Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kill, Kill, Kill For Peace

Naftali Kupferberg was born in Brooklyn on September 28, 1923. In the early 1950's he lept off of the Manhattan Bridge, an event immortalized in Alan Ginsberg's epic poem, Howl.
In Ginsberg'ss poem, he says it was the Brooklyn Bridge, but in the words of Kupferberg, "When I realized I wasn't dead, I went home, took a bath and went to bed. Nobody even noticed."
In 1966, I heard the Fugs first record. It was in a basement in Detroit and my friend had gotten it away from his brother who was home from college. Of course, we hardly realized what we were hearing. A bunch of maniacs who could barely play their instruments, howling really stupid sounding poetry over a crude beat...but the songs became classics to our 16 year old ears...We sang the nihilistic chant of Nothing! and of course, we loved Boobs A Lot.....
The Fugs were the collaboration of Ed Sanders and Tuli (Naftali) Kupferberg. Proto Punk, Beat Poets who created a new kind of performance art. Tuli was in his 40's at the time, a pacifist anarchist cartoonist, poet and publisher, whose 1958 magazine, Birth, featured Ginsberg, Leroi Jones and the beat notables of the 50's. They were already the nucleus of the Fertile Lower East Side Arts Community that lasted almost 50 years.
After the Fugs, Kupferberg kept performing and writing and inspiring generations of neo beats and punks. These guys were never "Hippies".
Indeed in a recent interview, Ed Saunders stated that he and Kupferberg were actually working on another Fugs record. The last performance of "The Fugs" was in 2004.
Recently, Tuli suffered from a series of heart attacks and finally died yesterday. He was 84 years old.

"When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge." - Tuli Kupferberg (1923-2010)


mud_rake said...

Another episode in 'educating mudrake' in the world of pop culture. Thank you for this most interesting lesson.

Laci the Chinese Crested said...

oh well, at least we still have Jim Sanders (or so I hope).

I hgave to admit that I liked his poem about the little atom bom who wanted to be a bullet. "WHy do you want to be a bullet" asked all the big atom bombs?

"Because I miss the personal touch".

Laci the Chinese Crested said...

Oh yeah
"you gotta like boobs a lot."

Laci the Chinese Crested said...

Sorry, that should have been Ed Sanders.

microdot said...

Great story...the little atom bomb whpo wanted to be a bullet.
There's a lot of Tuli on Youtube rambling...reciting poetry and telling jokes.
I always remember one of Aline Kominsky-Crumbs autobio comics about her troubled teen years as The Bunch...she escapes from her Long Island Levitt Town ghetto and visits the Village, sees the Fugs, gets pickred by Kupfrberg and catches the crabs.