Darcus Howe obituary

Writer and activist who was out­spo­ken in pro­mot­ing black self-deter­mi­na­tion

Dar­cus Howe was influ­enced by the Black Pow­er move­ment in the US and Caribbean. Pho­to­graph: Jane Bown for the Guardian

The broad­cast­er and writer Dar­cus Howe, who has died aged 74, once described him­self as hav­ing come from Trinidad on a “civil­is­ing mis­sion”, to teach Britons to live in a har­mo­nious and diverse soci­ety. His aims were rad­i­cal, and he brought them into the main­stream by artic­u­lat­ing fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples in a strik­ing­ly out­spo­ken way.

After his ini­tial expe­ri­ence of racial ten­sion in Britain at the start of the 1960s, Howe became active in the Black Pow­er move­ment in the US and the Caribbean. In August 1970, hav­ing returned to Lon­don, he organ­ised, with Althea Jones-Lecointe and the British Black Pan­thers, a cam­paign in defence of the Man­grove restau­rant. Estab­lished and run by Frank Crichlow, the Man­grove was a small piece of decolonised ter­ri­to­ry in Not­ting Hill, west Lon­don. When police attempt­ed to close it, Howe came to his friend’s aid, organ­is­ing a march. Entire­ly peace­ful until the police inter­vened in over­whelm­ing num­bers, it led to a spon­ta­neous melee, the melee to arrests, and the arrests to the biggest Black Pow­er tri­al in British his­to­ry.

For 55 days Howe and Jones-Lecointe led the defence of the Man­grove nine – them­selves, Crichlow and six oth­ers – from the dock of the Old Bai­ley. Howe demand­ed an all-black jury, a claim he root­ed in the Magna Car­ta. The judge reject­ed this, but the nine had stamped their author­i­ty on the case.

Howe sub­ject­ed the pros­e­cu­tion to foren­sic scruti­ny. Against the com­bined forces of Spe­cial Branch, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan police, the judi­cia­ry and the Home Office, the nine pre­vailed, not only win­ning their acquit­tal on charges includ­ing incite­ment to riot, but forc­ing the first judi­cial acknowl­edg­ment that there was “evi­dence of racial hatred on both sides”. The ver­dict sent shock­waves through the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment. Senior fig­ures in the Home Office manoeu­vred behind the scenes to get the judge to retract his state­ment, but the ver­dict stuck.

In 1973 Howe estab­lished the Race Today Col­lec­tive. Unlike a tra­di­tion­al polit­i­cal par­ty, mem­bers were not try­ing to set the agen­da or to win con­verts. Rather, they put out a mag­a­zine, Race Today, record­ing grass­roots cam­paigns in Britain and abroad. Among their num­ber were Leila Has­san, the deputy edi­tor and lat­er Howe’s wife, Lin­ton Kwe­si John­son, the cel­e­brat­ed dub poet, Bar­bara Beese, one of the Man­grove nine, and Far­rukh Dhondy, the writer and, from 1984, a com­mis­sion­ing edi­tor for Chan­nel 4 tele­vi­sion.

When female Asian work­ers went on strike at the Grun­wick film pro­cess­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries in Willes­den, north-west Lon­don, in 1976, the col­lec­tive pro­vid­ed sup­port. When, the same year, the Ben­gali Hous­ing Action Group pro­vid­ed an organ­i­sa­tion­al basis for squat­ting in vacant prop­er­ties in Tow­er Ham­lets, the col­lec­tive helped cre­ate the largest squat in Europe. This, in time, result­ed in an entire com­mu­ni­ty secur­ing decent hous­ing.

Race Today’s largest cam­paign fol­lowed the New Cross fire in 1981. The deaths of 13 black young peo­ple from a sus­pect­ed racist attack in south-east Lon­don was met with indif­fer­ence from Mar­garet Thatcher’s gov­ern­ment, the main­stream press and the police. Howe set about organ­is­ing a day of action, the largest ever polit­i­cal demon­stra­tion by black peo­ple in Britain, on a work­ing Mon­day. In doing so, he applied the meth­ods of organ­i­sa­tion that he had learned from the US rad­i­cals H Rap Brown and Gwen Pat­ton a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry ear­li­er.

More than 20,000 peo­ple, the vast major­i­ty black, marched through Lon­don. It proved a pow­er­ful demon­stra­tion of resolve. Despite oppres­sive polic­ing, scuf­fles were rare. But the back­lash was swift. Swamp 81, a mas­sive esca­la­tion of stop and search, attempt­ed to reassert police con­trol over London’s black com­mu­ni­ty. Ten­sions even­tu­al­ly reached break­ing point, lead­ing to the three days of the Brix­ton riots – described by Howe as “an insur­rec­tion of the mass­es of the peo­ple”. The Race Today office, in Rail­ton Road, Brix­ton, was on the front line, and the col­lec­tive mon­i­tored the bat­tle, record­ed events and, after the insur­rec­tion was over, debriefed the lead­ing par­tic­i­pants. From then on, Howe argued, no longer would black peo­ple sim­ply com­plain about white pow­er – they would con­front it head on.

Howe’s first TV series, The Ban­dung File (1985–91), was com­mis­sioned for Chan­nel 4 by Dhondy, with Tariq Ali as co-edi­tor. Howe report­ed on top­ics includ­ing pirate radio in Lon­don, the eco­nom­ic poli­cies of Julius Nyerere in Tan­za­nia and the over­throw of “Baby Doc” Duva­lier in Haiti. In The Devil’s Advo­cate (1992–96), Howe sub­ject­ed peo­ple in author­i­ty to pub­lic scruti­ny. The series proved pop­u­lar: as Howe’s pro­duc­er col­league Narinder Min­has put it, he “brought the intel­li­gent dis­cus­sions about race to prime­time”.

