Adam Parker Block Memorial----1951-2008

Adam Parker Block----1951-2008

Adam Parker Block, 56, died Sunday morning January 27th at his home in San Francisco after a protracted pulmonary illness. A fifth generation Seattleite, he was born at Swedish Hospital February 7, 1951. He attended high school at Lakeside and Putney Schools and college at Reed, California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), graduating from Harvard.

Adam was a writer, avid reader and keen social observer and critic whose deep curiosity and insights crossed many disciplines. He lived in San Francisco for the past 30 years. In the 80’s Adam was popular music critic for The Advocate where he wrote a regular column, "Block on Rock". His writing also appeared in numerous publications including Mother Jones, the San Francisco Examiner magazine Image, the Bay Area Reporter, the New Musical Express and Creem. During that time, Adam interviewed virtually every pop star from Elton John to Bono.

Adam was a challenging and unforgettable friend, in turns fiercely loyal and loving and breathtakingly selfish, combative and self absorbed. His curiosity, knowledge, humor and spirit were contagious. Adam believed punctuality, deadlines and being awake during daylight hours were vastly overrated. He loved to outrage and often bragged that being gay, Jewish and half Texan (on his mother’s side)---he had something to offend most everyone. Adam loved literature, art, music, film, news, politics, humor, ideas, food, drink and travel---but most of all, smart lively conversation and animated debate.

Adam is survived by nine siblings; Jonathan, Daniel, Kenan, Susanna, Mary Judith, Tamara, Christina, Melinda, Newton and his step mother, Mary Lou Block as well as 13 nieces and nephews. Adam’s father Robert Jackson Block and mother Dorothy Wolens Block preceded him in death.

With Adam’s death, the lives of those who knew him will be calmer and quieter but far less interesting.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

from Greg Brock

I received an e-mail today at work from an "Adam Bloch." I immediately thought to myself: Hmmm. I wonder what ever happened to the Adam Block I knew in San Francisco? Sadly, I found his memorial page when I googled him.

Although I lived in San Francisco only two-plus years and lost touch with most people there when I moved back to Washington, D.C., I have always remembered Adam most vividly. How could one not? He called me in April of 1987 while I was an editor at The Washington Post. He was writing a free-lance article on gays in the mainstream media. (A short article!) I was one of only two openly gay staff members at The Post at that time. When he told me he lived in San Francisco, I said: Oh, I'm moving there to work for the San Francisco Examiner. So he said he would interview me in person when I got there. Except for the job interview, I had never been to San Francisco. And I didn't know a soul there except the editor who hired me. So the very first person I had any contact with was Adam. You can just imagine what a welcome to The City that was! I had asked him how I would recognize him when we met for coffee. He said: I'm tall, long hair and will be wearing jeans and a leather jacket. How about you? I said: Well, I'm very short, wearing khakis and a Polo shirt. Need I say more?

Those images tell you all you need to know about our ensuing friendship. Talk about night and day! When Adam realized I didn't know anyone, he said: Oh, I'll get some folks together. Indeed he did. About 50 people showed up at my empty apartment (I was waiting on the delivery the next day), including Randy Shilts. Thanks to Adam, I was on my way. My time there ended up being two of the best years of my life. And though Adam and I were not daily buddies, we did see each other a fair amount. And every time I was around him, I liked him more and more, and was increasingly fascinated by him -- though always somewhat intimidated by him.

Even though we both went on with our lives after I left, he has remained one of my fondest memories. The last time I saw him was 19 years ago. Yet, when I saw his memorial page, my heart just sank into my stomach. That, as much as anything, tells you what a lasting impression he made on me. Like many lives he touched, mine is much richer for having known him.With fondest memoriesand deepest sympathy

Greg Brock

Monday, June 30, 2008

Film Premiere dedicated to Adam

Friday June 27 at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, BruceLaBruce dedicated the San Francisco premiere of his new gay zombiefilm, Otto; or Up With Dead People to Adam. Adam had written about Bruce several times in his columns in the Advocate, including about the zine that Bruce co-edited, JDs, and also about Bruce's earlier films.

Larry-bob Roberts

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

from Darrell Kirk

Adam was a white-hot comet that blazed across this earth. I met him in 1987 when I worked for his father. I have never met anyone with such an absolute thirst for life and meaning.

Godspeed to you Adam.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

from Chris Boothby

I was Adam Block's junior year roommate at Putney School. I just received the latest Putney Post and read the obit there and thereby found this blog and have been reading many of the posts there finding bits and pieces of the Adam I knew. As near as I can tell Adam was the only one of us who openly identified as gay at Putney and seemed to delight in shocking the rest of us with his readings of the Marquis DeSade. Naive as I was, I think I assumed that this was just a phase he was going through and expected for him as I hoped for myself that it would play out with adolescence. So, as I finally came out in my early 50's, thoughts of Adam have been with me periodically and I had accomplished enough web research to know that he was in the Bay Area, his critic role, etc, but I had not actually made the step of contacting him. Now I find myself shocked that this is no longer an option.

I was one of the ones who hung out in the potato shed secretly smoking with Adam and others as described by his friend Schuyler herein. I had a different opinion on the potatoes, as instead of digging and handling them, I was the one who drove the tractor the rest loaded with their bushels of the crop. I also remember the incredibly smudged glasses and as Adam's roommate, his lack of hygiene, both personally and spatially. I will always see him in dark blue blazer with copious dandruff flakes covering the shoulders.

Perhaps it is just as well I had not contacted Adam. Like Adam, not only did I like men, I was also devoted to alcohol and other drugs, but I reached the bottom of my downward spiral with addiction in '79, so seeing him actively using would have been very uncomfortable.

I am very happy to see such an outpouring of fond memories of Adam in this blog. The picture from 1965 is exactly how I remember him. I am currently in Portland, near Reed College and glad to know Adam had his stint there. Just as others note, I remember Adam's wit, intelligence, voracious appetite for reading and eagerness to challenge assumptions. I am glad to hear these traits were operative to the end.

Chris Boothby,
Portland, Oregon

Friday, June 6, 2008

from Ries Niemi

Blissfully ignorant until today, I found out that Adam was gone in a pretty appropriate place- sitting on the toilet, idly reading the Lakeside School magazine which was dunning me for money. (Doesnt Bill Gates give them enough?)

Adam was a unique force on the planet, and even though I had not seen him in far too many years, his absence is something I can feel. I wondered what that was.He opened my eyes to the fact that you could actually survive as a professional Shit Disturber- and the world has lost its master. There is no doubt that knowing Adam has affected who I became. I will miss him.

Ries Niemi
Industrial Artist

Friday, May 23, 2008

from Connie Champagne

I had the pleasure of knowing Adam for many years. He was brilliant-- quick, fierce, very funny (although not always intentionally so.) He was very critical, but of course, that was his gig for so many years as a writer. I miss Adam. I think he knew I was very fond of him. I loved him.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Adams Writings New Link

Fred Nemo has uploaded almost 100 articles written by Adam block.
You can find the by going to

Saturday, April 5, 2008

from Roger Henry

I carry Adam with me every day. In mannerisms I've picked up from him, from the way I say, or hear the word "Un-believable!", to the silly little voices we would do with fingers in the air while doing a little dance. I realize I not only got to know the adult Adam, the one who could think on a global scale, but couldn't see 5 feet in front of him leading on occasion to him knocking down various little old Chinese ladies around North Beach, but also the opportunity to know the kid in Adam. The side not afraid to make a fool of himself, the endless imagination, the incredible sense of adventure, the one who would laugh at and do great impersonations of my Grandma. And what a laugh!

Don't get me wrong, the man drove me nuts but with Adam, you just looked past that cause you knew that he was a special guy.

