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Just wanted to thank Bill Brewster for sending us this note about the passing of Francis Grasso, 52, who is generally regarded as the first modern DJ. His club The Sanctuary helped define late-sixties(!) gay disco and he pioneered the whole shamanistic tradition of DJs taking the crowd on a trip..

I got an email from a friend of Francis Grasso this morning telling me that, unfortunately, he passed away last weekend. .. The cause of death is not yet known, but he had been having a difficult time in the last period of his life. It's a very sad end to one of the most remarkable lives in the history of the DJ and worth remembering that when Francis invented what we now know as the modern DJ, he was doing it because he loved music and not because he ever expected to earn vast sums of money. There are many people with a lot less talent who have become considerably wealthier than Francis could ever have hoped to.

If you don't know Bill, he wrote the amazing "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life:The History of the Disc Jockey" which is filled with amazing stories including Francis Grasso's.

[This message was edited by Chi Chi on 03-23-01 at 08:38 PM.]
Noted character actor, East Village icon, nightlife legend and panhandler extraordinaire, Rockets Redglare AKA Michael Morra died on May 28, at New York's Bellevue Hospital. He had been admitted to the hospital's emergency room two days earlier after complaining of breathing difficulty. Rockets appeared in many theatrical productions, as well as in scores of films, most recently Penny Marshall's "Big" and Julian Schnabel's "Basquiat." He was 52.
An informal memorial will be planned later on in the year.
Legendary spoken word performer Emilio Cubeiro died on approx. June 15, 2001 in Craftbury Common, VT of complications due to Hepatitis C.
A frequent contributor to one of the first gay poetry magazines, "Mouth Of The Dragon" throughout the early Seventies, Cubeiro's exceptional live performances combined poetry, rhythm and music years before anyone else.
Reportedly, a young poet named Lydia Lunch saw him perform at CBGB's in 1972, and left completely transformed. It would be over 20 years before they would finally work together.
A picture of Emilio is available at Lydia's excellent site:
as well as a video of their collaborative "The Smell Of Guilt"
Emilio also worked with Annie Sprinkle, directing her "Herstory Of Porn" in 1997.
His written word is included in "Noirotica", a collection edited by Thomas S. Roche

[This message was edited by hatches on 07-01-01 at 03:00 PM.]
yeah, it's true...
lance has checked into the chelsea in the sky.
pinto attended (or will soon) his memorial in l.a. i'll see if i can get him to post here.

for those who don't know who lance loud was...
he was the oldest sibling in the loud family who were made famous in the 70's on a PBS mini-series. the show - AN AMERICAN FAMILY - was the first reality based tv show ever aired. it followed the family in their so-cal house and lance as he moved to new york.

he took a room at the chelsea and ran with holly and candy and the rest of the downtown darlings. he was possibly/probably the first out homo on television.

pinto - you're the expert on this one...
care to continue??
i got this from the faerie newsletter.

chi or dads... if this is better placed in a queenmother topic, please move. thanx.

"This is the Revolution...and I'm not missing a minute of it!!!"
Sylvia Rivera at the Stonewall Riots, 1969

Legendary Activist Sylvia Rivera died this week of liver cancer. Her ashes will be carried in a horse drawn cart from the Stonewall Inn to the Hudson River piers on
Tuesday, February 26th at 9PM.

Stonewall INN

Tuesday, Feb 26th
9 p.m.

Faeries have made 40 red foam core hearts decorated with lots of luv and festooned with ribbons, beads, paints, and pictures of Sylvia.

Please join us in celebrating the life and legacy of this incomparable Transgender Activist.

Let her know we love her!

As I understand it, there will be a Funeral at MCC (see below) at 7 PM on Tuesday. After which Sylvia's ashes will be carried in procession in a horse drawn carriage to the Stonewall Inn and then to the Piers.

Funeral: Tuesday Feb, 26th, 7 pm
Metropolitan Community Church
446 West 36th St., Manhattan

(Bring flowers, contributions to help offset costs, or other offerings, and yourself!)

Funeral Procession:

After the funeral, from The Stonewall (53 Christopher) to the Waterfront (or as close as we can get) (Bring flowers, Sylvia requested rainbow flags, bring yourselves. If you play a horn instrument, musicians are being requested to possibly accompany a horse and carriage that are being planned by members of Transie House.)

Bring drums, talismans, costumes, shoes.

Bring Love.

See you there, Fannie Mae B. Free

[This message was edited by goblin73 on 02-25-02 at 11:05 PM.]
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Gobs just letting you know that we met up with the faeries in front of Stonewall, and met your fellow Texxxan Huckleberry Fairy. They made the most beautiful hearts with Sylvia's picture and feathers, beads, fluff, glitter etc. and handed them out to the marchers. Daddy is going to scan one of the hearts for the website so you can see it.

It was an incredibly touching evening - the procession walking through the Village with the band playing and the coach with white horse and black plumes. We'll be doing a page soon on the site so you can see.

If I could love the faeries any more, I did that night. On time, DONE, and with throws for everyone. Now that's trans power!
thanx empress...
i hadn't looked at it until you said to.

goddess bless those faeries! can they turn it out or what?? i can't wait to be back in new york with all of those/you freaks!!!! and i was so glad to see what looked like an INCREDIBLE turnout for someone who sounds like an INCREDIBLE spirit. RIP, VIP indeed.

btw... the cute bearded boy (in the pic with the other boy closing his eyes) is aaron. he was at the whiz on my last night there. the one featuring eyelids is jan ("yon"). and the one in the fur coat is hucklefaerie ken. (didn't you meet him?) just putting some names and faces together.
Here are the details for Don's wake and funeral.
Please please pass them on to anyone whom you feel
would like to celebrate Don's life.

The Wake:
Wednesday 5th June
Perrazza Funeral Home
199 Bleeker Street
(between Macdougal + 6th Ave)
2-5pm Open Casket for family
7-9 Closed Casket

The Funeral Service
Thursday 6th June
St. Francis Xavier Church
16th Street (between 5th + 6th)
10:30 AM

There will be an informal lunch at Bowery Bar after
the Funeral Service.

Thanks for all your love and support during this time.
Jill x
Widely publicized and with a NYMag article to come out Holly died last week. She had been my art dealer from 1974-1980. Everything the many NYTimes obits said about her and Grace Gluck's full biography is true. She treated artists like friends, supported many many talents, and went with her gut feelings no matter what the odds.

My personal memory which I'll never forget was the crazy summer we drove up to Lake Placid with a stationwagon trunk full of white wine and returned with a statonwagon trunk full of depression glass. We had gone for a mad thrift shop depression glass binge, had housefulls of guests for drunken dinners everynight and rooted her son John on in his skating. William Wegman told me later that we scared him! It was the best time!!

I spoke with her son Tom with whom I shared some memories.

Although she never attended Mother, Chi Chi told me they played scrabble at a friend's on St. Bart's (or was it hearts at a rehab?) No matter two great muses who have influenced me and been an important part of my life.

There will be a Memorial Service for Holly in the fall.


SOLOMON-Holly. We will miss this grandest lady of the art world, who surrounded herself at her gallery and at home with the creations of the artists she loved, supported and represented. Thank you for all you did to make the art world so lively. Agnes Gund, Daniel Shapiro

THE ARTS/CULTURAL DESK | June 10, 2002, Monday
Holly Solomon, Adventurous Art Dealer, Is Dead at 68


- Holly Solomon, an art dealer known for her championship of the new and untried, for her spirited, high-stepping lifestyle and for being the subject of a glamorous portrait by Andy Warhol that made her a Pop icon like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, died on Thursday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She was 68 and lived in Manhattan.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, her son Thomas said.

[This message was edited by daddy on 06-21-02 at 03:14 PM.]
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Holly was a steam roller. She paved the way. She had one of the first galleries in SOHO. When SHE moved downtown EVERYONE moved downtown.

Holly started so many people's careers. Too many to mention. She was often the first person to give an artist a break. Most of the household name artists of the 70's, 80's, 90's and beyond got their start somehow with Holly.

Holly, subsequently, had one the best art collections in the world. Going to her apt. (57th Street) was like going to the Museum of Modern Art. This building, which she and then husband Horace owned, was Marilyn Monroe's Building. (Holly had amazing Marilyn Monroe momentos)

Horace was the inventor of the bobby pin.
(Not true but he told everybody that. I guess I was the only one that actually believed it)

Holly was absolutely GORGEOUS when she was young. If you ever saw pictures you would gag. The Andy Warhol Portrait of Holly is definately one of his best.

Holly was generous. She helped with my rent on a couple of occasions when I was in art school. I showed her my (awful) art and she wanted to help. She saw something I guess. (It wasn't my drawings)

She always supported and often came to Jackie 60. She loved it. I think that was the art that she was waiting for. She was supposed to be interviewed for the Jackie 60 Movie but got sick. Always the trouper, she wanted to do the interview at her house right after her chemotheropy but I said let's wait. We never did it.

Holly was fierce.

[This message was edited by daddy on 06-21-02 at 03:15 PM.]
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Michael's lover Gareth sent me a note that Michael died last night between 8-9PM, at Saint Vincent's of complications due to HIV/AIDS which he had been fighting bravely for years. Gareth shut off his med tubes at 8PM because Michael loved curtain time.

I'm sure many of you remember the pierced and tattooed very handsome couple, Michael and Gareth who frequented Jackie 60, Click & Drag and recently Cheez Whiz.

Michael was an actor/songwriter. He was one of the girls in "Cage" on Broadway and recently performed his songs at small gatherings.

Michael was a fun loving rebel, a fierce and loyal friend and over the past couple of years threw many parties for which he hired Hattie Hathaway, Robert Flowrider and myself to entertain. He also befriended Sabrina who was to write a piece for an anthology Michael was planning. Ginger recently photographed Michael at the Betty Page party. If Ginger could post that picture I know Garreth would love it.

Anyone wishing to write Gareth a note:

[This message was edited by Rose Royalle on 06-21-02 at 05:00 AM.]
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Hi, everyone,

I have at last found a place suitable for a party for us all to get together and honor Michaelian. Here are the details:

Monday, August 19 - that's a week from today
The Slipper Room
167 Stanton Street at Orchard
(lower east side - 1 block south and east of 1st Ave. and Houston)
7:30 til whenever
Cash bar

We'll start with about an hour of sharing memories, stories - anyone who wants to contribute is welcome to do so. Then we'll turn up the music and just mingle.
Please let me know if you are coming. And spread the word to others who I might not reach. Would like to have a big turn out.

Can't wait to see you all.

Tara died suddenly last Monday from complications
brought on by an untreated chronic bronchial condition.

