R.I.P.: Steve Ditko

End of a champ who was talking to me from the earliest years on the corner bookstore in Livingston MT, where I was so captivated by new comics that one day I could not stop reading them and for the first time in ages peed my pants and made a pool on the floor that the the clerk mopped up by sticking a towel around my feet. Ditko would understand the compulsion.

I was very glad he was around to see the Dr. Strange movie. It was psychedelic drugs on the page before I had taken any psychedelic drugs. But it was key to understanding how you could have the further worlds without the chemicals.

I’m sure the Doctor is showing him around the early rooms right now.

R.I.P.: Glenn Branca

The Racket Rocker has left the building.

I had to admit I didn’t play him as often as I expected to — not least because almost anybody else in the room would go batshit within 30 seconds when I did. I treasure my vintage Theoretical Girls 45. I heartily endorse Lesson No. 1 for newcomers and for established fans, I must note that I played this record as often as any:

Poetry falling up and downstairs.

R.I.P.: Charles Neville

The Horn Man is gone. The Wild Tchoupitoulas changed my life in 1976 — I could not stop spinning it and I suddenly understood NOLA as a laboratory of modern music, not an oldies museum. My review of Yellow Moon in 1989 was one of the last I did for the Boston Phoenix and I thought it came out durn near perfect. Of course, Charles is a big star on that album. Think I’ll dig it out of the stacks and play it right now.

R.I.P. Milos Foreman

I agree with the nay-sayers about Cuckoo’s Nest in that Nicholson is terrible in the top-hero role (unfortunately, James Dean was dead) and agree with the plus-note people that Louise Fletcher redeems the foul, dated sexism of the concept of Nurse Rached. (Kidz, it was this: stuffy, norm-obsessed, perfectly domesticated women were holding freed spirits and wild men back. Like they had that power.)

So I gotta get on the bus again.

But gotta admit those were interesting times.


David Bonetti, Part Four

Since David moved back to Boston, I most regularly encountered him at the Farmers’ Market (a classy one) that happened about a block from his place. We ran into each other once, maybe twice, a season ( he was able to come earlier than I was). But it would always be a highlight of all my visits because David would aesthetically evaluate the displays, the offerings, the sellers, the crowd, and whatever art he had seen recently, with an emphasis on plugs for what was out there. David was by far the finest part of the harvest those days, never to happen again.

David Bonetti, Part Three

One of David’s superb characteristics is that he made sure if you hung out with him you would learn art information that was exciting and important to you. During that same St. Louis visit, he ensured we went to what he called the most essential exhibit in the city for me. Turned out to be a small gallery featuring a bunch of early drawings by Jim Nutt (one of the most perfect artist names, ever) including most of the items on this page.

I was captivated and transported. I knew nothing of Nutt (love the phrases that happen spontaneously) barely more about The Hairy Who than they had a super-cool name. Now we’ve got three books about Nutt and the Hairys and a lot more savvy about a major part of early Pop Surrealism. Thanks to David.