End Run '20

by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Twentytwenty. Sounded like it should’ve been perfect. Instead it’s been a year for lemonade as we’ve struggled with the pandemic. As I write this it is December first, designated as a Day without Art, a day to honor victims of another pandemic, AIDS. Thanks VISUAL AIDS and all who work for others, especially our medical care givers.

It’s good to have a purpose. It was a thrill to do daily FT puppet shows for my granddaughter in Chicago. Check Pandemic Puppet Jam on Youtube for some chuckles.

Virtual encounters are a lifeline. Thanks to Jane Friedman and Howl! Happening for continuing to find ways to share art. Jane was our first Live Mag! Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Poet and publisher Robert Hershon accepted our second annual award at Howl! a year ago. Robert just brought out issue 111 of Hanging Loose Magazine (my “Madhattan Classic” included). We continue with two awards — one to artist Willie Birch. Willie and I met when we were both working in the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA). I’ve never known a more engaging artist.

funeral gathering Willie Birch, Country Funeral (Funeral for JD), detail of diptych, 72 x 96 in.

We also honor writer and actor Michael Lally, the King of Play. Beginning in ’72 with South Orange Sonnets, he now has over 30 books, including his most recent overview from Seven Stories.

Local Knowledge magazine fiction and poetry series continues on Zoom. Publisher Sanjay Agnihotri and I have been co-hosting readings for five years. 2020 included Keisha-Gaye Anderson, Andrei Codrescu, David Mills, Steve Luttrell, Alan Kaufman, Sara Sarai, Bernard Meisler, Ed Sanders, and Luc Sante.Bon mottist Greg Masters put out Collaborations, a redux of much of the St. Mark’s 3rd gen NY School. Work by Allen Ginsberg, Ted Berrigan, Jim Brodey, John Godfrey, Elinor Nauen, Bob Holman, and Nellie Vargas; The Disciples of Distress, a play by Greg and me; historic photos by Monica Clarie Antoine, contributor Tom Weigel’s sister.

Thanks galleries that encourage poetry. Lichtundfire Director Priska Juschka is tireless. She’s invited Jonathan Goodman, Barry Wallenstein, Allan Coleman, Barbara Rosenthal and more. A Jack Youngerman (1926-2020) painting hung the night of our book launch (Party Everywhere). And Zürcher with John Yau and Tom Devaney.

Thanks good people at Lit Balm — the weekly reading series that started to keep us connected, Jonathan Penton, Larissa Shmailo, and Marc Vincenz.

Great news! Issue #18’s art will be curated by Madeline Weinrib! Madeline and I worked together on Cover Magazine and she sponsored events for us at Art In General. Thanks Deputy Editor Ilka Scobie for helping set this up.

Finally, deep thanks to designer and Contributing Ed Lori Ortiz! Check our new online store where you can buy our back issues. Hurray to our contributors and community who have brought us through our 13th year. Best of luck to us all!