Versaille Room vets may remember Tara, one of a group of very pretty, quite passable Pan Asian/ Philipine young ladies who were regular customers @Mother. The girls were always followed by droves of chasers who would compete for the privilege of buying their drinks. They remained loyal to "Jackie 60" and even followed the legendary party downtown to Don Hill's. Among her coterie of friends--Ana, Meghan, Gretchen (of Lucky Chengs) and Kim to name a few.

Tara worked selling cosmetics @Bergdoff's and later bartended @Eidleweiss off and on for many years. I will always remember her good humor and generosity to me.

Services will be held today, Sunday October 6 from 2-9PM at a Memorial Home (wasn't told name) on "12th St. and Avenue A". All are welcome to attend.
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Was this the same Tara that was pretty big and would wear black rubber dresses? Often she wore a black Betty Page wig and I used to tell her she could totally win in a plus-size Betty competition. I used to see her at Mother and also Kitsch-Inn and I even have a picture of her somewhere. (without her wigs she had a shaved head)

If it's the one I'm thinking of I had no idea she was even a tranny! I thought she was genetic girl all this time! Just goes to show you never know.

Very, very sad. So young and so full of spirit. Rest in peace.
Next to Quentin Crisp, one of my favorite New Yorkers was an uptown girl whom I belatedly learned passed on. I was visitng the NYTimes obit section for the first time in many months and discovered Daphne Helman, had passed away this summer very close to if not on Warhol's birthday.) She was listed as a name on the bottom of the page but the link wasn't working. Later that day I was on the Motherboards in the Versailles section and was reminded of the RIP VIP which I've also avoided far too long so I finally visited and learned of Holly Solomon's death. Another great loss. I was curious if a mention of Ms. Daphne appeared here and since it had not I'd like to contribute the Times synopsis with the small footnote that they failed to account for the fact that age 80 she took up Rollerblading in Central Park which is where we happened upon each other, her in lots of colorful protective gear and me in one of my April Fool's numbers.

Daphne Hellman, Harpist With Eclectic Taste, Dies at 86

Daphne Bayne Hellman, the jazz harpist who performed around the world and for three decades at the Village Gate but who had a special affection for playing on subway platforms, died on Sunday at a nursing home in Manhattan. She was 86.

Ms. Hellman, who had played on the streets of Paris at a music fair as recently as June, was recuperating from injuries suffered in a fall last month near her town house on East 61st Street, her family said.

In a wildly peripatetic musical career that began in the 1940's at Town Hall -- where Time magazine called her ''as curvesome as a treble clef'' -- her professional choices were generally as eccentric as those she made in the rest of her life.

She saw nothing particularly unusual, she said, about plucking her harp on the street in front of the Hotel Pierre, where she came out to society in 1933, at a supper dance in the roof garden.

She did not seem to care what people thought when, after years of playing well-to-do places for well-to-do crowds, she also took the stage at clubs like CBGB, on the Bowery, accompanied by the kitchen-drawer percussion of a man called Mr. Spoons, otherwise known as Joseph Jones Jr., whom Ms. Hellman put up in her town house after his third wife left him.

She played the Beatles or Roger Miller or bluegrass warhorses like ''Foggy Mountain Breakdown'' with as much appreciation as she played Bach and Debussy, Gershwin and Kern.

Although she was an heiress with substantial means -- ''My mother had mucho money,'' she said in one interview -- she liked to count the money she earned when she began playing in the subway in the 1980's, sometimes carrying coins to a delicatessen near her house to trade them for bills.

''She was just the antisnob, that's what she was,'' said Art D'Lugoff, who owned the Village Gate, where Ms. Hellman and her trio, Hellman's Angels, played every Tuesday for 30 years when she was in town. It was one of the longest nightclub runs in the city's history.

''She had money and she knew a lot of people and she got along with everybody,'' said Mr. D'Lugoff, whose club closed in 1994. ''She opened up a new world for me, and I opened up a world for her.''

Ms. Hellman was sometimes compared to Katharine Hepburn, not only because of her high cheekbones and patrician good looks, but also because she lived a life of elegant rebellion, even before she first touched a harp at the age of 12.

Born Daphne Van Beuren Bayne, the granddaughter of the founder of the Seaboard National Bank, she recalled in a 1990 profile in The New Yorker that as a child she liked to keep bats and armadillos as pets. ''They are much maligned and misunderstood,'' she said of bats.

As a young woman, she first tried acting, training in New York and London and landing a walk-on part in a Broadway production of ''Hamlet.'' She also modeled for Man Ray and Harper's Bazaar. But after her marriage to her first husband, Harry Bull, the editor of Town & Country magazine, and the birth of their son, Sandy, she began to take the harp more seriously.

Over the strong objections of her father, she had her jazz debut at a cabaret called Le Ruban Bleu, at 56th Street and Fifth Avenue. Over the next few years, she played at a string of clubs that sound like a roll call from another musical era: the Hotel New Yorker, with Ving Merlin and his All-Girl Band; Upstairs at the Downstairs, with Blossom Dearie and Imogene Coca; Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe; the Versailles; Le Perroquet.

Once, at Le Ruban Bleu, according to the New Yorker profile, a young Billie Holiday, quite drunk, angrily refused to share the club's only dressing room with Ms. Hellman, who played there twice a year.

But most of Ms. Hellman's relationships with famous people were much more congenial and enduring. Her cluttered East Side town house, usually full of boarders, birds, dogs and litters of gerbils, served as the base for a kind of floating salon. And she was its musical Zelig, whose close friends included, besides Mr. Spoons, the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the artist Saul Steinberg and the writer Norman Mailer.

In the 1940's, she had briefly supplied a beautiful face and high-society name to gossip columns when her marriage to Mr. Bull fell apart and she had an affair with Geoffrey T. Hellman, a writer for The New Yorker. She married him in Reno in 1941, hours after her divorce from Mr. Bull. (Her son, Sandy Bull, a noted guitarist, died last year; she is survived by a daughter, Daisy Paradis, and a son, Digger St. John.)

Mr. Hellman left her for another woman, and in 1961, she married Hsio-Wen Shih, a Chinese-American architect and writer, who left their home one day in 1965 and disappeared, breaking her heart, friends said.

''It was like he went out for a pack of cigarettes and just didn't come back,'' said Lyn Christie, the bassist in Ms. Hellman's trio, who played with her for decades, everywhere from the subway to Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Bombay and Hong Kong.

''It felt sort of like the trips we made to China were an attempt to try to find out about him,'' Mr. Christie said. ''But we never did come across him.''

Ms. Hellman's daughter, Daisy Paradis, said that her mother, who sometimes smoked a pack of Salems a day, had slowed down only slightly over the last few years. She had not played the subway for quite a while, mostly because it had become harder to find someone to help her lug her 85-pound harp down to the platform. But she played in Hong Kong and Sri Lanka this year and was appearing at the Firebird Cafe in Midtown at the time of her fall.

''She was an incredibly intrepid woman,'' said Mr. Christie, who recalled that in Hong Kong she tried to ride on horseback into Communist China. ''She loved to do whatever she knew you weren't supposed to do.''


[This message was edited by dreambot on 10-19-02 at 11:46 AM.]
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I just walked by Pat Field's 8th Street store and was almost in tears. It's all empty, dark & closed up with the windows soaped. It's so sad. There is just a little sign on the door that says "SALE". So many memories in that store. Decades of memories! Punk, New Wave, Paradise Garage, Ball House, Club Kid, Rave. And who hasn't worked there at least once? I knew it was coming but to actually see her closed is a shock. I know it's not a tragedy or anything, Pat is ruling the earth now with Sex & The City and showing in the tents etc. She is finally getting the homage she deserves. And I know there is still Hotel Venus but I'll really, REALLY miss the old store.
Subject: [queerleft] Fwd: Harry Hay obituary - New York Times

Is there going to be a NYC (or in other cities)
memorial for Harry Hay, and more than mourning, as
doing what Harry Hay had often done, which way forward for the queer movement? In May 2003 there will be a gathering of queer lefties in NYC at the Brecht Forum, to put the issue of queer liberation back in the heart of the socialist/anarchist/left movments and reconnect
the queer community to the left, on the 70th
anniversary of the Magnus Hirschfield/Institute of
Sexology/banning of gay press in Nazi Germany (May 6), also there will be a queer contingent at the antiwar march this Saturday.

New York Times [New York, NY]
October 25, 2002

Harry Hay, 90, Early Proponent of Gay Rights, Is

Harry Hay, who founded a secret organization six
decades ago that proved to be the catalyst for the American gay rights movement, died early Thursday morning at his home in San Francisco. He was 90.

Although little known in the broader national
culture over the years, Mr. Hay's contribution was to do what no one else had done before: plant the idea among American homosexuals that they formed an oppressed cultural minority of their own, like blacks, and to create a lasting organization in which homosexuals could come together to socialize and to pursue what was,
at the beginning, the very radical concept of
homosexual rights.

The group Mr. Hay founded one that exists in
remnants today-the Mattachine Society. Its name was taken from a medieval French term for male
dancers who performed in public, sometimes
satirizing social customs, but only wearing masks.

Starting in Los Angeles in 1950, Mr. Hay formed his secret society with a handful of others. Virtually no men or women in the country then identified themselves publicly as homosexual. The law in California and other states made it illegal for homosexuals to assemble in public. The American Psychiatric Association defined homosexuality as a mental illness.

The term gay rights would not come into general use until 1969, after the New York City police raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, and its patrons staged a violent uprising against the arrests.

But by then, the political organizing and public
expression of gay consciousness begun by Mr. Hay was long established in many cities across the country, and had matured for a generation.

In 1948, Mr. Hay was a restless, middle-aged man
living with his wife and two daughters when he was struck one August night by the idea for a new kind of group. The impulse came out of a brew of other identities and allegiances that mingled in him, all of them described by his biographer, Stuart Timmons, in "The Trouble With Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement" (Alyson Publications, 1990). He was an ardent American Communist, a romantic homosexual, an amateur musician and aspiring actor, a disaffected Roman
Catholic, a sometime labor organizer and a man of
secretive nature. It was an array of opposing values that would put him in a state of conflict and tension for most of his life and would cast him out of the Communist Party and his own Mattachine Society before the 1950's were half over.

But that summer night in 1948, he would later tell
interviewers, he attended an all-male party in Los Angeles and fell into conversation about the next presidential election.

Maybe former Vice President Henry Wallace, the
Progressive Party candidate, would include a sexual privacy plank in his platform in exchange for votes and support from homosexuals, Mr. Hay suggested. The others hooted at such a crazy idea. But later, while his wife and children
slept, Mr. Hay wrote the future movement's first political manifesto. He raised the notion of
homosexuals as an oppressed minority. (It was an
organizing principle that would not appear in print until 1951, with the publication of "The
Homosexual in America," the first commercially
published nonfiction account of homosexual life in the United States written by a homosexual, though under a pseudonym, Donald Webster Cory.)