I picture Adam with his hat, sun glasses, filtered cigarette, multi-colored scarf, black leather jacket with a stack of newspapers under on arm, jeans with an ink stain in the back pocket, one pant leg caught on the top of his black boot heading out for his next adventure. Where ever that adventure is, you can bet he will find the center of it and explore and experience it to it's fullest.

I love you Adam, and I will miss you.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

from Christopher Wild

I am a friend of Larry-bob's and am co-founder of The Queer Zine Archive Project. I read a post at written by Larry about Adam's passing. It was a random coincidence that in November 2007 I had written about Adam's articles on queer zines from The Advocate. My article appeared in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin based Queer Life News which has limited circulation in the Milwaukee and Madison metro areas as well as other parts of the state.
for article go to

I will be publishing this and my other queer zine articles in a book at some point later this year. I would love for other fans of Adam's to read my article and learn about his important contribution to the history of queer zines.

Christopher WildeCo-
The Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Photo from Brook Dillon

Entrenched - by Brook Dillon
San Francisco 1997

I like this image and there are many more from that day. I came over to clean, fighting to recycle every New York Times (and sneaking others into the recycling bag, evil), and my payment to myself was bringing my camera and tripod and photographing Adam and a fair amount of his flat. I didn't do this to shame Adam, but to honor the reality of it, for better, Adam's grand appreciation of culture, and worse, Adam overwhelmed by all that combined with his addictions. I knew Adam for 18 years and went thru many ups and downs with him and loved him dearly and I'm a photographer, it's my art and a passion, so I felt allowed, and Adam didn't stop me, though he was so obsessively reading and talking on the phone that he hardly payed any attention to my endeavor.

from Thor Anderson

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1975
"Now, this is a fine piece of horse manure!" Adam waved a draft chapter of my senior thesis under my nose. "Only fine?" I gave him a look, and was rewarded with a lop-sided grin. "Well, whoever heard of a bunch of Indians wearing cowboy hats! I'm sure that they could do better than that. Didn't you say they're Mayans? It seems to me" "Adam." "they're not taking their Native American heritage very seriously!" "Adam." "You say here that they wear plastic cowboy hats! Good Lord." "Adam, I'll be sure to pass that on next time I'm there. Better yet, you should tell them." "Well, someone's got to tell them!" The image of Adam Block presenting a fashion statement to a village of Maya Indians in the highlands of Chiapas flashed before my mind, and I knew that he was fully capable of showing up with just such a mission in mind. "So, how about the writing?" He waved a hand. "It needs some work." We set out to page through the manuscript.

Switzerland, 1985
It was well into Spring, but mounds of heavy snow persisted in drifts and piles as we made our way to a tiny, over-heated bar. It was bustling with locals from neighboring alpine villages. In short order Adam provisioned us, and then sought out the cutest boy in the establishment. Soon he was holding forth at the far end of the bar, communicating through a smattering of French, English, Swiss German, and alcohol. He probably mentioned our audience with Pope John Paul, perhaps without emphasizing that we were amongst thousands receiving His Easter benediction. Somehow the evening concluded with Adam's young friend eating his wine glass, right down to the stem. I don't really know how this came to pass, but I do remember Adam's infinite delight-- in the moment, in spectacle, and at life's ever-unfolding absurdities.

San Francisco, 1995
"Adam, there's a newspaper on the stove." "Could you please not move anything!"

San Leandro, 2007
"We have got to make this movie! Wait. Ahhh. Uhhh. Let me catch my breath. I was surrounded by chanting rabbis, but they were actually rat-people." "Adam, I think that was us around your bed, trying to bring you back." "Hum. But now, you've got to be here when this chimney blows. It's like an atomic reactor or something. It's unbelievable. And the people here. They keep changing, and no one speaks English! They're all born-again Christians. I tell them that when they get swept up into heaven in the rapture, this atheist Jew-boy isn't going anywhere, and there had better be someone here to help me." For some reason Adam intones the last phrase with a gentle Texan twang.

San Francisco, 2007
"I realize that I don't really have anything more to do here. I know I'm a handful, and I don't want to just hang around. Lord knows, that's the last thing I want." The same lop-sided grin, this time with a wide-eyed glance over my shoulder. After fussing with the humidifier, I took my leave. "Give my love to Consuela and the girls." My wife of twenty years is named Consuelo, but I gave up correcting Adam long ago. "I love you Adam." "I know."

Thor Anderson, San Francisco

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

from Hayne Bayless

I have a distinct memory of Adam at a party at your house in the early 60s. We kids had sequestered ourselves in a room away from the parents to listen to something called rock 'n' roll on the record player. Adam was MC. At one point he leapt up saying, "Now watch this, this is the Twist!" Grinning, he proceeded to dance. It shocked me just as I imagine Elvis' debut shocked Ed Sullivan's audience. But what I recall most fondly was Adam's sheer joy at his own audacity.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Eulogy from Kenan Block

Adam’s Memorial Service----March 6, 2008---Temple De Hirsch, Seattle
Remarks by Kenan Block, Adam’s younger brother.

Adam, Adam, Adam. There was no person in my life who could make me laugh harder, make me angry and frustrated for long periods, or who taught me more than my big brother.

Adam was a remarkable older brother, the best man at my wedding and often, my best friend. He was someone I loved and to paraphrase Woody Allan, I idolized all out of proportion.

Adam cared about injustice and would generally side with the underdog. My memories of him include my first day of first grade at Stevens Elementary when Adam found me in the crowded cafeteria at lunch to check how I was doing. Later that same year he woke me at dawn to watch the first American space launch.

I remember around age 9, Adam challenging me at the dinner table one night to prove the earth was in fact round. Every seemingly sensible argument I offered faced a tough rebut---How did I know all the photographs from space were not fakes?---and the least acceptable response to Adam was my saying that my teacher had told me so.

One day when I was 12, Adam told us about this amazing new band from England we had never heard of before---The Beatles and he insisting we watch them for those 4 weeks they were on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Adam was always recommending books, music and movies. His advice trumped any teachers. At 12 Adam had me reading “Cather in the Rye” and for years to follow he would take me and other siblings to the University Book Store to buy us a stacks of paperbacks that we had to read---from Anis Nin to Kurt Vonnegut and Ken Kesey.
Adam was born with chutzpa. He was 11 during the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and would constantly take our father’s gold pass to get in. He loved meeting the famous. So when John Glenn visited the Fair, Adam put on his blue Brooks Brothers blazer and snuck into the Space Needle elevator with the superstar astronaut and his entourage. Adam carried himself as though he belonged so everyone just assumed he was the son of some VIP as he followed the group around.

Adam liked being the center of attention and never seemed to mind that he constantly made everyone wait for him. By the time he was in college Adam had earned a fitting nickname from our father that would continue through adulthood---“His Lordship”.
Perhaps most important of all---Adam had a curiosity and a dose of fearlessness about experiencing life and the world on many levels and dragging anyone who was with him along for the adventure. It was at times maddening---at times embarrassing---but never dull. And no one was safe from being interrogated by Adam---or being offered advice.

On one of our periodic expeditions, we found ourselves on the strange tourist island of Freeport in the Bahamas---I think it had to do with a Pan Am $99 dollar roundtrip promotional fare that we couldn’t pass up---a 3 day lark. Adam had a young boyfriend in tow as he often did. After landing we grabbed a cab at the airport and Adam began interviewing our driver who had the unforgettable name Simeon Wildgoose…after a through interrogation we found out what the locals really do---like going to the visiting Third World carnival that was in town. Adam insisted we go---an adventure that included an actual freak show with adult Siamese twins that we viewed for 75 cents. On that same trip, Adam got Simeon to set up a private visit to his cousin’s coconut rum factory. Over the years Adam would affectionately invoke the name of Simeon Wildgoose.

