Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuli Kupferberg - Poet, musician and all-around political provocateur - dies at 86.

Tuli Kupferberg, one of the founders of the 1960's anti-war band the Fugs, who LA Times music critic Randy Lewis calls "A songwriter, poet, author, cartoonist and all-around sociopolitical provocateur" died yesterday (Monday). Village Voice music critic Robert Cristagau dubbed the Fugs: "the Lower East Side's first true underground band." His Beat comrade Alan Ginsburg had already immortalized Kupferberg in Howl as "the one who “jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown." Just for the record it was actually the Manhattan Bridge, but Ginsburg's entitled to some poetic license. Kupferberg was also also mentioned in the prose poem "Memorial Day 1971" by Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman. Tuli was born Naftali.

Rarely do we lose two such significant counter-culture icons in one week as Harvey Peckar and Tuli Kupferberg. We are poorer for their passing.

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