Born in Moru­ga, Trinidad, Rhett, nick­named Dar­cus, was the son of Lucille (nee Rud­der) and Cipri­ani Howe. He was immersed in Dick­ens, Shake­speare and the Book of Com­mon Prayer by a moth­er and father who were, respec­tive­ly, his first teacher and head­teacher at Eck­el Vil­lage pri­ma­ry school. Cipri­ani was also an Angli­can priest, for whom the mes­sage of the scrip­tures was egal­i­tar­i­an­ism, the gospel of Christ the social rev­o­lu­tion­ary. Dar­cus won a schol­ar­ship to Queen’s Roy­al Col­lege, Port of Spain, one of the most elite schools in the Caribbean. He divid­ed his time between learn­ing Latin at QRC, attend­ing mass ral­lies for Trinida­di­an inde­pen­dence and hang­ing out with The Rene­gades, the street gang of urban youth who coa­lesced around the steel band of the same name in East Dry Riv­er.

At the age of 18 he went to Britain with the inten­tion of train­ing as a bar­ris­ter. How­ev­er, unwill­ing to accept the sta­tus of sec­ond-class cit­i­zen, he gave up the law in favour of Black Pow­er pol­i­tics and rad­i­cal jour­nal­ism, and returned to Trinidad.

Meet­ing Mal­colm X in 1965 and Stoke­ly Carmichael two years lat­er made a deep impres­sion on him. In May 1968 he went to par­tic­i­pate in the events in Paris. But he soon saw the short­com­ings of the self-appoint­ed “van­guard par­ties” among the Parisian stu­dents, and bore in mind the empha­sis placed by his uncle, the Marx­ist his­to­ri­an CLR James, on the impor­tance of the black work­ing class as an agent of change.

Howe found a more effec­tive mod­el of polit­i­cal organ­i­sa­tion in the Black Pow­er move­ment, which was grow­ing in the US and the Caribbean. In Octo­ber 1968 he trav­elled to Mon­tre­al to par­tic­i­pate in the Con­gress of Black Writ­ers – a Black Pow­er inter­na­tion­al in all but name. There he dis­cussed the phi­los­o­phy of organ­i­sa­tion with Wal­ter Rod­ney, and then joined Brown and Pat­ton in organ­is­ing the Ocean Hill-Brownsville cam­paign in Brook­lyn, aim­ing to pro­mote black com­mu­ni­ty con­trol of edu­ca­tion across New York.

Howe’s next major cam­paign took place in Trinidad. Work­ing as a jour­nal­ist for the Van­guard, the news­pa­per of the Oil­field Work­ers’ Trade Union, he gal­vanised sup­port for the Black Pow­er upheavals of Feb­ru­ary-April 1970. For a time, the revolt brought the gov­ern­ment to its knees, and pro­vid­ed Howe with a glimpse of a new soci­ety. The squares of Port of Spain were full of black work­ing peo­ple debat­ing, rea­son­ing togeth­er, organ­is­ing them­selves with­out the state or cap­i­tal­ism. Patri­archy was also in retreat. Howe took this as a proof of the revolution’s suc­cess: for him, Black Pow­er entailed women’s lib­er­a­tion.

The path that Howe embarked on lat­er that year in Lon­don con­tin­ued into the new cen­tu­ry. In his doc­u­men­taries White Tribe (2000) and the three-part Slave Nation (2001), Howe played the anthro­pol­o­gist, exam­in­ing British­ness and white­ness. With con­sid­er­able fore­sight, these doc­u­men­taries exam­ined the rise of Eng­lish nation­al­ism and resent­ment against Pol­ish migrants. In the 1990s he had a col­umn in the Evening Stan­dard, and for more than a decade he wrote for the New States­man.

Diag­nosed with prostate can­cer in April 2007, Howe saw the polit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of the dis­ease. Black men from the Caribbean, Amer­i­ca and the west coast of Africa are three times more like­ly to suf­fer from it than white men. He worked with the NHS and Chan­nel 4 to encour­age black men to have check­ups.

Weeks before the riots in Eng­lish cities in August 2011 prompt­ed by the fatal police shoot­ing of Mark Dug­gan in Tot­ten­ham, north Lon­don, Howe wrote a piece for the Voice pre­dict­ing unrest. He refused to con­demn those who took part in it.

One of his last pub­lic engage­ments was the readthrough of Guer­ril­la, a polit­i­cal dra­ma by John Rid­ley, to be shown on Sky Atlantic. Howe had spent time with the pro­duc­tion team, advis­ing them on the pol­i­tics of the 1970s and the Black Pow­er move­ment. They acknowl­edged the inspi­ra­tion pro­vid­ed by his involve­ment in its British arm.

Howe direct­ed his enor­mous intel­lec­tu­al ener­gy and skill as a polit­i­cal organ­is­er to “bring rea­son to race”. He reject­ed the pol­i­tics of sound­bites and prej­u­dice, in favour of a pol­i­tics based on faith in the cre­ativ­i­ty of migrant and work­ing-class com­mu­ni­ties.

He is sur­vived by Leila, three sons and four daugh­ters.

Dar­cus (Rhett Rad­ford Leighton) Howe, activist, writer and broad­cast­er, born 26 Feb­ru­ary 1943; died 1 April 2017




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Taos artist George Chacón has died

Painter-musician collapsed after playing congas for SOMOS poetry event

George Chacón in front of his iconic mural, titled ‘The Santero,’ on Cabot Plaza Mall near Taos Plaza.

