rocker Ani DiFranco, whose Righteous Babe label released Sekou's CD "Longstoryshort." DiFranco has said that Sekou Sundiata "taught me everything I know about poetry," and the two performed together in 23 cities during her Rhythm and News Tour in 2OO1. In 2OO3, Sundiata toured the U.S. again, performing his one-man theatrical piece "Blessing the Boats," a chronicle of his five-year battle with kidney failure, blending monologues, readings, stand up comedy, spoken word, and storytelling, with recorded music and video projections. The poet's latest theatrical piece, "the 51st (dream) state," is a multi-media music-theater performance, Sekou Sundiata's contemplation of America's national identity, its power in the world, and its guiding mythologies. He has also been featured twice on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO.

Television journalist Bill Moyers, who featured Sekou Sundiata in the PBS series on poetry, "The Language of Life," has said of Sekou that his work "comes from so many places it is impossible to name them all. But I will wager that if we could trace their common origin, we'd arrive at the headwaters of the soul. Listen carefully and he'll take you there." Wrote Amiri Baraka: "Sekou is one of the most distinctive and original DJALI (Poet, Historian, Musician Signifier) doing it. Sekou is Pre-Griot, meaning in the ancient tradition of 'The Gleeman.' Serious as light overhead in darkness."
That is a hard hit to take. A truly vigorous voice, always doing culturework, not willing to commercialize for the White Order, not so quietly defiant and very sage. On a double bill with him at the Kitchen produced by Emily XYZ and Edwin Torres, he later remarked to a mutual friend that I was the star. It made a shiver run up my back. He's left us some great WORD.
Also very sorry to hear this news.

I received this today, thought it might be of interest


The Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, NYC 10012 || 212.614.0505
betw. Bleecker & Houston, across from CBGB's
F or V to 2nd Ave / 6 to Bleecker St.

Saturday July 28 3-5pm

Sekou Sundiata Praise Day at the Bowery Poetry Club "SHORTSTORYLONG"

Gather to praise share further remember forget bring up stories recite poems perform dreams discover new loves energize yourself continue invent greet tolerate lie dance.

We'll play Sekou's CDs and watch his videos, and there will be as many poems for him as there is room for.

For more info write

Donations may be made in the name of Sekou Sundiata to the New York Organ Donor Network or to the National Kidney Foundation.
RIP Mrs. Astor. I enjoyed the Goodie Girls' recollection yesterday:
today we got the
news that Brooke Astor had died. We admired Brooke Astor as a great
lady and great New Yorker who did much good for many. In one of her
columns--we think it was in Vanity Fair in the late 90s--she lamented
that among the many things we've allowed to slip away in this country
is formality. She lamented the fact that we immediately use first names
when meeting new people. The reason she gave for lamenting that change
was not a snooty one. It was, she explained, that by allowing everyone
that kind of informality off the bat, we have lost the pleasure of
saying, "Call me Brooke," as a sort of gift to a new person to whom
we've taken an immediate liking. She was right. It would be nice to be
able do that still, and if that were possible, we would ask all of you
to please call us Romy and Foxy.

In memory of Brooke Astor,

Ms. Ashby and Ms. Kidd
It's not so much of a surprise is it.

After the demise of his lifeblood, and its conversion in to just being a t-shirt on millions of people who never got within a mile of the place.

The place is still empty though, isn't it.

I wonder what happens to the Vegas franchise plans now.

History was just too heavy over his head.

If you think about it, he probably had more of a lasting major influence on culture than any major cultural institution in this city!

I'm gonna go down some whiskey and light up right now, its time to toast him big.
From Jim Fouratt:

Hilly Kristal and the CBGB legacy

CBGB's was an extended family and a cultural frontier. Hilly was the dad at the door behind BG eying who came and who paid and who did not. Louise was the tireless booker and she held the telephone frontline. Lisa and Robert the real children grew up in and around the club. No one who observed her can ever forget his first wife, the hectoring, seemingly crazy one, who would pop up when ever she needed money or his last companion who gave her heart to her teddy bear of a man. Plus all the musician foster kids who passed through the club's back stage door.