In the mid-eighties, on a trip to New Orleans we joined some friends with a rental car. Adam had scouted out a bayou backwoods day trip that took us to a diner in Baton Rouge that invented the fried chicken salad, then off to a tiny town with a legendary instrument store that was famous for making guitars and squeeze boxes. Next, just winging it, Adam directed us down a long dirt road where he found a young Cajun boy who he talked into taking us out on his rickety motor boat for a tour of the bayou that was right out of Tennessee Williams.

Then there was going to restaurants with Adam. First came Adam’s preliminary research to make sure we were eating at the most interesting place in town. No matter how fancy the restaurant, after getting menus, Adam would rise and wander table to table to inspect the food folks had ordered and interrogate them about how it tasted. All of us in Adam’s party would do our best to pretend we had no association with this rude character---but of course Adam would return with great insights allowing us to place our orders based on his shameless reconnaissance.
For anyone in Adam’s orbit there was his constant questioning and unsolicited advice. What was particularly maddening---with his remarkable thirst for information and his stunning memory, Adam often knew more about a given topic than the “expert” he was talking to and advising.

During the many years I worked at what was then The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour Adam would bully me about the boring, centrist guests we had on the air. With great frequency Adam berated me for failing to get the likes of Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky on the NewsHour as regulars.
I may not have gotten Michel Moore on the NewsHour---but in part because of Adam I did get folks like Molly Ivins to become regulars.

There are too many stories and memories. But in full candor during the last ten years or so, dealing with Adam increasingly became a struggle. As his health started to fail, he stopped his freelance writing and became even more self absorbed, combative and angry. The phone ringing after midnight was almost certainly Adam, who would be leave me an annoyed message because I wasn’t awake and waiting to listen to him carry on for an hour or two. The notion of working during the day and sleeping at night were bourgeois rituals to Adam.

But through it all, Adam had a truly remarkable group of loyal and loving pals who put up with him, tried to be of help and tolerated Adam’s constant second guessing of any effort to help.

Adam did finally manage to die peacefully at home and on his own terms. I and others were in the process of moving him up to Seattle to Bailey-Boushay House, but clearly Adam didn’t want to leave. San Francisco had truly become Adam’s home and he got live out his life in that city he’d so come to love.

There was one tragedy of the timing of Adam’s death---it was just days before the California Presidential primary and we had failed to get him an absentee ballot to so he could cast his vote for Barack Obama.

Wherever Adam is now, I hope he is at peace, but I am confident of one thing--- he is not giving any peace to those who are with him.

from Jonathan Block -When Death Comes

by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity,
wondering: what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up having simply visited this world.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Eulogy from Jill Bullitt

Adam’s Memorial Service----March 6, 2008
Temple De Hirsch, Seattle

I was recently reading Adam’s Salon Magazine commentary on a 1995 Bruce Springsteen concert in Berkeley. In it, Adam suggests that “the Boss” watch the Preston Sturges' film, “ Sullivan’s Travels’” to learn how to stop impersonating the misery of those he sings about (now that he’s so rich) and to worry more about entertaining them, instead. In “Sullivan’s Travels”, Adam says: “Joel McCrea plays a successful Hollywood director of screwball comedies who feels compelled by the Depression to make a serious Capra-esque film about social justice. Setting off disguised as a bum, (McCrea) ends up jailed in a dismal Southern prison. At a rare screening for the prisoners, McCrea discovers that the anarchic humor of a cartoon provides the cons with glorious brief respite from their grim lives. McCrea learns first-hand that a dose of laughter and delight can offer the oppressed something they need far more than any earnest indictment of social ills.”

Anyway, when I was reading this a couple of weeks ago,I thought ”omigod, I’ve got to tell Adam about the time I snuck into the party Robert De Niro threw for Mandela right after he got out of prison and got to hear Mandela tell Eddie Murphy the exact same thing! In a case of life mimicking fiction, I saw Mandela lean over and tell Murphy how deeply important his comedies were to him at Robben Island. I couldn’t believe it, Eddie Murphy (of all people!), made continuing with daily life seem possible for Mandela and his fellow political prisoners! Since this was right after (morally craven) Murphy had made the hugely stereotypical and bigoted ”Coming to America,” I was astounded.

Of course, I had forgotten that I can’t tell Adam.

Adam and I grew up on the same street. The Block kids were smarter, funnier, naughtier, and more argumentative, than any other family we knew, and my older brother and sister and I continually sought to go play with them at their lively, boisterous house.

Right after Adam’s mother (who was also my god-mother) Dorothy, died, Adam and I started the 3rd grade together at Stevens School, here on Capitol Hill. To our dismay, we found ourselves squarely “in the peculiar world of third grade” (to paraphrase what he later told Schuyler, regarding another school) ”in which you are held prisoner by adults often less intelligent than you are.” Adam, when he discovered that our teacher, Miss Straight, was both criminally dull and moderately cruel, almost immediately made his move. And he did so in what I would call classic Adam fashion: he talked her to death. Before my eyes, he became a kind of machine-gun of humiliation for her, firing one question after another at her that she couldn’t answer. Adam skipped a grade, based on this performance, leaving me behind, to get beaten up after school and to try out a tentative 3rd grade friendship with a girl who lived near us too, until I learned her brothers were famous for shooting the legs off birds.

Although he came to visit me when I was in college in Palo Alto, and we rode around in my blue and white 1956 Buick Special; our friendship mostly took place later, in San Francisco. Starting thirty years ago or so, after I moved to New York, I would look up Adam when I came to town. We would sit in one little North Beach cafe or another and just talk, and I would show him images of my recent work. He seemed unfailingly interested in seeing what I was doing, which puzzled me, slightly, because my paintings didn’t fall within any parameters that I imagined him to be very interested in at that time. Although we had both grown up around fine examples of the work of Morris Graves and Mark Tobey, and my work was derived from a language rooted in, among other things, NW painting, I couldn’t really imagine why he would be that interested in it. Sometimes, I felt his interest came from a kind of loyalty to our shared past. But, in any event, with regard to wanting to see me and what I was up to, his interest was unfailing. Adam was family, also, in the way that your first friends with whom you share ideas become your family.

Right before my 50th birthday, Adam called me in Paris to offer to come celebrate it with us. When my husband and I were married 12 years ago, we eloped, and although we had a very nice reception a year later, we were hoping to have a real party for my 50th, for the self-selected group that would make such a journey to come play. I had mailed out scores of very colorful invitations designed by my daughter, Makaiya, who was 10, of a kitty flying over the world. The picture was one that I, the mom, considered to be an utterly charming image, one that I imagined would be impossible to turn down. We were inviting our stateside family and friends to launch into the air to us, and the invites contained an offer to put up our guests in Paris for a few days (possibly, but not necessarily on the floor of my mother’s Paris apartment) but, offering food and lodging of some sort, anyway. When Adam called, fully intending to come, I had to regretfully inform him that he was actually the only one planning to come from the States, although, as I told him, the turnout of friends from Europe would be considerably better. Unfortunately, this news dampened his enthusiasm enough to cause him to reconsider. But, how I loved him for that instinct, for his loyalty and warm heart, and for his special brand of wit and intelligence that has helped keep us all warm during the cold times.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

from Julie Glantz

Adam was basically the Majordomo Extraordinaire of my welcoming committee when I first chased a dream and a boyfriend to San Francisco in the early eighties and moved into the three story Victorian on Grant Street with Adam Block and Rob Morris.

There was always some opinion or advice Adam had to offer, whether it was invited or not. He certainly had a point of view and a sense of humor that was unique.

The endless rants about the Chinese landlords were unforgettable, as was Adam's remarkable sense of decor, in the form of every single newspaper, magazine, book, postcard he'd ever received just stacked everywhere. The parade of visitors, and the accompanying comments or full on critiques when they left were the stuff of brilliant comic monologues and sharp social commentary.