George Chacón in front of his icon­ic mur­al, titled ‘The San­tero,’ on Cabot Plaza Mall near Taos Plaza.
Rick Romanci­to
April 2, 2017

A friend said he was among peo­ple who admired him, doing a thing he loved to do when the end came.

Taos artist George Chacón died of an appar­ent mas­sive heart attack Sat­ur­day night (April 1) after his per­for­mance at the open­ing night for a poet­ry event at SOMOS.

Chacón’s per­for­mance cel­e­brat­ing Nation­al Poet­ry Month in Taos was even live-streamed on Face­book right before he col­lapsed. Despite resus­ci­ta­tion efforts by EMTs called to the scene, Chacón passed away short­ly before 9 p.m. “He died drum­ming, sur­round­ed by peo­ple who love him. He fin­ished drum­ming. Put his head on his con­ga. And died,” said local edu­ca­tor Daniel Escalante, who was at the scene.

Many peo­ple stayed, and offered help and aid and prayer for Bev­er­ly Chacón, his wife,” Veron­i­ca Golos, event orga­niz­er, said in an email mes­sage lat­er that night. Bev­er­ly Chacón was per­form­ing at her husband’s side that evening, play­ing a rain­stick.

Chacón, 63, was born in Saguache, Col­orado on the Mex­i­can hol­i­day, Dia de los Muer­tos, the third child of sev­en chil­dren. “As a young man fresh out of high school, I went to New York City to dis­cov­er and explore the world of art which had always excit­ed me,” he wrote in his online biog­ra­phy (georgechaconart.com). “While in NYC, I worked with the Boys Ath­let­ic League. After this excit­ing and enrich­ing expe­ri­ence I went on to study at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty and West­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty.

Cul­tur­al­ly,” he said, “the tra­di­tions and the inter­na­tion­al con­nec­tions that make Taos, New Mex­i­co an impor­tant art cen­ter was enor­mous­ly appeal­ing to me as an artist. As my wife Bev­er­ly and I had mater­nal and pater­nal roots in the area we felt that it was also the place we want­ed to raise a fam­i­ly, so we moved to Taos in 1983 to pur­sue our dreams.”

Known for his humil­i­ty and ded­i­ca­tion to pre­serv­ing His­pan­ic cul­tur­al roots and iden­ti­ty, Chacón found most of his inspi­ra­tion with­in the core of his fam­i­ly. “I enjoy the woven fab­ric of life’s mys­ter­ies and have observed them through the priv­i­lege of rais­ing three daugh­ters (Regi­na, Amber and Son­ja),” he con­tin­ued. “I know undoubt­ed­ly that luck and hon­est hard work has been the key to my hap­pi­ness in life and being a par­ent and hus­band is the well­spring of my cre­ative flow.”

At one time, Chacón was instru­men­tal in bring­ing togeth­er emerg­ing and vet­er­an His­pan­ic artists for a series of exhibits and work­shops under the ban­ner of the His­pan­ic Arts Coun­cil of Taos, locat­ed in the Taos Coun­ty Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion site off Salazar Road. After a few years, though, he was forced to give it up for lack of par­tic­i­pa­tion.

He also was com­mis­sioned to do a por­tion of a series of murals at Taos Town Hall depict­ing scenes from Taos his­to­ry includ­ing the first meet­ing of Span­ish con­quis­ta­dors and mem­bers of Taos Pueblo.

An hon­or of spe­cial pride includes the par­tic­i­pa­tion in the restora­tion of the altar screen in the Holy Trin­i­ty Church in Arroyo Seco in 1997 and 1998,” he wrote. “I was tak­en through the metic­u­lous process of muse­um restora­tion under the guid­ance of Claire Muzen­rid­er, chief con­ser­va­tor of the Muse­ums of New Mex­i­co.”

Chacón worked at his art all the time. Vis­i­tors were often invit­ed into his home stu­dio to see his lat­est can­vas­es and works-in-progress. His paint­ings fea­tured expres­sion­is­tic land­scapes, his­tor­i­cal sub­jects, por­traits and ani­mal sub­jects ren­dered in a unique style all his own. His murals can be seen all over the coun­ty. Most peo­ple are famil­iar with the icon­ic mur­al, titled “The San­tero,” which graces the wall of Cabot Plaza Mall near Taos Plaza; but he also paint­ed the inside of the band­shell in Kit Car­son Park, which fea­tures a mul­ti­cul­tur­al vari­ety of dancers and singers, and some of the build­ings in the Taos Ski Val­ley base area.

My art career has pre­sent­ed me with many hon­ors which include the pub­li­ca­tion of my mur­al ‘El San­tero,’ on the cov­er of Trav­el mag­a­zine, Col­liers Ency­clo­pe­dia year book for 1992, Nation­al Geographic’s ‘Des­ti­na­tions Spe­cial Pub­li­ca­tion’ in 2001 among oth­ers. My Taos Ski Val­ley mur­al at the base of the moun­tain was pub­lished in The New York Times.”

George and Bev­er­ly Chacón began host­ing the annu­al Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tions at The Taos Inn in 1989, not just for their fes­tive com­mem­o­ra­tion of hon­or­ing those who have passed on but because they also fell upon George’s birth­day. But, over the years, the occa­sion began to weigh heav­i­ly on their minds. So, in 2016, the Chacón’s decid­ed not to do it any more, hand­ing over the reins to local artist Ani­ta Rodríguez. “What hap­pened this year is that Bev and I lost too many peo­ple close to us,” he told Tem­po mag­a­zine last Octo­ber, “and we couldn’t do it. We’re going to try to have a low key cel­e­bra­tion at home, of Days of the Dead, and anoth­er year on earth.”

