Just as an intense year of CalArts coursework in Aesthetics and Politics was coming to a close, video of Howard surfaced.* The long path from then to now lit up like neon.** In that sudden vacancy after the end of classes, this text-gather happened. It’s me, Howie, and Judith Butler (because I think he would’ve loved her thought) – voices differentiated by typeface (see the legend in lower right).
Zoom in on the text or download the PDF version here.
*Heartfelt thanks to John Mehring, who followed his curiosity into the archives and found a videocassette of “On the Safe Side” in the San Francisco Public Library. He shared the find with me (and others who knew Howie) with the help of Kevin Brown at Smart Set. My thanks to them both.
**In my first trip to L.A. back around 1984, friends drove me through a sketchy part of downtown at night (after all, what are friends for?) to show me what looked like a solid vertical bar of neon blazing on the corner of a building. As we drove by (and then drove by again), out of the corner of my eye the solid bar wiped into a word. (I think it was “MONA” – for the Museum of Neon Art.) That’s a decent analogy for most of what sticks with me: it’s not the frontal assault that makes the deepest impression but the experience that sneaks in from the side.