That experience certainly made a lasting impression: after returning to New York for a couple of years, I truly left my heart in San Francisco and returned to stay in the early nineties.

I spoke with Adam many times after I'd made the big migration, even saw him on a couple of occasions, but my life had changed so much that we hardly moved in the same circles anymore. When I got the email with this news of Adam's passing, I felt a sharp pang in my heart, knowing for certain that an incredibly bright star would shine in everyone's memory. Truly an unforgettable character.

Julie Glantz

Sunday, February 24, 2008

from Kathy Galvin Block

The Only Moving Gallery
I wish I'd thought to ask Adam about his memories of that whole enterprise when we spoke in January... The moving gallery was several chemically-enhanced pals of Adam (from Reed, I think) who took on personae like The Sixties Earth Mother (I think that was his beautiful friend Catherine), angry ghetto revolutionary, street druggie, other cliche characters of the times.
They would go to the galleries in costume and in character and actually interact with gallery patrons. It was terrific performance art. I especially remember the black guy being really cheeky and rude to fancy society types who thought they were liberal but had not actually met a young angry African-American man, nor heard many of the words he was using in an art setting...wish I remembered more. Seattle seems so sophisticated now, but, as I know you remember, it was a wannabe city then. Not as bad as Denver where the audiences still clapped between movements of the Symphony, but not quite Paris. I used to think Seattle was the most middle-class place I had ever seen, but I hadn't been anywhere yet so I wasn't the best judge. One of Adams Reed buddys was a Brit called John Sutcliffe, who was educated at Sandhurst (the Brit version of West Point). ( note from Daniel Today John and his wife Emily have Sutcliffe Vineyards in Colorado Don't remember much about him, except he was pretty entrepreneurial and a fast talker.

Barbecue Sauce
I must ask Kenan if he remembers stopping to see us in Illinois on his and Adam's legendary pilgrimage to Graceland. They got off the City of New Orleans train at about 8am. We had all the kids (only three then) in carseats. Adam and Kenan each had a paper bag concealing a bottle of bourbon, and Adam had a huge plastic vat of some BBQ sauce he had scored somewhere known only to the BBQ cognoscenti. When he lost it he reckoned someone had followed him from the Big Easy and waited for the chance to rip it off and abscond. It was a memorable family get-together, i must say!
(note from Kenan: The Barbeque Sauce was from Brady and Lill's in Memphis now called The Bar-B-Q Shop

The Elvis Painting
I also one Xmas remember Jonathan and I gave Adam a large velour towel-cum-velvet painting of Elvis. We thought we were being arch and sophisticated and too, too witty. But later I overheard him describing it to a friend. (He did not know I was listening) Adam was describing our gift as "so beautiful, if you hold it against the light it's like a stained glass window." Oy, what was Adam on, anyhow?

Recovering Drugs and Cash
I remember when he left his wallet at the Lamphere house after a Fourth of July party? He rang Barb at like 4am and demanded she drive to 1617 RIGHT NOW because there was money anddrugs in it and he needed them RIGHT NOW. Barb is no wuss: Adam's powers in the area of turning his imaginative creations of guilt and a sense of criminally abandoning their most sacred responsibility on people like a look at Medusa's face (or was it the Gorgon?) should have been studied by Think Tanks or made into a book like Dominating, Controlling and Imposing the Compulsion to Obey You on Anyone (for Dummies ). A rational, intelligent and strong-minded adult would suddenly turn into gabbling, apologetic mush and do Adam's bidding just to stop the pain.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

from Anna Shapiro

I was at Putney with your brother, and we were often in the art studio together ca. 1967-8. An echo of him made its way into a scene of a novel I wrote. There are further echoes in the published book, but this scene got cut before I published the book (Living on Air, Soho, 2006). I wish I'd known him in later life, but I certainly thought of him during the last nearly 40 years. I hope this captures him a little.
Anna Shapiro


Unpublished Excerp from Living on Air,
by Anna Shapiro © Soho, 2006

go to link below

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

from Dan Smith

I last saw Adam at the Putney School, where we graduated in 1968. I am saddened to learn of his passing, but in reading just a few posts it is obvious he crammed several lifetimes into 56 years.

The story I want to contribute involves my desperate attempt to avoid going home for spring vacation of my senior year. I was doing everything I could to remain close to Marney Lindsay, with whom I believed I was in love. To remain in New York meant I had to impose on the kindness of several classmates, one of whom was Adam. He showed me a great time by hanging out with me, somehow getting us dinner at the Harvard Club of NYC with a friend of his family and then scoring comp tickets from the same friend for us to see "Rosencrantz and Gilderstern are Dead" on Broadway.

My love affair with Marney cooled off, though I am happy to say we are great friends many years later.

Adam will live on as an edgy, funny and respectful friend in my memory.

Dan Smith

Monday, February 18, 2008

from Fam Bayless

So sorry to hear the news - its hard to loose a sibling at any time but doubly so when its much too early. The obit was quite wonderful & good to read about his many contributions to San Francisco life & culture .

My condolences to all the family.

Love, Fam

Friday, February 15, 2008

from D'Arcy Hyde

I feel so fortunate to have been able to meet a person such as Adam. They broke the mold after him for sure. Watching Adam interact with his family and especially Kenan was a exceptionally entertaining and unforgettable experience-none would disagree. I so clearly remember what it felt like to be in the room when Kenan and Adam would take a stroll down memory lane of some of the greatest shared family adventures. They would bring the room to tears with screams of laughter. In the end, our stories and our adventures is really all we have. Adam had enough for us all. His presence will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

from Catherine Kae

To begin to remember my time and relationship with Adam is to open a floodgate of memories. From the many years of our close friendship, to later times, when our different choices took us to separate locations and experiences, there was an underground river of love and affection, and a dose of amusement, that carried our relationship along.

I met Adam in horseback riding class, during his freshman year at Reed. It was our PE class. We become friends, shared laughs and parties, occasional annoyances, and then became even closer friends as a few years went by and we had bigger parties to attend, politics to shake heads about, and relationship problems, seemingly endless, to discuss. Then there would be the times of bandaging wounds, eating dinners at well reviewed restaurants, or decent bargains, and even living as roommates (with the help of a contract and a housekeeper).

Adam specialized in fun and information. His energy was contagious and bubbling (often doubtless fueled by numerous chemicals). He loved the world of stars, both music and writing. He also had a beautiful and inspiring knack for making his new friends and boyfriends feel like stars. He loved that way, at least for the first three months. What a gift he gave to a number of people. Adam was usually so generous, with a great sense of abundance around him. Ok, so it would also be filthy abundance sometimes. Yes he was messy and so irascible and confessed to being full of fears at the end. Who wouldn't be full of fears facing all of this...

Toward the end, I was struck, by the kind of aura he developed in his well used grease-rimmed Stetson. Some of his own star quality emerged. He looked like an aging and ill version of someone you should recognize. Heads would turn. Well after all, his life was his art. Beyond fears, I am sure he will be partying again soon. When I feel sad at his departure and sad at his suffering, I remember his incredible strength of body, and spirit and send my love.

-Catherine K

Monday, February 11, 2008

from Farrell Ingle

There are many reasons for my existence. It can be traced back to my parents (obviously), to their meeting at the Block house so many years ago. It could be said that they were simply meant to be together and that it was in the cards that I'd come strutting into existence in the autumn of 1985. But I've always believed--and always told anyone who asks how my parents met--that my uncle Adam was the sole reason. He was my dad's best friend, my mom's step-brother. If it wasn't for him I might not be here.

