Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Harvey Pekar...American

My pal, Mike, over at Prospect Music, sent this to me this afternoon.

Funnily enough, Anthony Bourdain was among the first things I thought of when I heard that Harvey has passed yesterday. If you haven't seen the No Reservations episode where Bourdain visits Michael Ruhlman in Cleveland, you should, it's terrific. I can't find the whole thing online so here's a taste from the utoob.

I've always been a fan of the anti-hero. Kerouac, Bukowski, Tom Waits, Nelson Algren, Billy Bragg.

Harvey Pekar was among, if not at the top of that list.

I think I read my first American Splendor around '80 or '81 and have read most, if not all of his work and own several of the books. Harvey Pekar was a very funny man and as Bourdain says in his quite brilliant coda to Harvey's life, "He was famed as a "curmudgeon", a "crank" and a "misanthrope" yet found beauty and heroism where few others even bothered to look. In a post-ironic and post-Seinfeldian universe he was the last romantic--his work sincere, heartfelt, alternately dead serious and wryly affectionate. The last man standing to wonder out loud, "what happened here?"

So long, Harvey. Sniff.

1 comment:

Cleveland Jeff said...

Mourning the loss of not an extraordinary man, but of a man who would make extraordinary art from his fairly mundane life.
If only we could all do the same...