The thoughts in Mr. Hay's manifesto, which he
revised and which later became known as "The Call," seem antique now. He labeledhis unformed group "Bachelors Anonymous," and was both grand and bland about its purpose. "We, the Androgynes of the world, have formed this responsible corporate body to demonstrate by our efforts that our physiological and psychological handicaps need be no deterrent in integrating 10 percent of the world's population towards to constructive social progress of mankind," he wrote.

It took him more than two years to find four other
men willing to discuss how they might organize. Two had also been members of the Communist Party in the prewar years when Communism seemed an
attractive enemy of fascism. Another was Austrian, a Viennese refugee from fascism named Rudi Gernreich, who would become famous as a fashion designer, for miniskirts, the topless
bathing suit and other creations. The last was Dale Jennings, whose arrest the next year for soliciting a police officer to commit a homosexual act gave the new group its first cause.

It was a case of police entrapment, common in those years, but instead of pleading no contest to avoid a public trial, as homosexuals usually did, Mr. Jennings, at Mr. Hay's insistence, went to trial with a lawyer hired by Mattachine, and swore that yes, he was homosexual, but no, he had not solicited.

The jury acquitted him. With that victory, the
Mattachine Society grew, spreading chapters across the country. But as the cold war deepened, the group, fearful of Mr. Hay's history in the
Communist Party, forced him out. The party, with which he had felt such class kinship before the war, rejected him as a homosexual after he and his wife, Anita, divorced, early in the 1950's. More than 20 years later, still on
the sidelines of the main gay movement, he cofounded another kind of group, a brotherhood built along the lines of the spiritual tribe that he always thought gay men naturally formed. He called it The Radical Faeries.

Because Mr. Hay did not last long as the leader of
the Mattachine Society, because it was a secret society, and because his role in it remained unknown until he talked about it to Jonathan Ned Katz for his reference anthology "Gay American History," (Arno Press, 1975) others became better known as leaders in the gay-rights movement and carried on the public fight that Mr. Hay had begun.

After his expulsion from the society's leadership,
Mr. Hay became a fixture of West Coast progressive politics, of the antidraft and antiwar campaigns, worked in the Women's Strike for Peace during the Vietnam War, and with
Native American activists, especially the Committee for Traditional Indian Land and Life.

Harry Hay was born Henry Hay Jr. in England in
1912, and raised by nannies. His father was a manager of gold and diamond mining in South Africa for Cecil Rhodes, and of copper mining in Chile, before settling the family in California.

He said he had his first homosexual sexual
encounter at 14 while shipping on a tramp steamer down the California coast. He attended Stanford University, but did not graduate.

It was the actor Will Geer, who decades later
played Grandpa Walton on television, who introduced Mr. Hay to Communist organizing, including the general union strike which closed the Port of San Francisco in 1934.

When he realized that the Communist Party would not accept homosexuals, he married a fellow Communist, Anita Platsky. They adopted two daughters, who survive him: Kate Berman and Hannah Muldaven, both of Los Angeles. He is
also survived by his partner of 40 years, John
Burnside, with whom he registered as a domestic partner in California weeks before his death.


[This message was edited by Rose Royalle on 10-27-02 at 06:23 AM.]
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Thank You R_R for posting the Hay obit. I was truly hoping someone else would so that I wouldn't, least others think I might be obsessing on death here. I am or do, but I try keeping it under wraps until my own moment arrives. Something I find myself looking forward to the older I get, the more disturbing the world becomes. What I love about reading these accounts is the wonderful golden nuggets of information you discover about people who've managed to make a differnce for the better throughout the course of their lives. Gives you hope about many things that matter but sometimes get overlooked or lost in the struggle to survive.


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Gay Activist Harry Hay Dies

Subject: radical faerie founder died in San Francisco

Our beloved faerie sissy brother Harry Hay left this earth plane at 2 a.m., PDT, this morning, October 24, 2002. The Duchess died peacefully in his sleep at home while attended by his beloved companion John Burnside and a circle of loving friends. Let us join hands in a circle to remember Harry and how he has graced our lives, as he joins with our faerie ancestors.

A memorial in NYC is being planned - information will be forwarded via this email service. Donations in his memory can be made out to
'Faerie Camp Destiny' and mail to:

P.O. Box 150296,
Brooklyn, NY 11215.

They will forwarded on to the Vermont Sanctuary.
The NYC Circle of Loving Companions


Harry Hay Official Obituary

Dear friends
Memories of Harry Hay.
Please take note of the passing of a very important pioneer for gay rights. When, together with my friend Beano, I helped to organize a Gay Men's Week at Manorbier Youth Hostel Pembrokeshire Christmas 1997, we let Harry Hay
know about the event.It was the first occassion on which significant numbers of the Edward Carpenter Community and the Eurofaeries Group from Europe celebrated a week together. He sent some very nice Christmas decorations from the Smithsonian and we spoke to him on Christmas Day. He was certainly very charming nonetheless forceful and articulate.
Two years later I traveled to a gathering of all the American gay rural communities and radical faery groups at Faery Camp Destiny in Vermont,
partly in the hope of meeting Harry.
Unfortunately he was already confined to bed by that stage, but nonetheless we held a conference call with him from the interesting setting of a 50 man Mongolian Yurt tent. He
spoke to us at length, particularly on the ideal of subject-subject consciousness in which everything on the earth including the stones beneath our feet is deemed to be a subject, not just an object, and should be respected as such. I spoke with him about the gay composer Poulenc, whose anniversary it was that year. As ever it was so interesting to talk with Harry Hay, a still living figure from history.
It says a lot for the kindness of the gay community in San Francisco that they took on the task of caring for Harry in his declining years and honored him as Parade Marshall on their annual Gay Pride March on at least one occasion.
Read the book 'The Trouble with Harry Hay' to find out more about this fascinating man.

Tom Brooks
4 Connaught Mansions
London SW9 8LE England
home telephone: +44 207 924 0834
mobile: 0778 0691650

[This message was edited by Rose Royalle on 10-27-02 at 06:43 AM.]
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With his sometimes crackpot notions and radiant, ecstatic, vision of the holiness of being queer, Harry Hay refused to play the model homosexual
EVEN IN THE GLOW of its conservatism, America "” which was formed via revolution, after all has always taken a certain pride in its radicals.
Even so, America prefers to remember its history-makers in sanitized versions with none of the messy, often embarrassing flaws that are usually
inscribed on the souls who take it upon themselves to change the world.

Thus, we prefer to think of Thomas Jefferson as a revolutionary genius, rather than as slave owner who not only had sexual relations with his female
slaves but consigned his own children to slavery.

The fiery stances taken by anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman in the early part of this century are
softened "” or forgotten "” in her incarnations as a grandmotherly figure in the film Reds and an innocuous witty commentator in the musical Ragtime.

The popular image of Rosa Parks as a tired seamstress who just wanted a seat on the bus is far more comforting than the reality: she was a skilled political thinker and secretary of the NAACP chapter that planned the bus boycott long
before she refused to sit down. Even the most serious biographers of Martin Luther King Jr. portray him in rosy hues, as an American saint, not as a deeply religious man whose promiscuity and adulterous behavior tore him apart.

So it is with Harry Hay founder of the gay movement in America who died at the age of 90 on October 24. Obits in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press left the impression that Hay was a passionate activist and something of a romantic. The New York Times referred to him as "an ardent American Communist, a romantic homosexual," who was a "restless middle-aged man" by the time he formed the Mattachine Society, the first gay-rights group in the United States. The Los Angeles Times described
Hay's penchant for wearing "the knit cap of a macho longshoreman, a pigtail and a strand of pearls" and also noted that he and John Burnside, his lover of 40 years, lived most recently in San Francisco in a pink Victorian house.

The reality is that while Hay may have been a romantic, he was also notoriously promiscuous, and his communism was far more rabid than "ardent." And while he did wear pearls with his longshoreman's cap, it wasn't a form
of charming "gender-bender" chic, as the Los Angeles Times put it, but a political statement Hay first donned back when it was still quite dangerous to do so. Hay, in fact, was fanatically resistant to the grandfatherly image the modern gay movement not only tried to attribute to him but expected him to play out. The documentary Word Is Out, for instance, filmed in 1976,
portrayed Hay and Burnside as paragons of gay domesticity. More recently, he was invited to address the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Creating Change Conference, in 1998, and was billed as a major speaker. But he was given no context in which to talk about his politics and found himself treated more as an artifact of gay history than as an activist with ideas.

Hay had strong opinions and never pandered to popular opinion when he voiced them "” whether he was attacking national gay organizations for what he saw as their increasingly conservative political positions ("The assimilationist
movement is running us into the ground," he told the San Francisco Chronicle in July 2000) or when he condemned the national gay press in particular,
the Advocate for its emphasis on consumerism. He was, at times, a serious political embarrassment, as when he consistently advocated the inclusion of
the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) in gay-pride parades.

HAY'S UNEASY relationship with the gay movement he reviled what he saw as the movement's propensity for selling out its fringe members for easy, and often illusory, respectability didn't develop later in life. It was there from the start. In 1950, when Hay formed the Mattachine Society technically a "homophile group," since the more aggressive idea of gay rights had yet to be conceived his radical vision was captured in a
manifesto he wrote stating boldly that gay people were not like heterosexuals. Indeed, Hay insisted , homosexuals formed a unique culture
from which heterosexuals might learn a great deal. This notion was at decisive odds with the view put forth by many other Mattachine members: that homosexuals should not be discriminated against because gay people were just like straight people. By 1954, the group essentially ousted Hay.

It wasn't the first time Hay had been booted out of a group he helped create. From the 1930s through the early 1950s, Hay had been an active
member of the American Communist Party. In 1934, Hay and his lover Will Geer, who later played Grandpa on the long-running television series The
Waltons, helped pull off an 83-day-long workers' strike of the port of San Francisco. Though marred by violence, it was an organizing triumph, one that became a model for future union strikes "” such as the one currently under way (but stymied by the Bush administration) at West Coast ports. During the 1940s, Hay struggled unsuccessfully to be honest about his homosexuality of which he'd been certain since adolescence while maintaining his status as a member of the Communist Party, which banned homosexuals from joining.
He married a follow Communist Party member and adopted two daughters even as he worked to form the Mattachine Society. But homophobia eventually won out. After the Mattachine Society gained notoriety in the early 1950s, Hay was unceremoniously kicked out of the Communist Party.

The story of Harry Hay's life was that he was always a just little too radical and since he was also a bit of an egotist, too disinclined to
demure for the groups with which he was involved. He was also too idealistic. Hay took the name Mattachine from a secret medieval French society of unmarried men who wore masks during their rituals as forms of social protest. They, in turn, took their names from the Italian attaccino,
a court jester who was able to tell the truth to the king while wearing a mask. As an old-time socialist, he was drawn to communism because of its egalitarian vision and, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, its stand against fascism. But he was also an actor and a musician drawn to a brand of scholarship that romanticized popular culture as intrinsically progressive and revolutionary.