Many beautiful things have been written about Adam over the past few weeks and I have found myself thinking what I could add. I figured that giving him the props he deserved for being that cog, that enzyme, that electric jolt that brought me into this world was worthy of what has been written over the past days. As I thought about what an integral part Adam played in my life I found myself recounting the many lucky instances in which our paths crossed. And while I probably never knew Adam in the same way many others have, my encounters with him have always been memorable.

I remember early visits to his epically dirty apartment where CNN was always on, the stove hadn't been cleaned since the 70s, newspapers and magazines were stacked to the ceiling, and bottles of balsamic vinegar lay on the counter with a price tag higher than my young mind could fathom. Adam was quick to offer me a taste as I gazed upon the red waxy corks and the ornate labels. I remember exploring North Beach with my father and Adam at a pace not even a spry teenager could keep, trying to munch down deliciously oily focaccia and trot along behind at the same time. I remember travelling to the Chinese herbal remedy store when mom and I visited and having lizard on a stick waved in my face when I was barely tall enough to see over the counter. I remember really wanting one.

It is interesting how our memory works. As I think back, I have trouble remembering which memory goes where chronologically or even who I was with (mother or father) when Adam told a magical story that I treasure still. But in the end the only truth is that these are memories that will stick in my mind forever, no matter how mashed up dates, times, and witnesses become.

I think everyone who knew him (or even encountered him only once) would quickly agree that Adam was, if anything, memorable. He made his presence known with a glow and effervescence that I will probably never encounter again. I will certainly miss him, but look forward to sharing stories about my uncle Adam with all those who knew and loved him. God knows there are plenty.

And when my kids ask me how my parents met, I'll know exactly what to say. Rest in peace Adam, you will not be forgotten.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

from Schuyler Ingle

Thirty years ago, maybe more, Adam would often visit in Los Angeles. He knew he could count on a room and a bed, rides hither and yon for God knows what assignations, food and drink and good company. This was long enough ago that Thai food was a new and charming evening out. Can you imagine?

I remember one such dinner with Adam at a small, new Thai restaurant in that Los Angeles gulley between Silver Lake and Los Angeles City College. The place was packed. There were enough of us in our party that several tables were set end to end to accommodate a grand banquet. I believe this was my first taste of Larb Gai. I don't recall how the story began, or why, but at some point during the meal Adam started in on a tale from his school days at Putney, the Vermont farm and prep boarding school to which the elites sent their children to be educated and to work the soil. Adam sat at the head of the tables and within a few words or sentences held our complete attention.

It was a story about a small cadre of miscreants sneaking smokes (his brand of choice would have been Larks back then) and listening to 45s on a portable turntable, both illicit adventures at Putney. He made real the peculiar world of boarding school, where you are liberated from parents only to be held prisoner by adults often less intelligent than you are. A German task master, both despised and imitated by the students, figured in the story. This particular teacher would ever extol the virtues of potatoes, and it was at the potato storage bin that the naughty ones would gather to smoke and gossip and bathe in rock and roll. Adam being Adam, there would have been a digression at this point in the story to explain the enduring virtue and importance of Paul Revere and the Raiders. The kids hated potatoes because they had to dig potatoes, a very simple quid pro quo. So you can imagine where they pissed when they needed to. The punch line, of course, is the German at dinner in the dining hall spearing a potato with his fork and holding it aloft to sing its praises and encourage the reluctant to dig in.

It was a simple story, really, but Adam told it with absolute control and authority, knowing from the first word where he was headed, laying down layers of detail and nuance exactly where they were needed, never overloading any one element, never exhausting either the tale or the audience, letting the laugh lines emerge without any effort or artifice. He spoke in perfectly parsed sentences, a magnificent flow of language. The story went on and on and on and we all sat there, hanging on every word. And when he finished the tale, holding aloft an imaginary pissed on potato and praising it in a thick German accent, we all erupted with cheers and laughter and applause. And much to our surprise, so too did the entire restaurant. Every table had fallen silent to hear the tale, to feel the magic. Adam lifted his Singha to toast the room, making what had transpired seem a simple, almost insignificant thing.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

from Ellen Jenkins - San Francisco

I was dismayed to see Adam's picture while glancing through the paper last Sunday. I only knew Adam a little bit - through his roommate, over twenty years ago - but I remember him clearly and liked him very much. He was eccentric, funny and fearless. I'll never forget his practice of drying his hair over an open oven turned up full blast, his Grace Jones posters, his many waist-high stacks of reading material, his fondness for Zippy the Pinhead. And I remember Adam liked to argue, but in a good, teasing way. I was in my twenties and fairly new to the City and thought he was one of the most fascinating people I'd ever met...I also remember going to a Bob Dylan concert in Berkeley with Adam and his brother Kenan....

Ellen Jenkins

note: For more information on Zippy find link at right side of Blog above photos.

from Dr. Jay Lalezari

I'm not sure it makes any difference, but Adam didn't die of AIDS.
I believe HIV regretted the day it ever met Adam.
That's one battle the virus never won.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

from R.M Campell - Seattle

Adam Block was a life force, with wit, style, personality.
He copied no one because he was so singular himself, in attitude and manner. Nearly everything he did he did with all the intelligence at his disposal, which was considerable. He used those brains to give spark to his opinions, which were sometimes based on nothing but his own quirky taste. He was fast-talking, fast-living, vastly amusing, sometimes vastly egocentric, sweeping through life as if it were his oyster. On occasion it was.
Ideas flowed out of him, often in rapid succession. Although I don't think he ever took up debate, in a formal sense, he would have excelled in it because he could take any idea, no matter how far-fetched, and give it credence, if only on a superficial level.

To spend an evening with Adam in San Francisco was always a cornucopia of events and people. It would begin at his North Beach apartment, filled with a horrific clutter of magazines, newspapers and books plus yesterday's garbage and laundry and dirty dishes. Tidiness was not one of Adam's priorities. There would always be drinks and perhaps other amusements, then out the door for another drink with friends or acquaintances, or even someone on the street, then maybe a cocktail party, a stop at a shop, dinner, a concert, a movie, ending up in a bar somewhere in town. One could check out any moment. He would not be offended, wishing you the best and moving on with his own agenda for the night.

He could be difficult and irritating but inevitably memorable. His hard last days would have been even more dire without the steady love and care of his brother Kenan.

R.M Campell

from James Grauerholz - Lawrence, Kansas

I knew Adam almost 34 years, I loved him, I will miss him.

I've been writing at some reminiscences for the memorial blog. He was one of a kind. If only he had written (and left to us) more about his own life, and less (as he called it) "fishwrap" ... But as he'd say, "it's been a hell of an edumacation, darlin'."

James Grauerholz

from Vicki Topaz - San Francisco

Although I only knew Adam for a relatively short while, he touched me deeply with his unending enthusiasm, vitality, and courage--we always had a good giggle together. He was at our home a few times for various parties and one small dinner party where we probably engaged in our longest discussions. Truly a joy!

I hope you are recuperating from this tremendous loss. It is fortunate for Adam that he was able choose a departure date (which I believe he did) but so difficult for all of us to mend the gap.

Wishing you well.

Warm regards,

Vicki Topaz

from Marianne Painter

I am so sorry to hear about Adam.

Reading the blog was really great. I only met him once at Tamara and Schuyler's--but I have to say, he made quite an impression. Who could ask for more?


from Bob and Lynn Stevens - Seattle

We are so very sorry over the loss of Adam.

Like the rest of his extraordinary family, Adam has left his mark. I remember so well, lunching with your father after he was confined to his bed. He was so very proud of all his childeren and he never tired of sharing stories of their latest achievements.

This world and it's people are better for having shared some time with the Block boys.

God bless!

