Notes from the Editorial Office

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Happy monday,

Just a quick catch-up on Arthur doings.

We’ve got some new comics up on the blog, including an outta-nowhere submission from cartoonist Owen Cook remembering the great Dickie Peterson, bassist-vocalist of Blue Cheer, who R.I.P.’d on October 15. For an appreciation-in-text, have a good gander at Julian Cope’s just-posted “The Godlike Genius of Blue Cheer”, with its attendant Cheer stream. That’ll do ya.

“Weedeater” columnist Nance Klehm talks to folks who’ve been communicating with plants recently. ‘Nuff said.

Speaking of plant/human communication… Arthur proudly presents, or welcomes, or something, the Emerald Triangle Tour ’09 band of troubadours traveling around California this week celebrating the annual marijuana harvest. Catch the four chaps—Farmer Dave Scher, Andy Cabic (Vetiver), Jonathan Wilson and Johnathan Rice—playing their own and each other’s songs this week at a roadhouse near you.

Byron Coley and Thurston Moore claim they are prepping another Bull Tongue Top Ten, after their return to the electrofold just two weeks ago. Stay on your toes, ladies and gents.

“Do the Math” columnist Dave Reeves will be back with Part IV of his controversial “Defend Brooklyn” expose after he’s done with his latest gypsy roaming. Commentability has been restored to this series of posts, against our better judgment. I guess we’re hoping against hope that somebody will post something interesting in the Comments section, which does occasionally happen—see reader J. Reed clueing us in to his newly posted Lionel Ziprin videos

We’re posting Chapters 5-8 of Vanessa Veselka’s incendiary new novel Zazen, this week, one a day from Monday to Thursday. Because it sucks to read longer texts on the internet, we’re offering each chapter as a downloadable, fully printable PDF. Print em out, you’ve got a book.

One more thing: yeah I know it says on the FAQ that Arthur is returning as a print magazine this fall ’09 but that ain’t happening, not with the economy the way it is. We don’t have the $$$ to start this baby up again and lose money month after month while we wait for things to “return”—especially when the ability to pay minimal bills via advertising and merch revenue may never return (not that it was ever enuff in the first place—oy vey!). But, hope springs eternal. Like, hope that people will buy ad space, or purchase a DVD or a CD or a back issue or a poster at the Arthur Store, or perhaps even tax-deductibly donate whatever they can spare. That’ll help keep Arthur in motion, on one plane or another…

Gratefully,
Jay

LIONEL ZIPRIN: A remembrance by David Katznelson

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David Katznelson (left) with Lionel Ziprin (date unknown)

LIONEL ZIPRIN
A remembrance by David Katznelson

On the morning of Sunday March 15, 2009 Lionel Ziprin passed away. By nightfall, his coffin was riding on a plane to Israel, to be buried in Tsfad alongside his mother, grandmother and grandfather, the great Rabbi Naftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia. Tsfad was the home of the mystics, those Jewish spiritualists who dedicated their lives to the study of Kabbalah—the esoteric Jewish texts that were untouchable by most. The Abulafia family was one of the most famous families of Kabbalists.

I originally met Lionel because of his grandfather, a rabbi whose singing was recorded in the ’50s by pioneering musicologist Harry Smith (student of Alan Lomax and creator of the definitive collection of American folk music), because there were sacred melodies—bridging the gap of hundreds of years of cantorial practices—that were known best by him. I had read about Rabbi Abulafia’s recordings in an article by John Kalish, and contacted Lionel to license them for a non-profit Jewish reissue label I co-founded, The Idelsohn Society. Many before us had already tried to convince Lionel to allow the recordings to be released to the public; the recordings had become legendary for the very reason that Lionel refused all offers, other than allowing a single CD to be released, containing short bits of only a few masterpieces.

Four years ago my friend Roger Bennett and I started our trips down to Lionel’s apartment on the Lower East Side, situated in an island of olde Jewish culture that once flourished throughout the neighborhood. What started as skeptical conversations morphed into strange, deep discussions about Judaism, metaphysics, the otherworlds, and the angels that exist on this one.

Lionel was a born-again Hasidic Jew whose past was anchored in the artistic movements of the ’50s and ’60s. As a child he was plagued by epilepsy and rheumatic fever after which he had visions, seeing the bible come to life in his grandfather’s house. Later, he would translate these visions, along with his thoughts that came from them and his external worldly experiences, into his poetry. Ziprin as bohemian walked with the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie “Bird” Parker, Allen Ginsberg, Bruce Conner, and SF poet laureate Jack Hirschman to name a few; his apartment was a destination for the greatest underground artists of his time. He married a woman named Johanna, so famous for her beauty that her vision was immortalized by Bob Dylan in song. The couple had four children.

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