Despite, or perhaps because of, Hay's difficulty getting along with others, his vision of gay liberation was decades ahead of its time. His monumentally important contribution to the gay movement was his ability to communicate the notion that homosexuals made up a cultural minority with its own history, political concerns, and organizational strengths. An often-told story about Hay (retold in the New York Times' obituary) recounts how he came up with a political strategy in 1948 that no one had ever voiced before: giving votes in exchange for ideological support. To wit: identity politics for homosexuals on the same model African-Americans had begun to use in organizations like the NAACP. Hay wondered out loud, the most basic
form of political organizing if Vice-President Henry Wallace, who was the Progressive Party's candidate for president, would back a sexual-privacy law if he could be assured that a majority of homosexuals would vote for him.
The politics of quid pro quo was revolutionary for its time. Remember, at that time it was dangerous to publicly identify as a "homosexual" you could be arrested merely on the suspicion that you might be looking for sex; many states legally forbade serving drinks to homosexuals, much less allowing homosexuals to gather together in public. Indeed, the American Psychological Association's lifting of the definition of homosexuality as a mental illness was a good 20 years away.

That said, Hay's vision was not completely original. It drew partially on the work of late-19th/early-20th-century gay British socialist Edward Carpenter and, to a lesser extent, the political work of Magus Hirschfeld. Carpenter pushed the idea that people with homosexual desires were a distinct group with a well-defined identity, and thus could have a distinctive consciousness about their place in society. Hay, who was born in England in 1912 and moved to the US with his parents almost 10 years later,
would have had easy access to Carpenter's ideas, which were popular through the 1920s. But even though Hay's notions had roots in European intellectual circles, they were truly radical in American political thought.

Political genius that he was, Hay never would have achieved what he did without his training as an organizer for the American Communist Party. He
used the party's own "cell" organization to build and propagate the ever-growing Mattachine. Even the group's recruitment tactic it was as dangerous to walk up to someone and say, "Hey, are you a homosexual? Want to join our club?" as it was for someone to drum up membership for a seditious political group was modeled on the Communist Party's strategy of getting names of potential members from current members.

THE HOMOPHILE movement of the 1950s and 1960s gave way after the 1969 Stonewall riots to the Gay Liberation movement. With its roots in feminism, the Black Power movement, street culture, and the antiwar movement, the Gay
Liberation movement initially appealed to Hay. It was, essentially, the movement he had envisioned in 1950 but that never came to fruition. Soon,
however, Hay became disenchanted as the radical Gay Liberation movement became corporatized with groups like Gay Activist Alliance and the National
Gay and Lesbian Task Force, whose goals were to assimilate into the mainstream rather than change the basic structures of society. Hay, yet again, was a queen without a movement.

During these years, Hay spoke out against what he saw as the increasing conservatism of the gay-and-lesbian movement. As he saw it, the gay "” and
now, lesbian "” movement was far more interested in electing homosexuals to government positions than in making the government responsible to the needs of its people. It was more interested in making sure that gay people were represented in commercial television and films than in critiquing the ways mass culture destroyed the human spirit. It was too interested in making
strategic alliances with conservative politicians, rather than exposing how most politicians were working hand in glove with bloodless, destructive corporations.

Hay's response was to reinvent gay politics all over again: in 1979, he founded the Radical Faeries. The spiritual core of the Radical Faeries was the same as the one Hay had invisioned for his original Mattachine Society:
the conviction that gay men were spiritually different from other people. They were more in touch with nature, bodily pleasure, and the true essence of human nature, which embraced both male and female. Hay's spiritual radicalism had its roots in 17th-century British dissenting religious
groups, such as the Diggers, Ranters, Quakers, and Levelers, who sought to refashion the world after their egalitarian, socialist, non-hierarchical, utopian views. Unlike his dissenting predecessors, however, it wasn't
millennial Christianity that drove Hay, but a belief that all sexuality was sacred. And a belief that queer sexuality had an essential outsider quality that made the outcast homosexual the perfect prophet for a heterosexual world lost in strict gender roles, enforced reproductive sexuality, and numbingly straitjacketed social personae. The Radical Faeries were something
of a cross between born-again queers and in-your-face frontline shock troops practicing gender-fuck drag.

By this time, the gay movement which had devolved from a "liberation" movement into a quest for "gay rights" treated Hay as a benign crackpot.
He was frequently praised as an important historical figure, but no one was really interested in what he had to say, especially since the Christian right had already begun to launch vicious anti-gay attacks with Anita Bryant
's "Save Our Children" campaign of 1979 and California's Briggs Initiative (which would have banned openly gay schoolteachers) a year later. Often the discomfort with Hay was coupled with an overriding discomfort with his long history of involvement with the American Communist Party. More often than not, though, his relationship with Will Geer was touted as proof that just like Grandpa Walton Hay was an icon of safe respectability.

Despite his 40-year relationship with John Burnside, the aging radical still proclaimed the joys of sexual promiscuity and denounced the increasingly popular mandate that monogamy was a preferable lifestyle. In his own determined, often irritating, manner, Harry Hay resisted becoming a model homosexual hero. Nowhere was this more evident than in Hay's persistent
support of NAMBLA's right to march in gay-pride parades. In 1994, he refused to march with the official parade commemorating the Stonewall riots in New York because it refused NAMBLA a place in the event. Instead, he joined a competing march, dubbed The Spirit of Stonewall, which included NAMBLA as well as many of the original Gay Liberation Front members. Even many of Hay's
more dedicated supporters could not side with him on this. But from Hay's point of view, silencing any part of the movement because it was disliked or hated by mainstream culture was both a moral failing and a seriously mistaken political strategy. In Harry's eyes, such a stance failed to
grapple seriously with the reality that there would always be some aspect of the gay movement to which mainstream culture would object. By pretending the movement could be made presentable by eliminating a specific "objectionable"
group drag queens and leather people were the objects of similar purges in the 1970s and 1980s gay leaders not only pandered to the idea of
respectability but betrayed their own community.

In death, though, Harry Hay's critics have finally been able to do what they couldn't do when he was alive: make him presentable. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign have issued laudatory press
releases. (The HRC's Davis Smith says, for example, "When you were in a room with him, you had the sense you were in the company of a historic figure." A sense I certainly didn't get at a cocktail party 12 years ago, when he came
across as nothing but a cantankerous old queen who was more interested in speculating about what some of the younger party guests would be like in bed than discussing the connections between 1950s communism and gay-community organizing.) Even the Metropolitan Community Church issued a statement
hailing Harry Hay's support for its work (a dubious idea at best). Neither of the long and laudatory obits in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times mentioned his unyielding support for NAMBLA or even his deeply radical credentials and vision. Harry, it turns out, was a grandfatherly figure who had an affair with Grandpa Walton. But it's important to remember Hay with all his contradictions, his sometimes crackpot notions, and his radiant, ecstatic, vision of the holiness of being queer as he lived. For in his death, Harry Hay is becoming everything he would have raged against.


-Michael Bronski can be reached at
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Although Michael Bronski did not actually post his obit synopsis here, I'm wondering if it is serving some other purpose or wherever else it was submitted. His seeming objection to the tendency of the media and others to paint rosy post mortem pictures fails to take into account some prerequisites of the moment, including timing, the emotions of the bereaved, and the fact the person in question or under attack is no longer here to defend themselves. Most everyone will agree that it's nearly impossible to lead an entirely dirt free life without offending someone, somewhere, unintentionally or otherwise but is the 'obit' the forum to take someone to task for misgivings, miscalculations or other indiscretions? Is it so immediately necessary to cause friends and family in their current moment of crisis to circle wagons to ward off the slings and arrows of their deceased's detractors? And what about the accuracy of these accounts? How much is hearsay? Verifiable? How much is innuendo of those with an agenda or final score to even? These questions in the context of an obit, leads me to believe it doesn't seem to be the proper time and place to be considering fresh or divergent suppositions. This is not to say someone should not be held accountable or the truth should not be known but I believe there are better forums for this other than the notice of obituary. Mr. Bronski's account of Harry Hay's total life while illuminating and neatly polite may be better served in a biography or some other historical record.

Convicted "Moors Murderer" Myra Hindley died today, November 15, after spending nearly half her life in prison for participating in a two year murder spree, which began in 1963. Together with her then-lover, Ian Brady, Hindley was convicted of abducting, torturing, and murdering at least five children whose bodies were found in shallow graves on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester, England. She had begun an unsuccessful bid for freedom in the 1990's.
Ms. Hindley was portrayed chillingly onstage in 1992 by Marti Domination in the Blacklips production, "Myra."
I don't know if any of you remember him. He was a British club kid/artist who spent some time in NY a few years ago, around the time Susanne Bartsch got married. He had skulls built into the sides of his shoes, as well as on his headpiece. He told me he'd been a friend of Leigh Bowery's.

Well, anyway, a British DJ told me he died recently. I was so sorry to hear about it, he was a very sweet guy.
In Loving Tribute To
Lt. Cmdr. Teresa Ellison

of the U.S.S. Northstar,
N.C.C.- 10462

Whenever something happens to one of our own, we feel sympathy. Rarely do we realize until they are no longer with us, just how much of an impact, a single being can have on our ives.......

Lieutenant Commander Teresa Ellison was a very special individual. She had a beautiful heart.

A very humble and proud New Yorker with lots of attitude. She was truly a Diva with a conscience.

Teresa was an outspoken advocate for the rights of Transgendered people, people with HIV/AIDS, as well as the Homeless.

Teresa was always a very direct and frank person. She always let people know exactly how she felt about anything. She treated everyone in the exact
same fashion, she wanted to be treated.

Whether it was on behalf of Housing Works or the AIDS Walk, Teresa was always able to stand up for herself as well as others. She demanded equal
treatment with justice and respect. She would never stand for anything less.

Teresa was born and raised as Theodore Ellison, a very religious family in New Jersey in 1971. Her family and friends in church affectionally called her "Teddy." She was a member of the gospel choir.

Even during these early days, "Teddy" knew deep down she was really a woman.

Much like the proverbial Spock, she felt very conflicted with both her inner and outer selves.

It was not until she left her family and moved into the city in 1995, did she begin to evolve into her true self.

All along in the midst of sickness and adversity, as Teresa struggled to reconcile with her religious yet unaccepting family, she remained deeply committed to her spirituality as well as her faith.

Indeed she became very active in her newly adopted church.