Bob and Lynn Stevens

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

from Libby Burke and Brad Robison (Pahoa, HI)

February 5, 2008
Aloha Daniel, Kenan and Susanna from Libby Burke & Brad Robison (together 10 years and living on the Big Island of Hawai'i)

We heard from Jay Robison the news about Adam from the Seattle Times. We deeply feel your loss. We each have our own memories of Adam when we were at Hidden Valley Camp together; I (Libby) remember him as a good friend and intellectual playmate--someone I looked up to and relied upon to keep things interesting. I'll always appreciate that he turned me on to Kurt Vonnegut one Rainy Day in the Lodge.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and all the family.

Aloha nui, Libby & Brad

from Rusty Hyde

Nobody who ever met Adam could forget having done so. I just related to Jan the moment at your wedding when you and Kristin did the little wine toast in that lovely outdoor setting, and after you handed your glass to Adam, he took a good look at it and with a notable flourish downed the remaining contents. He was the definition of individuality, and, yes, he had a hell of a run.



from Lisa Pious

I was so sorry to hear about Adam. I only knew him vaguely through my Hidden Valley Camp friendship with Susanna some 40 years ago, but remember thinking at the time that he was a bright light.

I inherited an amazing stamp collection from one of Susanna's older brothers, possibly Adam... I had no idea we were across-the-bay neighbors for the last 30 years.

My condolences to all of you -

- Lisa Pious

Article by Don Baird

The Passing of Adam Block By Don Baird Published: January 31, 2008

Just before press time early Sunday, I received the very sad news that my friend and colleague Adam Block had died peacefully in his sleep at home in the company of his brother Kenan, after suffering a lengthy respiratory ailment and other complications due to AIDS. It feels strange to say it, those four big letters, but I remember about 23 years ago I eulogized a popular local performer when he succumbed to AIDS. I never got around to revealing the cause of his death because it just felt so extreme to say back then, and that performer wasn’t gay. I felt very conflicted about telling the world that he fell victim to the relatively new killer disease that was starting to decimate the gay community. ........


from Alan and Mary Morgan

Alan and I were saddened to hear of Adam's passing and we send our condolences to the entire family.

We first met Adam at one of those stimulating, contentious and entertaining dinners at East Boston Terrace, that particular one punctuated (not unusually) by your father thumping his fist on the table and Adam storming out of the room. We thought it was just part of the Block family dynamic - no one seemed to take it very seriously.

We've seen Adam just a few times over the past years including one memorable encounter at Bay Meadows when the Gremlin was running - Adam certainly livened up the day! There are some wonderful messages on the web-site that pay homage to Adam. I'm sure everyone will miss his unique personality.


Mary Morgan

from Annie Janowitz

I first met Adam in 1971 at Reed College, and met up with him again in the1980s when he lived across the street from Wyatt Landesman's Post CardStore, where I slept in the upstairs store-room and wrote my phd dissertation.

Adam was someone who opened up the world to me by teaching me about wit and literate conversation. I was working at city lights and he was living in the art gallery run by his friend Steve ??? Who was also a Reedie. Adam was one of the original postcard people -- he had beautiful spindlyhandwriting and his cards were always funny.

He stayed for a month or so with my family in NYC when he was on his way to London sometime in the mid1970s. Adam was a model of how to find pleasure and delight in the world. I adored him.

My deepest condolences to his family and his friends.

Annie Janowitz

Monday, February 4, 2008

from Lilly Gershuny - Uncle Noel's Sister

Just got the message from Skip on the demise of Adam. Sad it is and I hope he didn't suffer too much before closing his eyes. Met him only once but always had the impression that he was too smart and witty for his own good. I read a few of his writings and they were, indeed, superb. My deep condolences to all of the family,


from Jessica Chereskin

My deepest sympathies to you and your family on Adam's death. I couldn't get up the courage to visit him after he returned to his SF apartment, but he was frequently in my thoughts. Reading the postings on the memorial blog reminded me how diverse, devoted and perceptive are his many friends. His spirit was unique and he will be missed.


from Brian Wishnefsky

I have known Adam for approximately 22 years. I met
him thru my friend Marc. I always got a kick out of
running into Adam at the Bars. He always called me by
my last name. I remember seeing him at a bar when I
was smoking a Meerschaum "Sherlock Holmes" pipe, he
walked up to me and said: I see you're working on a
I visited him a couple times recently when he was in
San Leandro. He kept mentioning he was craving Tacos and I brought him some.
I really liked Adam but as you can tell we were basically acquaintances.

I just found out Adam attended Cal Arts so did I 1974 thru 1976.
If anyone out there knows when Adam was at Cal Arts
I'd appreciate hearing from you.

from Lisa Pelly

As I read through these remembrances it brings back wonderful memories of 1617 and wandering around Seattle with Adam. Adam, as all have testified, was a remarkable person, like no other.... I can't wait for all of the stories on March 6th.
Love to all the Blocks.


from Tony Apostolakos

I have just learned of your brother's passing and I would like to express my condolensces to you and your family.


Tony Apostolakos
U.S. Director
Masi Agricola

from Georgia Galvin (Kathy Block's Sister)

I remember meeting Adam in Seattle when I came to visit you in Portland when I was 13. I thought he was so thrilling. I always had a soft spot for him.
... I'm glad Adam didn't have to make a last trip up here if he wanted to die at home. I sort of thought he'd just go on and on. I'm sorry for this loss.



from Merrill Jung and Family (Adam's Landlord)

My deepest condolence for your loss. I was taken back after learning about Adam checking out. I sure Adam will find peace and I believed that he called things on his terms to the end...

Merrill Jung & Family

from Alex and Elka Kopp (Miller)

Our sincere condolences to you and your family. Our thoughts are with you all.

Elka and Alex

from Kathy Galvin Block

G-d bless you for having the courage and compassion to see Adam out as gracefully and lovingly as you have. I can't think of anyone else who could have handled this long and difficult journey; I'm really grateful that we all had the peace of mind you gave us by taking this on.

So many memories...

xox love Kathy

from Sara Cherrell

I am so sorry to hear about Adam ... What a loss for you and your family.

He sounds like an incredible individual, and I imagine you feel very lucky to have had him as your brother.

We are thinking of you.

Much love,


from Patti Parson

Oh I am so very very sorry. I can only imagine how painful this must be. And what a loss to your family—and to the world. Thank you for sending me this.

Love, Patti

from Stuart Schear

I am so sorry to learn about Adam. He did hang in there for a very long time, against great odds, but it is never easy to have someone who is truly irreplaceable leave us.

I am glad to know you were with him at the end. There is no other place to be at that time. I wish i could give you a hug. Please take care.

With love,


from Carol Seifert

I am so sorry to hear about Adam's passing.

I remember a ruckus evening at our old house. After a wonderful evening over dinner, you, David, and I were ready to retire and Adam was headed to some clubs so we made him a cup of "real" coffee and off he went.

His life was too short but he probably did more living during his 56 years than many do in 80 or 90. He's a model of making every day count.

We miss you so much.



from Meade Emory

Sincere sympathy ...



from Mark Sidran

Saddened to hear of Adam's passing. From the obit, he sounds like a fascinating character. I see in you what appear to be certain familial traits, but fortunately you (Kenan) have Adam's better qualities (mostly!).

Warm thoughts during this difficult time,


from David Pritchard and Clifford Bunch

Clifford and I are sad to hear of the passing of Adam. Our thoughts are with all of you.

Clifford & David

from Peter Goldman and Martha Kongsgaard

Please accept my most sincere condolences. ..


from Martha Silano

Lang told me the news this evening. I'm so sorry.
The obit is wonderfull. I like that it's informational, heartwarming, and even manages to be funny. It gets to the essence of Adam--a bright, successful, complex, humorous man. I never met him, but I wish I had.

...our thoughts are with you.