Over the years, Chacón also made a name for him­self as a musi­cian, per­form­ing Latin and Afro-Cuban style con­gas at a vari­ety of events and venues, includ­ing sit­ting in with pop­u­lar bands such as Los Lobos at the Taos Solar Music Fes­ti­val among oth­ers.

Aside from all his accom­plish­ments, every sto­ry, every con­nec­tion to Chacón always cir­cles back to his fam­i­ly. They were the source of his pride and inspi­ra­tion. His daugh­ters, who now live in Col­orado, have returned to Taos to be with their moth­er. “He was such a love­ly man,” his daugh­ter Son­ja said through tears. “We are so hon­ored to be able to call him our dad.”

Their folks had missed being near them so much that recent­ly they put their house on the mar­ket with plans of mov­ing to Col­orado. When asked what she will miss most about her dad, Son­ja said, “His mis­chie­vous smile,” to which she added, “He was so kind, so gen­er­ous. He took care of all of us. It was great to know him as a dad, but even more as a man.”

Ever the poet, Chacón wrote this haiku on the day he died:

Sparks of dew, glis­tens

In the morn­ing light, to a

New rhythm and dance

Funer­al ser­vice will take place Fri­day (April 7), 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 205 Don Fer­nan­do Street in Taos. A memo­r­i­al and recep­tion will fol­low, loca­tion to be announced.



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Korea’s most senior poet Kim Jong-gil dies at 91

Kim Jong-gil / Yon­hap

By Broth­er Antho­ny of Taize

On Sat­ur­day, Korea’s most senior poet died sud­den­ly in his 91st year, only two weeks after his wife’s death.

Kim Jong-gil was born in 1926, in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, and received the name Kim Chi-gyu. Kim Jong-gil was his pen name. His moth­er died when he was only two years old.

In his ear­ly child­hood, he was cared for by his father and grand­moth­er and espe­cial­ly his great-grand­fa­ther, who was a not­ed schol­ar of the old Con­fu­cian tra­di­tion. He began to learn Chi­nese char­ac­ters from his great-grand­fa­ther almost before he could walk. He stud­ied at a teach­ers’ train­ing school in Daegu and from 1940, for sev­er­al years, he helped edit a lit­er­ary coterie mag­a­zine there. In 1945, after the lib­er­a­tion of Korea from Japan­ese rule, he entered the human­i­ties sec­tion of Hye­hwa Col­lege (Hye­hwa Jeon­mun Hak­gyo) in Seoul. There he formed a lit­er­ary club with oth­er stu­dents, which began to pro­duce its own mag­a­zine.

Hav­ing begun to write poems, he won the 1947 Spring Lit­er­ary Award of the Kyunghyang Sin­mun, mark­ing the start of his offi­cial career as a pub­lished poet. In the spring of the same year, he trans­ferred schools and entered the Eng­lish depart­ment of Korea Uni­ver­si­ty.

There he came under the influ­ence of Pro­fes­sor Lee In-su, the first Kore­an to have grad­u­at­ed in Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don, a gift­ed trans­la­tor who intro­duced him to T. S. Eliot’s “Waste­land.” He grad­u­at­ed in 1950 and dur­ing the Kore­an War (1950–53) he served as an inter­preter. From 1953 he taught at Daegu Tech­ni­cal High School and also lec­tured at the Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion of Gyeong­bok Uni­ver­si­ty. In 1954 he was appoint­ed as full-time lec­tur­er at Gyeong­bok Uni­ver­si­ty and in the same year pub­lished a vol­ume of trans­la­tions of 20th cen­tu­ry Eng­lish poet­ry. He became assis­tant pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Eng­lish Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture at Korea Uni­ver­si­ty in 1958.

In 1960 he was able to go to Eng­land, where he spent a year study­ing at Sheffield Uni­ver­si­ty under the guid­ance of the cel­e­brat­ed crit­ic William Emp­son. Dur­ing this time he met T. S. Eliot and oth­er well-known writ­ers and crit­ics. Return­ing to Korea Uni­ver­si­ty, he con­tin­ued his aca­d­e­m­ic career. In 1969 he pub­lished his first col­lec­tion of poems, “Christ­mas.” In the autumn that year he vis­it­ed the Unit­ed States, where he met cel­e­brat­ed poets includ­ing Robert Low­ell.

In the fol­low­ing years he lec­tured, pub­lished crit­i­cal stud­ies and served for sev­er­al years as the uni­ver­si­ty librar­i­an. In 1983 he paid anoth­er vis­it to Eng­land, where he met not­ed lit­er­ary crit­ics includ­ing Christo­pher Ricks and A. Alvarez. In the fol­low­ing year he was able to spend a year study­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge. In 1986 he cel­e­brat­ed his 60th birth­day by pub­lish­ing a vol­ume of prose writ­ings, a sur­vey of mod­ern Eng­lish-lan­guage poet­ry, a sec­ond col­lec­tion of his own poems, “Yel­low Dust,” and a vol­ume of poet­ic the­o­ry.

Through­out his career, he trans­lat­ed a con­sid­er­able num­ber of con­tem­po­rary poems by Kore­an poets, into Eng­lish. These trans­la­tions were pub­lished in var­i­ous Kore­an jour­nals but were nev­er pub­lished as a sep­a­rate col­lec­tion. In 1987 Anvil Press (Lon­don) pub­lished a vol­ume of his Eng­lish trans­la­tions of Kore­an clas­si­cal Chi­nese poet­ry, “Slow Chrysan­the­mums.”