Teresa had a great sense of humor. With her razor sharp wit and tongue to match, she was seldom unprepared for the ultimate comeback. We all have multiple recollections of barely surviving her verbal photon torpedo volleys.

With sheer determination, she lived with honor and courage. Within the Community of the U.S.S. Northstar, Teresa absolutely thrived.

Very Recently, Teresa was very weak and oxygen deprived. Without concern for herself, she dutifully left the safe confines of her nursing home bed and jumped onto her motorized wheelchair. She endured a long bus ride and braved an even longer ferry ride from Staten Island in order to represent her interests at the AIDS Walk.

She championed her beliefs to the bitter end. Teresa truly believed in the beauty and concept of the IDIC. As proud as she was to be an advocate for the truly down trodden, she proved that there is hope in strength through diversity and unity.

In short Lt. Cmdr. Teresa Ellison embodied the true spirit and ideals of Star Trek and the U.S.S. Northstar.

We all have lost a very powerful advocate for community and social change, but we will work very diligently to keep her legacy alive.

She will be sorely missed.....

Hailing Frequencies Open From Our Earth

We Will Always Miss And Love You Teresa.......
Hsie-Hsie, Tsai- Tien,Wa Aye Nee Teresa........
Namaste Lal, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste My- Friend, We Salute The Divinity In
Vaya Con Dios Nuestra Hermana.........
Au Revoir Lieutenant Commandant...........
Sayonara Des, Ita Takimas TeresaSan...........
Spa-Cibo Teresa,Das Vadanya........................
Danke Teresa, Chus Leepschin.........................
Al Salaam Malakam Teresa..................................
Tresa, Ay Shay Penda Uhuru................................

From The Federation and Beyond

Peldor Joy Teresa, May You Always Walk With The-Prophets in the
Jo Lan Tru Teresa.
B'atath Stovo KOr,Q'opla!!!
Always Stand For Truth, Justice and the Star Trek Way.......
May The Force Be With You Always.......
Live Long And Prosper
In The Nexus Of Eternity......
I'm sad ....


December 23, 2002


A Punk Rock Leader Dies
Joe Strummer, a founding member of the Clash, died on Sunday. He was 50.
Filed at 10:07 a.m. ET

LONDON (AP) -- Joe Strummer, lead singer of the legendary British punk band The Clash, has died, his record company said Monday. He was 50.

Strummer, who was the band's guitarist, vocalist and songwriter alongside Mick Jones, died on Sunday. The British Broadcasting Corp. quoted The Clash's video director Don Letts as saying Strummer died of a heart attack.

A statement released by his record label said Strummer ``died peacefully at his home'' in Broomfield in the southern county of Somerset.

It added that Strummer's wife Lucy, two daughters and stepdaughter ``request privacy at this harrowing time.''

Hein van der Rey, managing director of Epitaph Records, which had produced two albums for Strummer's latest band, The Mescaleros, said he learned of the death Monday morning.

``We do not know the circumstances. It is pretty devastating news,'' he said.

He said Strummer, who was born John Mellor, had been working on a third album with The Mescaleros.

Strummer's death was announced on his official Web site. ``Joe Strummer died yesterday,'' said the simple statement. ``Our condolences to Luce and the kids, family and friends.''

Strummer was born in Ankara, Turkey, the son of a British diplomat.

``The Clash'' were known for injecting left wing politics into punk. Their album ``London Calling'' was named the best album of the 1980s by Rolling Stone magazine, despite being released in 1979.

Between 1977 and 1982 Strummer and Jones composed, performed and recorded dozens of songs, using musical ideas from reggae and rockabilly as well as punk. With Jones's crisp guitar playing and Strummer's staccato, Cockney voice, the band, which also included Keith Levene, Paul Simonon, Terry Chimes Nicky ``Topper'' Headon, was hugely popular and gave electrifying stage performances.

``Their music is primitive and aggressive,'' reported the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, ``but the chemistry is combustible. On stage they are a complete audiovisual experience, driven forward on a wave of passion and pure energy.''

In 1980, a fight erupted during a concert in Hamburg, Germany and Strummer was arrested after hitting a fan with his guitar.

In 1982, he disappeared for three weeks, forcing the band to cancel their tour of the United Kingdom. Strummer later explained that he had doubts about his career, so he went to Paris and had been ``living like a bum.''

The band signed with CBS Records for $200,000, and their first album ``Clash,'' was released in the United Kingdom in 1977. The record company considered the album too crude for U.S. release, however. It wasn't until 1979 that a compilation album would be released as ``The Clash'' in America.

The band split in the early 1980s after a dispute between Strummer and Jones, who subsequently formed the group Big Audio Dynamite (BAD).

Strummer recently collaborated with Bono of U2 and Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics to write a song in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Titled ``48864,'' Mandela's number in prison, the song is to be played at a Feb. 2 AIDS benefit concert Mandela is sponsoring at his former prison on Robben Island.

I have GREAT admiration for Joe Stummer (and Mick Jones) they truly made their mark on music and society today.... at a time when music was less 'controlled', less contrived, less manufactured, BS - meaning Before Sylists! These blokes were the original take no prisoners intelligent, driven cos of the love of the music not the Benjamins... it wasn't about Ice or Lexus it was about the music and people ... back in the days when people cared more about their fellow man with socialist and rock against racism. And they really did wasn't a Gruber-PR stunt you know.... Joe was a star, and very very funny bloke ... kind... a listener ...caring...honest..and intelligent. so sad... but now he can join Ian Dury and a few other greats that are up there!
Never got to know this fella but he sounds like my kind of wheeler dealer:
(***nytimes pay per view link removed 5/23/03)
Colin de Land, a New York art dealer whose ambivalence about commercialism was reflected in an art gallery that sometimes resembled an anti-art gallery, if not a work of Conceptual Art, died on Sunday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. He was 47.

The cause was cancer, said Dennis Balk, an artist represented by Mr. de Land's gallery, American Fine Arts.

With little display of exertion or financial solvency, Mr. de Land oversaw galleries in different art neighborhoods for nearly 20 years. He was known for his relaxed work habits and even more relaxed art installations, which did not all open on time, as well as an insistent sartorial style that presaged the "white trash" look. At times he exhibited fictive artists, like John Dogg, whose work was widely assumed, but never confirmed, to have been made by Mr. de Land and the artist Richard Prince.

Mr. de Land was born in Union City, N.J. He attended New York University, studying philosophy and linguistics. He backed into art dealing when, while living on the Lower East Side, he offered to sell a Warhol painting for a neighbor who needed money for drugs.

In the heyday of the East Village art scene in the early 1980's, he had a gallery called Vox Populi in a former butcher shop on East Sixth Street. But he had his greatest impact after he relocated to the relatively quiet, southwest area of SoHo in 1988 and evolved American Fine Arts, a gallery that functioned as an art world laboratory, hangout and refuge.

In largely unrenovated spaces at 40 and then 22 Wooster Street, he gave shows of cutting-edge artists whose interests ranged from large-scale installation to institutional critique to video to abstract painting. They included Cady Noland, Jessica Stockholder, Mariko Mori, Alex Bag, Mr. Balk and Peter Fend. He also showed work by the filmmaker John Waters and by Art Club 2000, a collective formed by students at the School of Visual Arts that included Daniel McDonald, who became the gallery's director in 1993.

Once in the mid-90's when Mr. de Land's fortunes were at an usually low ebb, he held a benefit at and for the gallery. More than 200 artists donated work, including many who had no previous affiliation with him.

Mr. de Land took over the Chelsea space of his wife, Pat Hearn, after she died in 2000, also of cancer. The events he staged there included a raucous, decidedly non-Chelsean performance by the women from a band called the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, led by the performance artist Kembra Pfahler, his companion. In addition to Ms. Pfahler, he is survived by his mother, Aleta de Land Hamada of Union City.

Mr. de Land disdained consistency. He allowed one artist to close the gallery for a month to protest art commercialization, but he also taught a course for art collectors and helped found the New York Armory Show, which fills two piers on the Hudson River every year. His booth in this year's fair, which opens tomorrow, will feature walls that spell out his gallery's initials, A.F.A., mimicking the unaccountably restrained typography of his announcement cards. Confused


[This message was edited by dreambot on 05-23-03 at 09:42 PM.]
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From IndieWire:

"Stan Brakhage, widely considered the most important avant-garde filmmaker, has died. Brakhage made nearly 400 films during his life, starting at age 19. His works, experimental in their form, range from a few seconds to a few hours. Brakhage was also a film professor, author, and lecturer. He died on Sunday (March 8) at age 70 in Victoria, British Columbia after a battle with cancer."

I often sat in on Stan's lectures on film and film history at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 70s, and quite simply, he taught me how to see. Though I haven't heard him lecture in 25 years, I often find his words flooding back.
Nina Simone, whose deep, raspy, forceful voice made her a unique figure in jazz and later helped chronicle the civil rights movement, died Monday at her home in France, according to her personal manager. She was 70.

- I don't know if you ever caught her live, but she defo invented the term DIVA... when i saw her she walked off the stage till the audience went wild with applause then she finally returned... this was after only one number!! Bless 'er! Amazing distinctive voice, a true legend
A true Goddess Diva...I saw her in Wash DC in 1970 and she came out, sat at the piano, looked at the audience and left the stage saying she would return ONLY when there were more black people in the house. Ruler!

Her autobiography is remarkable. Try to find it on and be glad you did.

I'll miss that testy bitch.
I am so wrecked about Nina's death. I caught her twice and kept hoping she may return despite her saying "This is the last time I'll come to New York...Africa is my home, baby" (even though she lived in France!). J'adore her - from shooting kids with a bb gun for trespassing, to reading Michael Jackson for turning "white", she defined "diva". Who else have you seen stop a show in middle of a song to have her assitant come out and fix her headwrap? Long live the high priestess of soul.s
Sandman Sims, 86, Tap Dancer and Fixture at the Apollo, Dies
By DOUGLAS MARTIN (text from The NYtimes accuracy under scrutiny)

Sandman Sims, the celebrated tap dancer and Apollo Theater legend, died on May 20 in the Bronx. He was 86, although he long maintained that his age was "a matter of opinion."

For decades he was "executioner" at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, chasing unpopular acts off the stage on amateur nights, sometimes with a toy gun. He told disconsolate losers about how he himself had to return 10 times before being allowed to finish his act. But then he danced up storm upon storm and won 25 straight contests, a record that led to the four-win limit now in effect.

The man born Howard Sims became famous and won his stage name for dancing on sprinkled sand, his deft feet brushing, scraping, rustling, seeming almost to whisper to the floor. His skill was suggested by his accomplished students Gregory Hines and Ben Vereen, as well as by the boxers to whom Sandman taught footwork, including Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali.

In a review in The New York Times, the dance critic Anna Kisselgoff called him a "virtuoso among virtuosos "” in a class by himself."