Lots of love,


from Rabbi Anson Laytner.

I am so sorry to hear this news!

If I can help you or your family in any way, please call.

I mean it!


from Charles Krause

I am very sad to hear of Adam's death. I only met him once but he was

Best Charles

from Tim Kent

I am so sorry. ...

from Lynn Frank

I'm very sorry for your loss. I spoke with Kenan and he filled me in. I probably won't be able to come to the memorial, but my thoughts and prayers are with the family. Adam was an individual. Bless him for his uniqueness! I'm glad that he went in peace.

Lynn Frank

from Bob Kollack

Sorry to hear about Adam...

Bob Kollack

from Japhet Asher


Here in London, I noticed your Skype symbol had gone to a pale grey X, just like eyes in the cartoons, and now I find that you really are gone. What will I do without my “Wailing Wall”?

You never really forgave me for leaving San Francisco and one thing you would never be is a hypocrite. I knew you’d never leave willingly. Despite all the obvious evidence to the contrary, I never quite believed that this could really happen.

So from the distance of miles I’m going to keep on thinking of you in your flat in North Beach, on top of and surrounded by mountains of paper, chewing on the long forbidden plastic ciggy holders, and pontificating on just about anything and everything with the scary recall of the blessed and possessed. You had me believing that anything is possible. And that is an extraordinary gift, pal.

Keep on raging, Adam, wherever you are! And I’ll try to believe. But life will be a paler grey without you.

Cathy sends love. So do I.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

From Jessica Chereskin

As these postings express, Adam was a unique, charismatic man who influenced a diverse and devoted circle of friends. I thank him for introducing me to wonderful people and experiences I would have never known otherwise, and for remaining close over many years.

from Glen Paulson

To the Block Clan –

The Seattle notice was so well done, summing up as it did, the essential Adam.
It’s not only in remembrance that we identify the grander figures in our lives - with Adam one knew all along.

We haven’t been in contact for many years, as our lives took their different turns, and I was frustrated, perhaps, at the insignificance of a life such as mine in a life such as his.

I am glad, nonetheless, for the times we did have, many in the genial warmth and general chaos of the house on Boston Terrace.

Please accept the humble condolences I extend to a great family losing a problematic and wonderful son, brother, uncle and friend.

Yours Very Sincerely,
Glenn Paulson

from Alastair Johnston

A friend of mine, Adam Block, just died. He was a craggy cowboy type, and drawled a bit like Ed Dorn. He was a music journalist also: he wrote for CREEM and similar venues, about rock and roll, interviewed Bono, Elton John and so on. He was larger than life and always bragging about his buddies Greil Marcus and Gus Van Sant. One night in fact we were at dinner and Gus Van Sant called him to say he was in town with Keanu Reeves and where was a cool bar to hit. I think he sent them to Aub's Zam Zam Room. I started believing his tall tales after that.

Adam was a crazy guy ready with the grand gesture. Always sniffing copious amounts of coke and drinking us under the table. He was a gay Jew from Texas so he had no choice but to be outrageous and that was what we loved about him. But guys like me reached a point where we gave up on the excess. I didn't become anti-drug, I just didn't feel the need to be getting high all the time, yet Adam felt it was his duty.

Maybe he was doing it for us. To show us that, yes, you could be pushing 60 and still acting like a kid. Dumping anything into your body and asking for more. I see balding guys with pony tails and have to laugh. They missed the boat long ago. But Adam was younger than me, so that makes me feel more mortal. Still, he had a great life.

I went to see him in a hospice a few months ago. We went onto the roof so he could smoke. He had to take off his oxygen mask to get the cigarette into his mouth. He never stopped.

from Fred Strasser - Montclair NJ

It’s disheartening to see the best minds of your generation begin to disappear down the rat hole of time

I last saw Adam when I graduated from the Putney School in June 1967 , so for me time and illness have taken no toll at all. He remains in my mind’s eye a pudgy, restless, quirky kid with a high voice and a rapier wit. He wasn’t in my circle and, high school being what it is, that was that. Still, Adam in his sports coat (at a place where fashion ranged from flannel to denim) always made me stop and listen. He was funny and sharp and smart. I read his stuff later and thought how much I had missed by not paying closer attention. Forty years on I’m still wondering why, rather than using the bridge, did he push up his glasses on the lenses. How does he see through the smudges, I wondered?

Reading the tributes here, I realize he saw it in his own way.

My deepest condolences to family and friends.

Fred Strasser

Saturday, February 2, 2008

from Jay and Julie Friedman - Seattle

Of course we will attend. I love seeing the pictures of Robert J. and the rest of you! My earliest memories of our families go way back to a camping trip at the Iron Springs resort. Time moves us forward and hurdles us through events and layers of experience.
I will always hold dear my time with of you and your family.Please know my heart goes out to all of you.

May you find comfort in the cherished memories
and the warm embrace of your family.
Jay sends his love as well.

Julie Friedman

from Jan Dudley

I was saddened to hear about Adam's death.

When I oozed into the Block Bubble, Adam had already quit the scene but his presence hovered like a scent redolent of lavender and lemons and persistent as hell.

What a piece of work! One night Adam, Daniel and I went out to a underground bar under the Alaskan Viaduct and danced with every stereotype of dysfunctional one can imagine. It was one of the best evenings of my life!

He was challenging in the way it would be if you were invited to attend the Algonquin Round Table and spent time with Thurber, Alexander Woolcott and Dorothy Parker, or maybe an evening with Oscar Wilde! I was totally disabled.

He scared the hell out of me.

Your obituary was spot on and appreciated.

Warmest regards,

Jan Dudley

Friday, February 1, 2008

from Suzie Rashkis

Through 37 years of unrelenting friendship, Adam has been at one time or another my champion, critic, concert date, dance partner, confidante, consoler, adviser, deejay, teacher, nudger, social director, eyes, ears, memory, and on it goes.... Clearly, I was far from alone in my good fortune, nor am I now in my sadness.

Thank You to Adam's friends and family for your companionship and support, especially in the past year.



from Schuyler Ingle

I can't believe I ever had so much hair on my upper lip. Gone are the days. It would be interesting to know what the drug count was in any given photo.

Some of the pieces of how Adam died have come together for me, through Farrell. I had no idea the move to Bailey-Bushay was on.

So it seems that, Adam being Adam, he chose where and when he wanted to pass over. He managed to have the last word, surrounded by people who loved him, Bob Dylan in his ears, morphine in his bloodstream. Now how sweet is that?

Like Melville said, "The sidelong billow swells to whelm my track. But first, I pass."

Sunday's my day. I am hoping for a beautiful day. But beautiful day or not I have a nice cigar to smoke and the time to smoke it and a subject to hold my thoughts. I'll be thinking of you

Cheers, Schuyler

More Writings of Adam

Fred Nemo has collected some of Adam's Writings and has kindly passed them on.
I post them on the link below with thanks to Fred for his efforts in finding some traces of Adam's work.

Fred also has some photocopies of Advocate articles written before digitalization which I will try to scan and post later.

If you have any writings or letters you would like to add, please e mail them to

from Arlene Hochfeld

I was so sorry to hear about Adam,

I would agree he had a long run and did his best. I know it is hard to loose a family member and especially a sibling, You will always have those memories to treasure and hope it helps in your loss.



Thursday, January 31, 2008

from Hans Nelsen

Adam remained a big figure in my life, like he was for quite a few others. There in my imagination he holds a presence, although we saw each other seldom, every few years, and he always quite sarcastic. Yet, I knew he cared deeply.

Its very sad that he is gone.I had tried to reach him a few times recently, but never quite connected. Naturally, there is a sense of deep regret. If only, and all that.

Words fail at these times. We are simply with you and your family in the loss, and our friend, who was such a lively mind and spirit.