In 1988 he became Pres­i­dent of the Kore­an Poets’ Asso­ci­a­tion. He par­tic­i­pat­ed in sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al gath­er­ings and met Sea­mus Heaney in Kyoto in 1990. In 1991 a vol­ume of his select­ed poems was pub­lished, fol­lowed by a col­lec­tion of his Eng­lish-lan­guage lit­er­ary essays, “The Dar­ling Buds of May.”

He retired from Korea Uni­ver­si­ty in 1992, after which he was free to trav­el and give papers at var­i­ous inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ences around the world. In 1993 he was elect­ed a mem­ber of the Kore­an Acad­e­my of Arts. He was giv­en the Inchon Award in 1996. His third col­lec­tion of poems, “An Evening Prim­rose,” appeared in 1997 and in 1998 he received the Kore­an government’s Sil­ver Order of Mer­it for Cul­ture.

In 2000 his Eng­lish trans­la­tions of the poems of Kim Chun-su were pub­lished in the Unit­ed States. In 2003 a vol­ume of Ger­man trans­la­tions of a selec­tion of his poems was pub­lished in Ger­many. In 2005 he received the Gosan Lit­er­ary Award. In 2008 he pub­lished anoth­er col­lec­tion of poems, “Glean­ing at Dusk,” and a Span­ish trans­la­tion of some of his poems appeared in Mex­i­co. In 2009 he pub­lished a col­lec­tion of essays about his encoun­ters with cel­e­brat­ed inter­na­tion­al writ­ers and also received the Man­hae Award. In 2011 he pub­lished the poet­ry col­lec­tion “Those Things” and in 2013 he pub­lished a vol­ume of his select­ed poems, “The Kite,” which is soon to be pub­lished in Eng­lish, too late for him to see it.

Kim Jong-gil often explained that the pres­sure of his work as an aca­d­e­m­ic meant that he had very lit­tle time to write his own poet­ry. This year marks the 70th anniver­sary of his recog­ni­tion as a poet. He was a liv­ing archive of the his­to­ry of 20th-cen­tu­ry poet­ry and will be sore­ly missed.



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RIP: Nick Ackerman, bassist for NYC rock band The Virgins, has died


Details are scarce at the moment, but it appears for­mer Vir­gins bassist Nick Ack­er­man has passed away.

Friends of the beloved New York City musi­cian began post­ing mem­o­ries and good­byes on his per­son­al Face­book page Thurs­day (March 30), and NYC pho­tog­ra­ph­er Ryan McGin­ley post­ed a video trib­ute to his Insta­gram with the cap­tion: “💔Sad about #Nick­Ack­er­man Gone too Soon. Ear­ly clips of The Vir­gins I shot with Nick on lead gui­tar. RIP 🎸”

See that footage below.

The Vir­gins formed out of New York’s music scene in 2006, and released their heav­i­ly-backed self-titled debut LP on Atlantic Records two years lat­er, which includ­ed indie hits like “Rich Girl”, “Teen Lovers”, and “She’s Expen­sive”. They issued their sopho­more and final album, Strike Gen­tly, in ear­ly 2013, and split up lat­er that year. Ack­er­man, who was often cred­it­ed as Nick Zarin-Ack­er­man, also col­lab­o­rat­ed with Sky Fer­reira, co-writ­ing her 2013 track “Were­wolf (I Like You)”.

We’ll post more infor­ma­tion as it comes in. In the mean­time, revis­it that excel­lent first Vir­gins album, and watch them per­form on The Late Show With David Let­ter­man in late 2008.


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RIP Mitchell Brower



New York Times


11/7/1926 — 4/2/2016 GM of NY State The­ater & Film Pro­duc­er. Lover of theater/film, intel­lec­tu­al, eccen­tric, vora­cious read­er, food­ie & NY Times cross­word devo­tee. Lov­ing­ly remem­bered, Deirdre, Tatiana, David, Ari­an­na & Jo.

BOWER, Mitchell

Born: 11/7/1926, U.S.A.

Died: 4/2/2016, New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Mitchell Bower’s west­ern – pro­duc­er:

McCabe & Mrs. Miller — 1971

Post­ed by Tom B.



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Vescovo e broker: così ‘padre’ Max truffava risparmiatori, sequestrati 72 milioni di euro

Al cen­tro dell’indagine delle FIamme Gialle un pro­fes­sion­ista romano a capo di una chiesa scis­mat­i­ca

25 mag­gio 201


Era conosci­u­to come Max of Strichen. Ges­ti­va una comu­nità reli­giosa, ma ora è ora accusato di aver truffa­to risparmi­a­tori per decine di mil­ioni di euro. Arresta­to dai finanzieri del Nucleo spe­ciale di Polizia Val­u­taria di Roma, l’uomo è un pro­fes­sion­ista di orig­i­ni romane, ma anche un organ­ista ed un mae­stro di musi­ca. E’ ccusato di essere a capo di un’organizzazione crim­i­nale che, attra­ver­so una fit­ta rete di pro­mot­er, avrebbe intas­ca­to i sol­di di ignari investi­tori per finanziare le pro­prie attiv­ità impren­di­to­ri­ali.