When he won a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1984, Mr. Sims was more modest.

"I thought I was making noise all these years," he said. "Now they're calling it culture."

He used the $5,000 fellowship to teach dancing to children in a Harlem parking lot.

"I was born dancing," Mr. Sims said in a 1977 interview with The Times. That happened in Fort Smith, Ark., on Jan. 24, 1917. He grew up in Los Angeles.

Tap dancing was the street dance, the break dancing of his time. He would walk around with his tap shoes in his back pocket.

"People would throw down their shoes in front of you and say, `Challenge!' " he said in an interview with Newsday in 1989. He decided to pursue dancing as a career when he realized that he could not make it as a boxer.

In 1947 his friend Archie Moore, the prizefighter, drove him to New York. There Mr. Sims fell in with hoofers, practitioners of a dance style that characterized the Hoofers Club in Harlem. Unlike the heel-and-toe tap performed by Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, a hoofer's steps use the whole foot.

Dancing came from his boxing days when he would do "some fancy steps" in the rosin box before entering the ring, he told The Los Angeles Times in 1986. People liked the effect, so he tried dancing on sandpaper, but wore out his shoes. He tried gluing sandpaper to his shoes, but wore out the mat. Loose sand in a box was the solution.

He danced at the Apollo for 17 years, but could not support himself that way. He owned a cafe, taught tap and worked as a carpenter and mechanic, among other things. He was a regular on the vaudeville circuit.

Mr. Sims became the Apollo's executioner in the mid-1950's and continued off and on for more than three decades. He was also stage manager of the theater.

He is survived by his wife, Solange; his daughters Mercedes White and Diane Jones; his son, Howard Jr.; 9 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

In 1986 the poet Sandra Hochman wrote a play in verse and dance about Mr. Sims called "The Sand Dancer." Ms. Hochman's language is whimsical: "I wanted my feet to sound like shooting stars," the Sandman character says.

Mr. Sims, who danced in that production, was good with words himself.

"I'm in show business not for a season, but a reason," he said in the Times interview in 1977. "The wine, women and song are gone. I want to just dance my way away at the end." CoolBig Grin Wink


This is a message from Little Annie's List!
1973 - 2003

Nick Bohn my beloved friend and often collaborator passed away this week. Artist, photographer. filmaker, musician, beauty and visionary, his huge talent was only matched
by his huge kind heart. He is so loved, and will be missed, by so many.

There will be a gathering to celebrate Nicky's life and work here in New York on

Sunday June 29th
2pm till 5pm

356 Bowery (btw 3rd and 4th street)

Any VHS tapes of Nicks films or performances, artwork, or photos would be greatly welcome, as are you all, at this event.

May God keep him close, and bless you all.

Bob, who first called us about this, asked me to let people know that this is a sober memorial - no alcohol.
Have been meaning to post about the death of Celia Cruz since Wednesday - what a tremendous spirit!

Was so touched watching the footage of her body in Miami yesterday, where 75,000 turned out to pay their respects. She was reportedly wearing a blonde wig and a white gown..

Tomorrow (Monday) she returns to NY where 100,000 are expected, and Tuesday is her funeral mass at St. Patrick's and burial.

The Queen is Dead - Long Live The Queen!
I was also very touched watching her funeral ceremonies in Miami yesterday.

Whenever I saw her perform, it was like seeing this tremendous spirit, or Loa, celebrating life and living in all its passion. She was a Great Lady and a Great Spirit. I never failed to be moved by her and her performances.

Her Spirit Moves On and is with us still.
The great and sexy Gregory Hines has died of cancer at the young age of 57. Just goes to show you never know when your time is up. I loved him in "Waiting to Exhale".


By Tom Molloy
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 10) - Tony Award winner Gregory Hines, the tap-dancing actor who started on Broadway and in movies including ``White Nights'' and ``Running Scared,'' has died, his publicist says. He was 57.

Hines died Saturday in Los Angeles of cancer, publicist Allen Eichorn said.

The dancer, among the best in his generation, won a 1993 Tony for the musical ``Jelly's Last Jam.''

Hines became internationally known as part of a jazz tap due with his brother, Maurice, and the two danced together in the musical revue ``Eubie!'' in 1978. The brothers later performed together in Broadway's ``Sophisticated Ladies'' and on film in 1984's ``The Cotton Club.''
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>thought this needed to be added to the sector<

from the archival crypts @nytimes:

Edith Bouvier Beale, 84, 'Little Edie,' Dies

Edith Bouvier Beale, once a successful model and aspiring actress who later lived a gothic life in Grey Gardens, a dilapidated 28-room house in East Hampton, N.Y., with her mother and dozens of cats, raccoons and opossums, was found dead in her small apartment in Bal Harbour, Fla., on Jan. 14. She was 84.

Her nephew, Bouvier Beale, said the Dade County coroner attributed the death to a heart attack or stroke resulting from arteriosclerosis. Her cousin, John H. Davis, said she appeared to have been dead for five days.

The two Beale women, an aunt and a cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, became famous when their peculiar living situation was shown in the documentary film ''Grey Gardens,'' made by Albert and David Maysles in 1975. The once-elegant grounds were a tangled jungle; 25 rooms were unused, and the fleas were so thick that the filmmakers wore flea collars around their ankles during the filming.

At one point in the film, Ms. Beale's mother, who had the same name (they were publicly known as Big Edie and Little Edie), laughs when a cat relieves itself behind a youthful portrait of her propped against a bedroom wall.

But the loving but embittered relationship between the two women is perhaps the most compelling theme of the film. In it, the daughter has returned to care for her mother, and repeatedly suggests that life has passed her by as a result. The mother's manner is forcefully controlling.

''You've had enough fun in your life,'' she tells her daughter, who never stops protesting that she wants to move to New York or Paris.

As young Edie empties a box of cat biscuits for the raccoons in the attic, she says, ''I've been a subterranean prisoner here for 20 years.''

The film drew both rave reviews and hard questions about the invasion of privacy inherent in the Maysleses' trademark technique of using a hand-held camera to capture lives uncomfortably close up. It also provoked comparisons to the memory plays of Tennessee Williams.

''It's very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present, awfully difficult,'' Little Edie laments in the film.

A startling side effect of the movie has been the continuing interest of the fashion world in the costumes she is shown wearing, including a contrived skirt held over her ample thighs by a pin. She said the skirt could double as a cape.

Italian Vogue and Harper's Bazaar have done photographic layouts of fashions inspired by the movie. Calvin Klein was a fan of the film, and Greta Garbo was said to have been.

Edith Bouvier Beale was born in Manhattan on Nov. 7, 1917. She was the eldest of the 10 grandchildren of John Vernou Bouvier Jr., who spent summers at the family estate in East Hampton, Lasata. Another of the grandchildren was Jacqueline Bouvier, the future first lady.

Mr. Davis, another grandchild and author of ''Bouviers: Portrait of an American Family'' (Farrar, Straus, 1969), said Edie was the family beauty, ''surpassing even the dark charm of Jacqueline.''

Her father was Phelan Beale, a Wall Street lawyer, who raised three children at Grey Gardens on Lily Pond Lane. Her two brothers are dead, and she left no immediate survivors.

The parents' marriage ended in divorce, and Mr. Beale's second wife inherited his estate. Edith, the mother, also incurred the wrath of her father, Major Bouvier, by showing up at the wedding of her son dressed like an opera star, just as the ceremony ended. Two days later, her father cut her out of his will.

She eventually received a $65,000 trust fund, and retained the house her husband gave her in 1923.

Ms. Beale lived a gilded life as a youth. In 1936, The New York Times reported on her debut, at which she wore a gown of white net appliquéd in silver and a wreath of gardenias in her hair.

Starting at 17, she began a successful career as a model. She felt that she was on the verge of a big break into films in 1952, when she was 35. She said she had offers from MGM and Paramount, and that her dance career was set to take off. She also said that wealthy men like Howard Hughes and J. Paul Getty had asked her to marry them.

''She had a very, very fertile imagination,'' Mr. Davis cautioned.

Whether on the verge of success or not, she was called home to Grey Gardens by her mother, who said she was ill and needed her.

Over the years, things deteriorated. On Oct. 22, 1971, inspectors from the Suffolk County Health Department raided the house and discovered that it violated every known building regulation. In the dining room, they found a five-foot mountain of empty cans; in the upstairs bedrooms, they saw human waste.

The story became a national scandal. Health Department officials said they would evict the women unless the house was cleaned. Mrs. Onassis came to the rescue, paying for a cleanup that included 40 gallons of germicide.

Lee Radziwill, sister of Mrs. Onassis, introduced the Maysleses to her relatives as part of a project she had proposed to film the early years of her and her sister's lives. Though that idea was abandoned, the filmmakers returned to the Beales to suggest a film about them.

The elder Edith Beale died in 1977. Her daughter flirted briefly with a singing career and stayed in Grey Gardens for two years before selling it.

Ms. Beale spent more and more of her time in Florida, where she swam every day. She lived off her small savings.

She had not owned a cat in five years.

Definitely high on my list of genius American postwar songwriters, Warren Zevon succumbed to cancer on Sunday at age 56.
Primarily a pianist, he idolized Stravinsky and Aaron Copeland. His best known songs include "Poor, Pitiful Me," and "The Werewolves Of London." Hard living and hard drinking, and often ignored by the music industry, he was also incredibly prolific and left an enormous catalogue of work, including the amazing, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead."
RIP, Warren.
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I am only familiar with Warren Zevon's "Excitable Boy" album, which included "Werewolves of London," "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," and others. But today when I was thinking about him, I thought about another track from that album entitled "Veracruz." It is perhaps a testament to Zevon's adherance to truth and decency that he wrote and included this song about Woodrow Wilsons' naval bombardment, invasion and occupation of this Mexican city on the Gulf Coast, in which 200 Mexican civilians were killed. Another wretched chapter in American foreign policy.

I don't know why, but later these lyrics to Werewolves of London came to me:" 'Don't mess with him, he'll tear your lungs out Jim.' "Huh! I'd like to meet his taylor.' " Strange and ferociously humorous.
I'll miss him.
From our friends at the Clit Club, word of a memorial service for beloved MOTHER doorperson Don Boyle. Don passed away a few weeks ago after a long and courageous fight with The Crisis That Is Not Over.


From: Julie Tolentino

> Hello and greetings to all...
> Hope this finds everyone well.
> Judy/Global 33 and I are working out the logistics + overall organizing for Don's memorial.

Please save the date: SUNDAY SEPT 28th approx 5pm til++ at Global 33

> 1. will you attend?
> 2. please let us know if you want to speak, be involved in the planning,
> have any ideas etc
> 3. please let others know about the date and time - and let us know who you
> may be expecting.