Hilly was also a shrewd businessperson and knew how to make the filthy, sacred club into the ground zero of original rock'n'roll. CBGB's out lived Max's and all the others that came to steal CBGB's thunder and disappeared one after another as Hilly kept his doors open, the beer cold and the sound system first class. The intimacy between the waist high stage and the fans was unlike any other club. A band never knew if record executive Seymour Stein, or manager Danny Fields, the writer Lisa Robertson or the dean of rock critics Robert Christgua or artists like John Lennon or Lucinda Williams or Hal Wilner were in the room. (and this usually made up for the paltry pay based on low cost door receipts)...those folks usually hung out near Hilly in the back far from on stage view.

Everyone used the same foul smelling, exposed space, gender free bathrooms. Many an adventure and right of passage began on that stairway between the stage and those bathrooms. The hieroglyphics left by thousands of bands, like pups, that had to stain the wall with their names on every surface of the club, made a post-modern location deconstruction wet dream. CBGB'S was, like Max's in the 60's, Studio 54 in the 70's and Danceteria in the 80's a cultural and nightlife essential stop any night of the year. Like Mickey Ruskin (Max's, Steve Rubell (Studio 54) Larry Levant (Paradise Garage), Hilly put his personal imprint on a cultural institution that shouted New York and was ground zero for style, taste and music.

Even if he would rather had listened to Blue Grass, Hilly knew what was authentic from fake... and on any night of the week you could see and judge for your self. Who you saw and heard at CBGB might never be seen or heard again. It was a roll of the dice. You could have been present the night that Suicide, Television, Hot Lunch, Patti Smith, the Black Rock Coalition, Dean and the Weenies, The Stilettos, Blondie, the Stimulators, DNA, Glenn Branca, the Talking Heads, Helen Wheels, the Student Teachers or any number of either puck or art rock bands played. Their music made NYC and CBGB's the center of modern rock music. Or you could have had to endure the sounds of completely forgettable bands from anywhere in the world as they were "born again" by the music ritual of performing on the CBGB's stage.

If hilly knew and liked you, he would quietly tip you off in advance when something special just might happen.

Hilly kept in step with the cultural turns as the century came to a close with the addition of an art gallery and acoustic room next door and in the basement a lounge room for dj trance culture and romance. Hilly is now gone and the downtown music clubs that mattered are almost all in the graveyard of memory buried by the brutal assault of real estate, greed and drugs on the creative heartbeat of downtown NY.

But CBGB's influence still bleeds into the fantasy life of any kid, boy or girl, white or of color, straight or gay or unsure who thought that picking up a guitar or writing a poem like Patti to sing or scream was the path to their own kind of soul music. CBGB's spirit will not die. Blessed be Hilly. You are indelible in the cultural history of music that matters anywhere. What a legacy! I trust I will still be able to buy that CBGB t-shirt to strut at any age my identification with the beautiful art of noise and downtown otherness.
I did enjoy this obit in the Independent

Sammy Duddy
Belfast paramilitary and drag artist
Published: 19 October 2007
Sammy Duddy, political activist, drag artist and poet: born Belfast 1945; twice married; died Belfast 17 October 2007.

Sammy Duddy was a colourful Belfast character who combined membership of one of the city's most lethal paramilitary groups with a career as "Samantha", a highly suggestive drag act.

In the 1970s, he was by day a propagandist for the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), the extreme Protestant group which was responsible for the killings of hundreds of Catholics. By night, however, he appeared on Belfast's limited but vibrant cabaret circuit, presenting a ribald act in loyalist pubs and clubs dressed in fishnet tights, wig and heavy make-up.

As well as appearing on stage, he also appeared in court, in 1990 serving almost a year in prison on remand before the authorities dropped a charge of possessing documents likely to be useful to terrorists. An unlikely loyalist terrorist, he was never, so far as is known, a frontline gunman or bomber. Despite his mild manner, his acceptance within this particularly butch organisation was helped by his street reputation for being handy with his fists.