Con lui altre 4 per­sone. A scor­prire gli ille­ci affari, le Fiamme gialle che nell’operazione Mediter­ra­neo han­no seques­tra­to ben 72 mil­ioni di euro. Le indagi­ni trag­gono le mosse da un’attività ispet­ti­va svol­ta nel 2014 dal­la Con­sob, in col­lab­o­razione con la Guardia di Finan­za, nei con­fron­ti di alcu­ni pro­mo­tori finanziari che offrivano inves­ti­men­ti gesti­ti dall’impresa inglese ‘Lux finanze Ltd’, risul­ta­ta essere ricon­ducibile ad un pro­fes­sion­ista di orig­i­ni romane. Dalle prime ver­i­fiche era­no subito emerse numerose incon­gruen­ze sull’attività dei pro­mo­tori e sul­la effet­ti­va des­ti­nazione degli inves­ti­men­ti.

A segui­to di suc­ces­sivi appro­fondi­men­ti, con­seguen­ti al radica­men­to di un pro­ced­i­men­to penale coor­di­na­to dal­la Procu­ra del­la Repub­bli­ca di Roma, il Nucleo Spe­ciale di Polizia Val­u­taria ha accer­ta­to, in capo alla figu­ra del pro­fes­sion­ista romano “la pre­sen­za di una sol­i­da orga­niz­zazione crim­i­nale che, avval­en­dosi del­la sua ampia rete di pro­mo­tori, ave­va in realtà pos­to in essere una frode di ril­e­van­ti dimen­sioni”: gra­zie allo scher­mo offer­togli dal­la soci­età inglese e uti­liz­zan­do l’operato dei suoi col­lab­o­ra­tori, era rius­ci­to a rac­cogliere, pres­so una fol­ta platea di risparmi­a­tori, una con­sid­erev­ole mole di risorse finanziarie, con la promes­sa di des­ti­narle ad inves­ti­men­ti molto red­di­tizi nel com­par­to mobil­iare.


Il prin­ci­pale inda­ga­to è così rius­ci­to a drenare dai risparmi­a­tori decine di mil­ioni di euro fat­ti con­fluire, in molti casi anche con­tro la volon­tà dei tito­lari, su due fon­di di dirit­to estero e poi accred­i­tati su con­ti cor­ren­ti acce­si pres­so le Isole Mau­ri­tius ricon­ducibili al romano. Le indagi­ni, infat­ti, han­no per­me­s­so di appu­rare “come i due fon­di fos­sero del tut­to fit­tizi e creati ad arte dal capo dell’organizzazione”: come dimostra­to dalle svari­ate denunce rac­colte dai cli­en­ti, questi ulti­mi si sono nel tem­po trovati nell’impossibilità di recu­per­are i loro inves­ti­men­ti. La pros­e­cuzione degli appro­fondi­men­ti inves­tiga­tivi ha infine con­fer­ma­to come “in ver­ità il pro­fes­sion­ista avesse dis­trat­to di vol­ta in vol­ta, tutte le somme rac­colte dai fon­di per poi reimp­ie­gar­le, almeno in parte, in attiv­ità eco­nomiche ricon­ducibili a lui ed ai suoi prestano­mi”.

In par­ti­co­lare, i proven­ti illeciti sono sta­ti uti­liz­za­ti per finanziare numerose attiv­ità impren­di­to­ri­ali da lui gestite, quali una grossa azien­da agri­co­la in provin­cia di Arez­zo ed un’associazione teatrale con sede in un’antica Abbazia vici­no Todi. Il sogget­to, organ­ista e mae­stro di musi­ca di pro­fes­sione, è tra l’altro noto per aver fonda­to di recente, una sua con­gre­ga reli­giosa di cui si è auto proclam­a­to arcivesco­vo sot­to il nome di Max of Strichen.

Tale nom­i­na­ti­vo, gius­ti­fi­ca­to a suo dire da pre­sunte ascen­den­ze nobil­iari ingle­si, è sta­to per­al­tro uti­liz­za­to anche al fine di nascon­dere la reale ricon­ducibil­ità a lui stes­so di alcune soci­età estere con cui ave­va scher­ma­to i proven­ti illeciti. La comu­nità, di cui risul­ta prin­ci­pale espo­nente, ha sede pres­so la stes­sa Abbazia già men­zion­a­ta, da lui pre­sa in locazione da un ente benefi­co locale: è qui che egli, alla pre­sen­za dei suoi adep­ti, cel­e­bra peri­odica­mente cer­i­monie reli­giose. Il com­p­lesso degli ele­men­ti rac­colti ha con­dot­to alla denun­cia, per i reati di “asso­ci­azione a delin­quere final­iz­za­ta all’abusivismo finanziario, osta­co­lo alle Autorità di Vig­i­lan­za, truf­fa, rici­clag­gio ed autori­ci­clag­gio, di 9 per­sone apparte­nen­ti all’organizzazione”.

Per 5 dei respon­s­abili è sta­to ora dis­pos­to il “seque­stro delle somme proven­to dell’illecita attiv­ità in dan­no degli ignari cli­en­ti, men­tre l’ideatore e prin­ci­pale ben­e­fi­cia­rio del sis­tema truf­faldino è sta­to col­pi­to da ordi­nan­za di cus­to­dia caute­lare e tradot­to nel carcere di Regi­na Coeli a dis­po­sizione dell’Autorità Giudiziaria”.




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Govind Talwalkar was an editor with a vision’

Apr 23, 2017,

Govind Talwalkar, former editor of ‘Maharashtra Times'
Govind Tal­walkar, for­mer edi­tor of ‘Maha­rash­tra Times’

NAGPUR: Govind Tal­walkar, for­mer edi­tor of ‘Maha­rash­tra Times’ who passed away in the US recent­ly, was a vision­ary who gave a new direc­tion to Marathi jour­nal­ism by includ­ing var­i­ous aspects of life in the news­pa­per and wrote hard-hit­ting arti­cles and edi­to­ri­als when­ev­er the pow­ers that be erred, forc­ing them to cor­rect them­selves in the larg­er inter­ests of the soci­ety.
This was the gist of speech­es deliv­ered by emi­nent per­son­al­i­ties at a meet­ing held at Dhan­wate Hall on Fri­day.