John Ritter is dead at 55. As with the recent death of Gregory Hines, I was shocked to hear about this one. A versatile and funny talent.


TV Star John Ritter, 54, Dies of Heart Problem
By Ryan Pearson
The Associated Press
Friday, September 12, 2003; 8:47 AM

LOS ANGELES - John Ritter, whose portrayal of the bumbling but lovable Jack Tripper helped make the madcap comedy series "Three's Company" a smash hit in the 1970s, died of a heart problem after falling ill on the set of his new television sit-com. He was 54.

Ritter became ill Thursday while working on ABC's "8 Simple Rules ... For Dating My Teenage Daughter," the hit show that became the actor's big television comeback, said Susan Wilcox, his assistant of 22 years.

The cause of his death was a dissection of the aorta, the result of an unrecognized flaw in his heart, said his publicist, Lisa Kasteler. He died at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday.

Ritter, a Southern California native who would have turned 55 on Wednesday, came to prominence for his role in "Three's Company" and had appeared in more than 25 television movies, a number of films and on Broadway.

He made his successful return to sitcom acting last year with "8 Simple Rules." The show was scheduled to begin its second season Sept. 23.

At the Burbank hospital where he died, Ritter was accompanied by producers and co-workers, his wife, Amy Yasbeck, and 23-year-old son Jason, Wilcox said. He is survived by three other children.

"It's just stunning, unbelievable," said Wilcox. "Everybody loved John Ritter. Everybody loved working with him. ... Whatever set he was working on, he made it a very fun place."

ABC released a statement saying: "All of us at ABC, Touchstone Television and The Walt Disney Company are shocked and heartbroken at the terrible news of John's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children at this very difficult time."

Ritter was the youngest son of Western film star and country musician Tex Ritter and actress Dorothy Fay. He graduated from Hollywood High School and earned a degree in drama from the University of Southern California.

"I was the class clown, but I was also student body president in high school," he told The Associated Press in a 1992 interview. "I had my serious side - I idolized Bobby Kennedy, he was my role model. But so was Jerry Lewis."

Ritter's first steady job was his role as a minister in television's "The Waltons."

With "Three's Company," his career took off. His performances included 1996's Oscar-winning drama "Sling Blade" and a Broadway run in Neil Simon's "The Dinner Party." He received an Emmy and other awards for his "Three's Company" role and was honored by the Los Angeles Music Center in June with a lifetime achievement award.

"Three's Company," about a bachelor sharing an apartment with two attractive women, Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt, was considered racy during its run from 1977 to 1984. And Ritter worried about falling into a typecasting trap after the show ended.

"I would get scripts about 'a young swinging bachelor on the make,' and I said 'No, I've done that,'" he told the AP in the 1992 interview. "Or they'd say, 'You're living alone and ...'

"What I was looking for in my time off was something a little bit different, a little serious, or funny in a different way."

Ritter described his time on the show as "an education" in quick-study acting.

"When the curtain went up, no matter how long you've studied or haven't studied at all, you had to answer to the audience. We didn't do retakes. If there was a (microphone) boom in the shot, so be it," he said.

Ritter later starred in the television series "Hooperman" and the early 1990s political comedy "Hearts Afire." He received two Emmy nominations for his PBS role as the voice of "Clifford the Big Red Dog" on the animated series.

His TV movie appearances included "Unnatural Causes," Stephen King's "It" and "Chance of a Lifetime."

Ritter won popularity among independent film directors in recent years and appeared in films including "Sling Blade" in 1996 and "Tadpole" in 2002, as well as the new feature "Manhood." He appears alongside Billy Bob Thornton in the scheduled November release from Miramax "Bad Santa."

He was married from 1977 to 1996 to Nancy Morgan, the mother of his three oldest children, Jason, Carly and Tyler. He married actress Yasbeck in 1999, the mother of Stella.


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Johnny Cash, one of country music's most iconic figures, has died at the age of 71.

Cash died at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, "due to complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure", said Lou Robin, his manager.

The announcement shocked fans, who had been relieved to hear that Cash had been released from hospital on Tuesday after three weeks of treatment for an inflammation of the pancreas.

Although Cash had been hospitalised frequently over the past several years with pneumonia and other respiratory ailments, Mr Robin had described his recent treatment as an "isolated incident".

Arkansas-born Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music. With his deep resonant baritone and spare, percussive guitar, he had a basic, distinctive sound which blended country, folk and rock and roll.

Indeed, starting out in the 1950s following a spell in the US Air Force during the Korean War, Cash's career coincided with the birth of rock and roll and his rebellious attitude and direct self-taught approach to music shared a lot of similarities with that medium, winning him many admirers from the rock arena, ranging from Bob Dylan in the 1960s to U2 in the 1990s.

Cash stood out from his country peers. He made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1957, appearing all in black while other performers were decked out in flamboyant, rhinestone-studded outfits, earning him the nickname "The Man In Black".

During the 1950s and 1960s Cash became one of country music's biggest stars, scoring well over 100 hit singles, including "Walk the line" and "Don't take your guns to town".

But his success was frequently marred with excess as drinking bouts and an addiction to amphetamines encroached on his music-making. Following occasional brushes with the law, once for starting a forest fire, Cash was arrested in 1965 for attempting to smuggle amphetamines into the US in his guitar case.

Banned from the Opry and divorced by his first wife, Cash's salvation arrived in the guise of country singer June Carter, who had previously written one of his biggest hits "Ring of Fire".

With Carter's help he embraced fundamentalist christianity, shook his addictions and recorded some of his most popular records, including two sets recorded live in front of prisoners at Folsom and San Quentin and his only top ten pop hit, "A boy called Sue". Between 1969 and 1971 he hosted his own television show.

Meanwhile, Cash had married Carter after he proposed live on stage. Their marriage was to last until Carter's death at 73 in May this year.

Through the 1970s and 1980s Cash's frequency on the country charts gradually declined, although his enormous influence was reflected by becoming the youngest inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980.

Cash became something of a cult figure in the 1990s and 2000s as influential rock artists such as Bono and Nick Cave cited him as a major inspiration. His recent series of "American" albums had drawn a strong critical reception. Cash was set to complete a new album, tentatively entitled "American V", next week.
while cleaning my kitties food bowls this morning I was listening to the BBC radio news when Johnny Cash's bio was being read, and I thought right away that this can only mean one thing. It wasn't until the end of the long bio that the reader said that Johnny had died this morning, at which point I cried like a baby.

Johnny was holding June Carter Cash's hands as she slipped away last May, and as he felt her leave this earth he cried out to God to "Take me with her." His plea has been heard just 3 months later.
Suave and debonair rocker Robert Palmer has died.

Robert Palmer, Rock Singer, Dies at Age 54
Published: September 26, 2003
Filed at 8:47 a.m. ET

LONDON (AP) -- Rock singer Robert Palmer, known for his sharp suits and hits including ``Addicted to Love,'' died Friday in Paris of a heart attack, his manager said. He was 54.

Palmer was on a two-day break in Paris following a television recording session in Britain, his manager Mick Carter said from the French capital.

In the 1980s, Palmer became a superstar with singles which also included ``Simply Irresistible'' -- accompanied by slick videos featuring the smartly dressed Palmer with a back-up band of attractive women, all in black outfits and glossy makeup.

A side project, Power Station, formed in 1985 with John Taylor and Andy Taylor of '80s supergroup Duran Duran, scored three U.S. Top 10 hits, including ``Communication'' and ``Get it On.''

The son of a British naval officer, Palmer was a member of several British rock bands before he hit the big time as a solo artist. He had lived in Switzerland for the past 16 years.

Known for his GQ sense of style, Palmer was named best dressed male artist by Rolling Stone in 1990.
The ``Addicted to Love'' video, with its miniskirted models strumming guitars as Palmer sang, became one of MTV's most-played clips, and sparked protests from some feminists.

``I'm not going to attach inappropriate significance to it because at the time it meant nothing. It's just happened to become an iconic look,'' Palmer once said of the video.

He had his first hit album and single, ``Sneakin' Sally through the Alley,'' in 1974. In his 20s, Palmer worked with a number of small-time bands including Dada, Vinegar Joe, and the Alan Bown Band, occasionally appearing in opening acts for big draw including The Who and Jimi Hendrix.

Palmer once confessed that he was not attracted to the excesses of rock 'n' roll stardom.

``I loved the music, but the excesses of rock 'n' roll never really appealed to me at all,'' he said. ``I couldn't see the point of getting up in front of a lot of people when you weren't in control of your wits.''

He was noted for dressing up and being somewhat restrained. ``I don't want to be heavy,'' he said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

``I can't think of another attitude to have toward an audience than a hopeful and a positive one. And if that includes such unfashionable things as sentimentality, well, I can afford it.''


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I have a lil Robert Palmer tale.... nothing much but.... When i was the talent producer for this Brit Tv show (Sky Tv Jameson Tonight)... I booked him... it was just apres the big chart hits... he arrived on his own with no flunkies! He was early so i took him to a bar accross the street from the theatre in Londons' Soho where we filmed ... he was such a charmer ... had a major crush on him right away.. very funny in a dry self depreciating way... He was from Yorkshire and after a few drinks had a stronger accent and there was me with my Liverpool accent so that whole evening we camped up our regional accents "ee by gum our jane-lass" et al... that night he left me a cassette of the stuff he was doing with Duran Duran said I could take it home and listen as long as I promised not to share it... how cool that he was still trusting and open at that height of fame. A real nice bloke, a real talent.. sad that he has left this earth, so young. "Robert,yer were alright, our kid!" (to be read in yorkshire accent)
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I can't believe he's gone to his grave and I'm still owing him big time. Desperation never fails to iluminate.

George Plimpton, Urbane and Witty Writer, Dies at 76

Published: September 26, 2003
copy from NYTimes Web obit page

Associated Press
George Plimpton, the self-deprecating author of "Paper Lion" and a patron to Philip Roth and Jack Kerouac has died. He was 76.

George Plimpton, the New York aristocrat and literary journalist whose exploits in editing and writing seesawed between belles lettres and the witty accounts he wrote of his various madcap attempts to slip into other people's high-profile careers, died yesterday at his home in Manhattan. He was 76.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but Mr. Plimpton's agent, Timothy Seldes, said it was most likely a heart attack.

Mr. Plimpton, a lanky, urbane man possessed of boundless energy and perpetual bonhomie, became, in 1953, the first and only editor of The Paris Review. A ubiquitous presence at book parties and other gala social events, he was tireless in his commitment to the serious, contemporary fiction the magazine publishes.

Easily identifiable in later years by his thatch of silver hair and always by his cheery, lockjaw delivery, Mr. Plimpton was a familiar figure ranging above other guests at the restaurants, saloons and weekend destinations where blue-blood New York overlapped with the New York of the famous and the creative.