He functioned in the 1970s as editor of the UDA's almost embarrassingly crude magazine, which never approached the sophistication of the material produced by republican organisations. For a time he served as one of the UDA's public relations officers. He was not seen as a leading figure within the UDA, but he was regarded as useful in a grouping which had few members with any literary bent. In 1983, he produced a volume of poetry, Concrete Whirlpools of the Mind.

He was a familiar figure at the UDA's east Belfast headquarters, working closely with the organisation's leaders when it was at the height of its activities and had a membership of many thousands. He was known as a jester within the UDA, with a ready fund of adult jokes.

He once said of his drag act:

I wore a miniskirt many a time, but it was usually a long dress, a straight black wig, a pair of falsies and loads of make-up to cover my freckles. The darker the mascara the better – and scarlet lipstick, because I was a scarlet woman.

The charge which put Duddy behind bars related to security force documents on republicans which were leaked to the UDA, and which the organisation attempted, with little success, to use to target IRA members. He later dropped out of sight but reappeared in recent years, becoming active both in the UDA and in loyalist community groups. He helped out in the organisation's faltering and so far unsuccessful efforts to develop a political wing along the lines of Sinn Fein.

In that role he became embroiled in a number of the violent feuds which have convulsed the UDA in recent years. Regarded as a moderate in UDA terms, he found himself on the opposite side of the argument to more extreme figures such as Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair. On one occasion, Duddy's home was attacked with a pipe bomb, while on another shots were fired into it. While he was uninjured, his pet chihuahua, Bambi, was hit by gunfire and died.


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From The Baroness

Today I am writing with sad news. My friend Eric Greg, known to most of you as our previous Fetish Retinue door bitch, died this Monday, November 26th. Eric and I met many years ago when I introduced myself to the impeccably turned-out gentleman, decked out extravagantly in exquisite 1940s attire. I knew he shared my philosophy: Any Occasion to Dress is An Occasion to Overdress. Once I began my Fetish Retinue party over 8 years ago, he was an obvious choice for the door with responsibility for deciding just who was fabulous enough for free entry. For such a petite man, he was most forceful at guarding his post. I will miss him.

Eric Rebitsky, also know as Prince Elias (his title in The Imperial Court), is survived by his mother, Natalie Rebitsky, and two dogs: Ethyl and Talulah. There will be a graveside service this Friday, November 30th, at 11 am,at the New Montefiore Cemetery in Farmingdale (about 1 hour away from New York City, call 631 249 7000 for directions).

Condolences can be sent to Mrs Rebitsky at 5010 Nob Hill Road #101, Sunrise, Florida, 33351. A nice way to show your respects would be to send donations in his name to Gods Love We Deliver, either online at or by mail: 166 Avenue of The Americas, New York, New York 10013 (212 294 8142)

This means my annual holiday cocktail party, scheduled for this Friday, will be postponed. However, my Holiday Fetish Retinue Party will go on as planned this Sunday, December 2nd. It will be especially festive, in honor of Eric.
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Posted by Anna Nicole earlier this evening, moved from Another New York forum:


I just heard that Baird Jones from Webster Hall died. Suddenly.

I can't help get shocked at the many sudden deaths I've heard about of late. People my age just seemingly dropping dead. I saw Baird just a 2wks ago and he didn't seem at all sick or anything... really shocking.

Gossip reporter, celebrity art collector and club promoter extraordinaire Baird Jones died in his Greenwich Village apartment Thursday night.

He was 53.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but police said there were no signs of foul play and no drugs in the apartment.

A friend of his told the Daily News that Jones, the son of People magazine co-founder Cranston Jones, recently complained about being "sick as a dog."

In 1995, while covering Arthur Miller's 80th birthday for The News, Baird Jones asked the playwright about the most intimate details of his relationship with Marilyn Monroe. Miller, fists clenched, chased him out of the party.

After graduating from the Buckley School and Columbia University and earning several advanced degrees, Jones became one of the city's first club promoters, working the door at Studio 54 in its prime. Most recently, he was a curator at Webster Hall.
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