The con­do­lence meet­ing, orga­nized by divi­sion­al cen­tre of Yash­wantrao Cha­van Pratishthan and Maha­rash­tra Union of Work­ing Jour­nal­ists, was attend­ed by Vin­od Shir­sat, edi­tor of ‘Sad­hana’, Prat­ap Aas­be, senior jour­nal­ist, and Suresh Dwadashi­war, edi­tor of ‘Lok­mat’, among oth­ers.

Shir­sat said, Tal­walkar, who served as MT edi­tor for 27 years, had on him deep impact of writ­ings of Charles Dick­ens. He won many awards.

Aas­be spoke on ear­ly life and career of Tal­walkar and said that his books based on com­mu­nism in Rus­sia and Chi­na were pop­u­lar among read­ers.

Dwadashi­war said that Tal­walkar led a rich jour­nal­is­tic life and com­ment­ed exten­sive­ly on crum­bling of the once mighty Sovi­et Union.



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In praise of Govind Talwalkar — a great editor every city, state in India needs today

For editors of his time in Maharashtra, Talwalkar was a model and exemplar. Yet his legacy speaks to editors outside Maharashtra, and to our own time too

Mar 24, 2018

Ramachandra Guha Ramachan­dra

I nev­er met Govind Tal­walkar, but in the last decade-and-a-half of his long (and very dis­tin­guished) life I cor­re­spond­ed with him. This began with his writ­ing to me about my biog­ra­phy of Ver­ri­er Elwin. He liked the book, but said I was mis­tak­en in claim­ing that Elwin had a role in the mak­ing of the Eng­lish edi­tion of Mahat­ma Gandhi’s My Exper­i­ments With Truth. I had based my attri­bu­tion on the trans­la­tor, Mahadev Desai, say­ing in his pref­ace that ‘from the point of view of lan­guage [the trans­la­tion] has had the ben­e­fit of a revered friend, who, among oth­er things, has the rep­u­ta­tion of being an emi­nent Eng­lish schol­ar. Before under­tak­ing this task, he made it a con­di­tion that his name should on no occa­sion be giv­en out’.

Read­ing between the lines, I thought this per­son must be Elwin. He was Eng­lish, he was a schol­ar, and he was a close friend of Mahadev’s. Tal­walkar, how­ev­er, believed that the per­son who helped revise Gandhi’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy was the Madras lib­er­al VS Srini­vasa Sas­tri. Would I, he now asked me, check again?

Some years lat­er, work­ing afresh in the archives, I found some let­ters between Mahadev and Sas­tri con­firm­ing that Tal­walkar was right. For Mahadev had meant ‘an emi­nent schol­ar of Eng­lish’ rather than ‘an emi­nent Eng­lish schol­ar’. For­tu­nate­ly, I was able to make the cor­rec­tion in the sec­ond edi­tion of my Elwin biog­ra­phy, while also cred­it­ing Srini­vasa Sas­tri with his help in the sec­ond vol­ume of my Gand­hi biog­ra­phy, which appears lat­er this year with the name of the ‘late Govind Tal­walkar’ grate­ful­ly placed in the acknowl­edge­ments.

Tal­walkar died a year ago, in March 2017. Last week, on his first death anniver­sary, the mag­a­zine Sad­hana held a meet­ing in Pune com­mem­o­rat­ing his life and work. A book of essays in Marathi was released on the occa­sion. In his native Maha­rash­tra, Tal­walkar con­tin­ues to be held in high esteem, for his writ­ings and for the con­tri­bu­tions he made to pub­lic life over a 50-year peri­od. It is even said that in the his­to­ry of Marathi jour­nal­ism, there have been two great epochs, the Age of Tilak and the Age of Tal­walkar.

Tal­walkar lived much of his life in Mum­bai. He was deeply attached to his city and his state, and yet utter­ly non-parochial, with a keen inter­est in the rest of India and in the world. His books include his­to­ries of the trans­fer of pow­er from British to Indi­an hands, of the rise and fall of the Sovi­et Union, and of mod­ern polit­i­cal thought from Dad­ab­hai Naoro­ji to Jawa­har­lal Nehru.

In the impact that his writ­ings had on Maha­rash­tri­an soci­ety, Tal­walkar has been com­pared to Bal Gan­gad­har Tilak. He would not been dis­pleased by this, and indeed wrote on Tilak him­self. How­ev­er, he admired even more the Lokmanya’s fel­low Punaikar Gopal Krish­na Gokhale. Like Gokhale, Tal­walkar was a social reformer as well as a patri­ot. He was keen­ly alert to the ills of Indi­an soci­ety, and to dis­crim­i­na­tion against women in par­tic­u­lar. Notably, while absolute­ly flu­ent in Eng­lish, the only book of his that he trans­lat­ed into that lan­guage was a biog­ra­phy of Gopal Krish­na Gokhale. Tal­walkar want­ed to acquaint the Marathi pub­lic sphere with Nehru, Naoro­ji, Lenin and Marx; at the same time, he wished for Indi­ans out­side Maha­rash­tra to know more about Gokhale.