All of this contributed to the charm of reading about Mr. Plimpton's frequently hapless adventures "” as "professional" athlete, stand-up comedian, movie bad guy or circus performer "” which he chronicled in witty, elegant prose in nearly three dozen books.

As a boxer, he had his nose bloodied by Archie Moore at Stillman's Gym in 1959. As a pitcher he became utterly exhausted and couldn't finish an exhibition against 16 stars from the National and American Leagues (though he managed to get Willie Mays to pop up). And as a "professional" third-string quarterback, he lost roughly 30 yards during a scrimmage with the Detroit Lions in 1963.

He also tried his hand at tennis (Pancho Gonzalez beat him easily), bridge (Oswald Jacoby outmaneuvered him) and golf. With his handicap of 18, he lost badly to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

In a brief stint as a goaltender for the Boston Bruins, he made the mistake of catching a puck in his gloved hand, and it caused a nasty gash in his pinkie. He failed as an aerialist when he tried out for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus. As a symphonist, he wangled a temporary percussionist's job with the New York Philharmonic. He was assigned to play sleigh bells, triangle, bass drum and gong, the latter of which he struck so hard during a Tchaikovsky chestnut that Leonard Bernstein, who was trying to conduct the piece, burst into applause.

That was Mr. Plimpton, the popular commercial writer. His alter ego was as the unpaid editor of The Paris Review, an enduring low-circulation journal, which was founded in 1952 by Peter Mathiesen and Harold L. Humes, who asked him to be the editor. He did that from 1953 onward, when publication began, and worked at it for the rest of his life. The magazine's fame was derived from its publication of quality fiction by initially little-known writers, among them the young Terry Southern and Philip Roth, and for its interviews with well-known writers, some of whom, like Ernest Hemingway, Mr. Plimpton interviewed personally.

As a "participatory journalist," Mr. Plimpton believed that it was not enough for writers of nonfiction to simply observe; they needed to immerse themselves in whatever they were covering to understand fully what was involved. For example, he believed that football huddles and conversations on the bench constituted a "secret world, and if you're a voyeur, you want to be down there, getting it firsthand."

And he didn't always fall on his face.

One night in 1997 (too old by then to engage in strenuous contact sports) he showed up at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, which was then having its amateur night and announced he was an amateur. When they asked him what he was going to play, he replied, "the piano." He only knew "Tea for Two" and a few other tunes but played his own composition, a rambling improvisation he called "Opus No. 1." The audience adored him and the charmed judges gave him second prize.

In 1983, he scored another success when he volunteered to help the Grucci family plan and execute a fireworks display to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge. They accepted his offer and he did his job without destroying himself or any of the Gruccis. For a time, he was regarded as New York City's fireworks commissioner, a highly unofficial title with no connection to the city government. In 1984, he wrote a book on his love of the rocket's red glare, "Fireworks."

He was given to practical jokes. While he was a writer for Sports Illustrated, he invented a pitcher he called Sidd Finch, who was described as a Buddhist with a 168-mile-an-hour fastball. This unlikely individual became the centerpiece of his 1987 novel, "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch."

Mr. Plimpton was first married to Freddy Medora Espy, a photographer's assistant, in 1968. They had two children "” Medora Ames amd Taylor Ames. Their marriage ended in 1988. In 1991 he married Sarah Whitehead Dudley, 26 years his junior. They had twin girls, Laura and Olivia.

George Ames Plimpton was born in New York on March 18, 1927, the son of Francis T. Plimpton, a successful corporate lawyer who became the American ambassador to the United Nations. His mother was the former Pauline Ames. His grandfather, George A. Plimpton, had been a publisher. The family traced its roots in this country to the Mayflower.

He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard and Cambridge. At Harvard, where he studied literature, his education was interrupted in 1945, near the end of World War II. He spent two years in the Army, then returned and received his bachelor's degree in 1950, although he always regarded himself as a member of the class of 1948. He earned a second baccalaureate degree at Cambridge, where also earned a master's in English in 1952.

Mr. Plimpton's career included teaching at Barnard College from 1956 to 1958, editing and writing at Horizon magazine from 1959 to 1961, and at Harper's magazine, where he worked from 1972 to 1981. He also contributed material to Food and Wine magazine in the late 1970's. In the late 1960's, he was seen frequently as a host or guest on several television shows, and still later, he made some commercials for DeBeers diamonds.

He had been inspired as a youth by the exploits of Paul Gallico, an author and celebrated sportswriter for the New York Daily News who believed so much in participatory journalism that he once had a brief encounter with the heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. "What Gallico did was to climb down out of the press box," Mr. Plimpton said, creating "a wonderful description of what it feels like to be knocked about by a champion."

The only problem with Mr. Plimpton's similar match with Archie Moore, set up by Sports Illustrated, was that Mr. Plimpton wept after Mr. Moore bloodied his nose. He explained it was a "sympathetic response."

Many of Mr. Plimpton's books dealt with his adventures, most notably "Out of My League" (baseball, 1961); "Paper Lion" (football, 1966); and "The Bogey Man" (golf, 1968). Ernest Hemingway read "Out of My League" and declared it "beautifully observed and incredibly conceived, his account of a self-imposed ordeal that has the chilling quality of a true nightmare."

"It is the dark side of the moon of Walter Mitty," he added.

The Walter Mitty reference was picked up by several critics over the years, but Mr. Plimpton's exploits really were not analogous to those of Mitty, James Thurber's fictitious daydreamer. Mitty only imagined he was doing all manner of dashing and swashbuckling. Mr. Plimpton wasn't imagining anything; he was doing it.

Not all of Mr. Plimpton's writings dealt with his guises. Among the rest were a children's book in 1955, "The Rabbit's Umbrella." He also wrote "American Journey: The Times of Robert F. Kennedy." He was a friend of the Kennedy family and was with Mr. Kennedy the day he was shot to death in Los Angeles by Sirhan Sirhan. Mr. Plimpton said the assassin "seemed composed and peaceful" after Mr. Kennedy died, "the peaceful eye of the storm."

In 1998, he also wrote an unconventional oral biography of Truman Capote, in which he meshed the techniques of oral history and traditional biography. And in 2002, joined by Terry Quinn, he created "Zelda, Scott and Ernest," a dramatization of the letters that went to and from F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife, Zelda, and Hemingway. It was produced in Paris.

Mr. Plimpton made it into the movies, too. He played a Bedouin extra in "Lawrence of Arabia" in 1961, and in "Rio Lobo" (1970) he played a crook who is shot dead by a heroic, indestructible John Wayne. When the movie version of "Paper Lion" was made in 1968, Mr. Plimpton's part was played by Alan Alda. Mr. Plimpton played a minor role. Of his participation in movies, he used to say that he had been pegged as the Prince of Cameos.

Perhaps Mr. Plimpton's career was best summarized by a cartoon that once appeared in The New Yorker. In it, a patient looks at the surgeon preparing to operate on him and demands, "How do I know you're not George Plimpton?"

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But for a few exceptions, I find the chronciling and passing of lessor knowns way more fascinating then the lives of generic stars of the day.

Harold von Braunhut, Seller of Sea Monkeys, Dies at 77

Published: December 21, 2003

Harold von Braunhut, who used comic book advertisements to sell whimsical mail-order inventions like Amazing Sea Monkeys, tiny shrimp that pop to life when water is added, died on Nov. 28 at his home in Indian Head, Md. He was 77.

His wife, Yolanda, said that he died after a fall but that the exact cause was not known.

Mr. von Braunhut was to quirky inventions what Barnum was to circuses. His X-Ray Specs, which advertisements said allowed wearers to see through flesh and clothing, are still selling after 50 years of guffaws. Hermit crabs as a pet? Thank Mr. von Braunhut for Crazy Crabs.

And yes, perhaps only this verbally snappy holder of 195 patents could have realized that what the world needed was Amazing Hair-Raising Monsters, which allow a child to add water to a card and watch hair grow on the previously bald pate of the monster depicted there.

But Mr. von Braunhut's pièce de résistance was Sea Monkeys "” which come from dried-up lake bottoms, not the sea, and are not monkeys but brine shrimp. His extravagant claims for the crustaceans "” for example, that they come back from the dead and that they can be trained and hypnotized "” are convincing because they are sort of true. (The shrimp do follow light.)

Billions of shrimp have been sold, not to mention a Sea Monkey aphrodisiac and a wrist watch filled with swimming shrimp. There are Web sites for sea monkey fans; CBS briefly had a Sea Monkeys series on Saturday mornings; 400 million of them went into space with John Glenn in 1998; and, for the lazy, a new Sea Monkey video game allows a player to "virtually" care for a shrimp colony, lest the animals "virtually" die.

Mr. von Braunhut gravitated toward life's crazier edge, racing motorcycles as the Green Hornet and managing the career of a man who dived from 40 feet into a kiddie pool filled with 12 inches of water. He sold invisible goldfish by guaranteeing that owners would never see them.

In a radically different sphere, Mr. von Braunhut's hard right-wing beliefs drew notice. According to a 1996 Anti-Defamation League report, he belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations.

The Washington Post in 1988 published an article on him and his affiliations, adding that his relatives said he was Jewish. He himself repeatedly refused to discuss his beliefs on race or his own religious background with journalists, and in an interview on Thursday his wife declined to comment on the subject.

Harold Nathan Braunhut was born in Memphis on March 31, 1926, and grew up in New York City, where he lived until the mid-1980's, when he moved to Maryland and set up a wildlife conservation area.

He may have first noticed brine shrimp being sold in a pet store as fish food, or perhaps in a fisherman's bucket of live bait. In either case, the event occurred in 1957, by which time he had changed his name.

He learned that brine shrimp were a quirk of nature, surviving for years in suspended animation. In this state, they are powderlike and easily packaged. In 1960, he began advertising "Instant Life" in comic books.

In 1964 the animals became Sea Monkeys, because of their long tails. There were breeding improvements, and an ABC News commentator suggested in 1968 that the larger shrimp, now guaranteed to live two years, might be called sea apes.

The Los Angeles Times reported in 2000 that two distributors had canceled their licenses for Sea Monkeys because of discomfort about Mr. von Braunhut's views. The license is currently owned by Educational Insights of Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

George C. Artamian, president of the Sea Monkeys division of Educational Insights, said the earlier companies dropped the Sea Monkey license for business reasons, not the least being that Mr. von Braunhut was "not easy to work with." He said that when his company bought the license in 1995, Mr. von Braunhut promised to stop his public political activities, and that he believes Mr. von Braunhut did so.

Mr. von Braunhut was formerly married to Charlotte Braunhut of New York. He is survived by his wife, Yolanda Signorelli-von Braunhut; a son, Jonathan; a daughter, Jeanette LaMothe; and a brother, Gene.

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