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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We Love You, Evan 

I just found out that my friend Evan Garfinkel killed himself this weekend.

I met Evan at New College in Sarasota, Florida. He knew loads about music and film and had very eclectic tastes. He introduced me to SPK and other unusual artists. He was goofy and had a great sense of humor, but he also appreciated calm reasonable discussions.

This photo was taken in Palm Court, ground zero of the New College social landscape. I like to think of him there; we had some good times amongst those trees. I remember the wall he threw where he played "Pickle Potato" alongside crazy noise music. People complained, but we just smiled at each other. You can see more pix of him here, here, and here.

I moved back to my hometown of Gainesville Florida in 1998, and he arrived soon after, to attend the University of Florida's graduate school program. But in Gainesville he joined a band called Vini and the Demons, and before long he was devoting all his time to music.

It was for music that he moved north to Chicago around the time I moved to Madison (2000). We only spoke twice a year or so, but I still considered him a good friend. Vini and Evan moved to Las Vegas recently, but for whatever reason the music still wasn't taking off. He made plans to return to Gainesville, but then changed his mind. And then tonight I got the phone call telling me what happened.

Evan introduced me to Neil Hamburger, through the prank-call album Great Phone Calls. It features the line "Could you write my name on the toilet?", "Pickle Potato" (one of Evan's faves), and the classic "Hijinx" bit. Go have a listen.

Evan was a drummer -- they called him Evil Evan. His drum solos were something to see. He had a chilled confidence when at his kit, whacking away with poise or savage ferocity as the song required. You can buy the V&D CD here.

I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm frustrated. I don't know how you're supposed to feel when you hear that someone you love killed himself. I can't help feeling like he gave up; like he took an easy way out. But isn't that a horrible thing to think? How can I know what his pain was like? I guess all I can really say is that I hope he's at peace. I hope there is a heaven, and he's in it.

While we were at New College, I edited a "magazine" (if it can be called that) called The Final Analysis. In perhaps our best issue, Evan joined with Paul Beer to write some haiku about Star Wars. I reprint them here as a tribute to my fallen comrade.
Star Wars Haiku
By Paul Beer and Evan Garfinkel

voices crying out
come into asteroid field
Farewell Aalderaan

got him in my sights
zap goes the laser cannon
X-wing fighters fast.

Solo, Leia, Like. (sic)
A Princess and guy like me?
come to rescue you.


-Hyperdrive fix beast
-Solo? Truly, a duet
-Let the wookie win

Luke, wookie: good team,
lea (sic) has P-M-S, whines.
Space-ship zooms - shoots too

Jedi power, cool.
Light saber key to the force.
Vader is scary.
Farewell Alderaan. Indeed.


The 2006 HomestarRunner Halloween Cartoon is fun.

Today I'm listening to: a remix I did of a Vini & The Demons song. (Because I can't find my copy of their CD.)

I also did a remix of an earlier track Evan played on, Snickerdoodle. (The sample of "Du Hast" is mixed in because we both thought it was the most ridiculous song ever. I remember how hard he laughed when I played it for him for the first time.)

Evan also had a speaking part near the end of my Devil in Black song I Lost My Bowling Ball in Watsonville.