For edi­tors of his time in Maha­rash­tra, Tal­walkar was a mod­el and exem­plar. Yet his lega­cy speaks to edi­tors out­side Maha­rash­tra, and to our own time too. There are three aspects of his work that com­mand spe­cial atten­tion. The first is that he was a man of ideas who simul­ta­ne­ous­ly paid keen atten­tion to ground real­i­ties. In Indi­an jour­nal­ism today, we either have colum­nists who opin­ion­ate from their air-con­di­tioned cab­ins or reporters who write from the field. Tal­walkar was hap­py to encour­age both kinds of writ­ing. Until the end of his life, he close­ly fol­lowed devel­op­ments in every sin­gle dis­trict of his home state.

Sec­ond, Tal­walkar wrote columns, reviews, and edi­to­ri­als, but also books based on deep research. He was a schol­ar as well as a writer. (I am sure I was not the only his­to­ri­an to be prof­itably instruct­ed by him.) He was a per­son of pro­found learn­ing, and of wide inter­ests (away from his desk, he loved gar­den­ing).

Third, Tal­walkar stayed absolute­ly away from par­ti­san­ship. He had opin­ions, ideas, views, even prej­u­dices — but these would nev­er be sub­or­di­nat­ed to par­ty polit­i­cal posi­tions. He was admired by his read­ers across the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum, and feared by politi­cians across the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum as well.

In a mail to me, Tal­walkar once wrote, apro­pos some news­pa­per arti­cles of his, that ‘the BJP are very angry with me. It does not both­er me.’ At oth­er times he wrote pieces that angered the Con­gress, Shiv Sena, and NCP. That would not have both­ered him either. His inde­pen­dence was total; so also his integri­ty. To pre­serve both, he avoid­ed social­is­ing with politi­cians or going to par­ties thrown by them.

I know of a Mum­bai edi­tor of my own gen­er­a­tion who com­bines all of Talwalkar’s best qual­i­ties: he is root­ed in his city and state while being alert to the nation and world; he encour­ages good colum­nists as well as in-depth reportage; he has absolute­ly no par­ty affil­i­a­tion; and he writes seri­ous books as well as pop­u­lar arti­cles. It would embar­rass this edi­tor were I to name him in print; suf­fice it to say that if every city, every state, had its own Govind Tal­walkars, the Indi­an media would be in a far health­i­er state than it is at present.

Ramachan­dra Guha’s books include Gand­hi Before India

The views expressed are per­son­al



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Singer in SF Gay Men’s Chorus dies onstage

Ryan Nunez, 39, collapsed and died during inter

Ryan Nunez, 39, col­lapsed and died dur­ing inter mis­sion

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performs its "Paradise Found" concert  Thursday, March 30, through Saturday, April 1, at the Herbst Theatre Photo: Photo By Joan Bowlen, Courtesy SFGMC

The San Fran­cis­co Gay Men’s Cho­rus per­forms its “Par­adise Found” con­cert Thurs­day, March 30, through Sat­ur­day, April 1, at the Herb­st The­atre

The first public performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus was at the candlelight vigil following the assassination of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in November 1978. Photo: Alessandra Mello

The first pub­lic per­for­mance by the San Fran­cis­co Gay Men’s Cho­rus was at the can­dle­light vig­il fol­low­ing the assas­si­na­tion of Super­vi­sor Har­vey Milk and May­or George Moscone in Novem­ber 1978.

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has a long history of social justice work. Photo: Courtesy Gay Men's Chorus

The San Fran­cis­co Gay Men’s Cho­rus has a long his­to­ry of social jus­tice work.

SFGMC - "Passion" - Davies Symphony Hall, SF, 1st April 2015. Photo: Gareth Gooch

SFGMC — “Pas­sion” — Davies Sym­pho­ny Hall, SF, 1st April 2015.

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performs at a gala dinner party for the new exhibit, "Gorgeous," at the Asian Art museum, in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle

The San Fran­cis­co Gay Men’s Cho­rus per­forms at a gala din­ner par­ty for the new exhib­it, “Gor­geous,” at the Asian Art muse­um, in San Fran­cis­co, Calif., on Wednes­day, June 18, 2014.

See a concert by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (pictured) or the Golden Gate Men's Chorus. Submitted by user larryandmarco. Photo: Sarah Rice, Special To The Chronicle

See a con­cert by the San Fran­cis­co Gay Men’s Cho­rus (pic­tured) or the Gold­en Gate Men’s Cho­rus. Sub­mit­ted by user lar­ryand­mar­co.

A mem­ber of the San Fran­cis­co Gay Men’s Cho­rus died onstage dur­ing inter­mis­sion of a per­for­mance Fri­day night.

Ryan Nunez, 39, was in a pro­duc­tion of “Par­adise Found” at Herb­st The­atre in San Fran­cis­co when he col­lapsed on one of the ris­ers and sud­den­ly died, Tim Seel­ig, the artist direc­tor and con­duc­tor of the cho­rus, said in a Face­book post.

He was our voice to the world. Filled with humor and huge hugs for all — he just took care of every­one,” the group said in a post on Face­book.

Nunez faint­ed and col­lapsed while stand­ing on one of ten ris­ers, near­ly 15-feet above the ground. Cho­rus mem­bers, who includ­ed doc­tors and nurs­es, and para­medics per­formed CPR for an hour before Nunez was pro­nounced dead.

I have not expe­ri­enced such shock or soul-shat­ter­ing grief as that. Ever,” Seel­ig wrote.

While mem­bers of the cho­rus and para­medics attempt­ed to revive Nunez, Seel­ig went out to the audi­ence where he took ques­tions and talked about his grand­daugh­ter, in hopes of keep­ing the crowd enter­tained.

The cho­rus can­celed the remain­der of the show Fri­day, but con­tin­ued its per­for­mances Sat­ur­day in hon­or of Nunez, Seel­ig said.



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