I'll be at the memorial.


from Hans Nelsen

Adam and I were very close during our teens. We must have exchanged a hundred letters during high school. He was at Putney and I at Garfield in Seattle. He was a huge influence on me. His knowledge of art, literature and travel helped to open my eyes to the world. We spent the summer of '69 hitchhiking around together
in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. He was one of a circle of compatriots, the frequenters of Fishtown and Laconner.

Always brash, sarcastic, full of feeling, easily hurt, inconsiderate, but full of passion for his friends. He had a special sort of insight, brilliant in so many ways. In our early years I would have given anything to think he thought of me the same way.

I saw less of him as the years went by, but he remains one of those few figures in my imagination that spring from one's childhood and remain present in one's life despite distance.

from Na'aman & Varda Gershuny family - Israel

Just heard the sad news regarding Adam.
Although it was expected the final news must have come as a shock.

Please accept our sincere condolences

Naaman, Varda, Michael, Racheli & Frode

from Greil Marcus

I was thinking today about Adam's writing and when he stopped. It's been a long time since Adam wrote as a mainstream journalist, for Mother Jones, the San Francisco Examiner magazine Image, and more.

His work was distinctive. There was a sense of personal engagement--the feeling that the subject at hand mattered to him--but that never got in the way of the reader; the writing was not personal. It was rigorous, carefully reported, and while Adam was able to get people like Bono to open up as others could not, that wasn't trumpeted; what you read came across as ordinary speech.

If anything, Adam could fit stories about which he was passionate, with dynamic and conflicted feelings, too closely into a conventional journalistic format. He lacked the self-confidence, as a writer, to test editorial expectations, to break rules. The expansiveness, insistence, demanding energy of Adam talking wasn't in his writing as much as it should have been. He was a professional, hiding his deep friendships with people he wrote about, their respect for him, his for them.

I was sorry for years that he stopped writing. I regret it again now.

All best,

Greil Marcus

from Wilho Saari (Naselle, WA)

My condolences to the Block family. I had Adam in music class in the sixth grade at I.I. Stevens many, many years ago! I have fond memories of Adam. May God be with you all during this time of sorrow. Sincerely,

Wilho Saari, teacher at Stevens from 1960-1966.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

from Veronica Donella, Verona

I am one of those who had the pleasure to meet Adam, and spend some time with him.

I remember him as an artist, with a superior intelligence. He updated me on all the latest psychiatric discoveries on various mental diseases, made me see the movie “Rimbaud” on his notebook, and most of all, in our long walk through Verona taught me that I should never be depressed because I live in the middle of history and all what surrounds me (architecture and art) should give me the force to overcome any difficulty.

I know that since that conversation I started to be aware of my European and Italian roots, and lately I realized that I could never live in a place with less than 3000 years of history! So I could say that Adam was the one who made me appreciate my country, and in a way gave my a reason to start to love it .

Love to you and a prayer for Adam


from Ned and Jakie Martin

Please accept our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your brother Adam. While I did not ever have the pleasure of meeting Adam, your wonderful words made me keenly aware that it was my loss not to have known such an exceptional person.

Ned and Jakie

from Carol Nelsen

I read in the paper about Adam's death. The obituary was very nice. I did not know Adam well, but I remember him fondly.

I will never forget the parties that my family came to at your Dad's place; you grew up in a great family. I was always impressed.

Hans and Adam were closer than I was with Adam. I guess I just wasn't his type!

My family send you and your family our best and know that this is a difficult time for each of you.
I would love to be able to come to the memorial service if you could let me know about it. I will let Hans know as well.

If there is anything that I can do to help you, please do not hesitate to ask.



from Fred Nemo - aka Scott Bullitt

It's a shock to lose Adam all of a sudden. I spent an enthralling and non-stop afternoon with him last fall, strolling around North Beach trying to get a word in. It had been some time, and he served me up a banquet, including the single greatest name-drop in history.

I've sometimes felt that he and I switched maternal role-models at the tenderest age - he following the razor-sharp hit-woman Carolyn, and me the assiduous nurturer that was your mom. Not that i am not acerbic, or that he was not fully loving. I have the most striking early memories of him.

So sorry for your loss,

Fred Nemo

from Dr. William Schwartzman

I am so sad that Adam is gone.

I will miss his funny, loving, annoying, humane menschlichkeit as will you all.

I remember him the last time I was in San Francisco , searching for a little no frills Chinese restaurant with great reviews.

Adam walked slowly and puffed; but was ever debonair in his fedora, leather jacket and scarf.

The food was fantastic and Adam was putting his usual energy into rapid fire questions, stories and acid commentary. When I last spoke to him, before the holidays, he was straining at his physical limits, trying to comprehend his choices, his mind burdened by lack of oxygen, but still analyzing and questioning.

Thank you for sharing his last moments.

I add my condolences to everyone’s.


Dr. Bill

from Barbara Lamphere

I’m so sorry to hear of Adam’s passing. He was a great guy. I didn’t know him well, but always enjoyed my interactions with him when we were in Seattle together. Arguing late into the night about this or that, he was always the last man standing. I’m sure it’s hard on you all to lose your brother, I can’t imagine.

Give my love to your siblings and hug one another extra tight.

All my love,


from Ann Senechal

Katherine sent me your obituary of Adam, which so perfectly captured his spirit -- that infectious curiosity in constant play with a steady stream of show-stopping ideas.

It has been decades since I've seen him, but now he has returned wholly formed, talking a mile a minute, intensely, across far-ranging subjects, in the clearest part of my memory. That's surely a testament to Adam's originality, energy, and remarkable intelligence.

I'm so sorry you've lost your brother, but what a relief to know he's free of his horrible illness. All my thoughts,


from Luc Deroches - Commercial Director Masi

I been informed today regarding the death of your brother, I will like to offer my warmest sympathy.



from Tom and JoAnn Keefe

JoAnn and I were both saddened to learn of Adam's passing.

He was definitely one of a kind, a Seattle original. We know that you and his other siblings will be comforted by many fond memories of his love of life and his full speed ahead demeanor.

Thanks for letting us know. Best regards to all.


from Raffaele and Deborah Boscaini, Verona Italy

I feel really very close to both of you in this sad time. I never had the opportunity to meet with your brother Adam, but knowing you and reading his obit seems to me to have lost a great chances to have another good friend from Seattle.

Togethar with Deborah I would like to send you a warm hug being convinced that your always positive approach in life will help you to look to the future.



from Debbie and Peter Brody

We wish to extend to you all our sincere condolences for the loss of the irreplaceable Adam.

We got to have dinner with him a couple years ago and so can confirm the accuracy and consistency of the wonderful epitaph's description.
The world is indeed more tedious when it loses such a one. That must be more so for those closest to him. Our best to you all.

Debbie and Peter

from Sandro Boscaini - Verona Italy

Daniel had already informed me about the loss of your brother Adam. I feel very close to you and wish you to feel the strength to go through this moment of sorrow.
I saw Daniel very touched by the event. There is not much to say in these situations, the only thing we can do is to offer you and Daniel our greatest friendship and support.

With deepest sympathy,

Sandro, Raffaele and all Masi's staff

From Anais Winant, Mark Sidran’s wife

I am thinking of you as you say your final farewell to your high spirited Adam.

Coming from a large, decidedly bright but definitely difficult and surely dramatic, when not tragic or despairing, family, I feel like I know Adam and understand you all the more. I am thankful you are in my life albeit not daily. Still you are there.

My warm thoughts and unwavering affection,


from Myra White, Admissions Director at Bailey-Boushay House

I just now took the time to fully read the obit on Adam.
It was beautifully worded. I passed it on to Brian Knowles, our director and his response back to me was: "I'm really sorry I didn't get to meet him....

Take good care,

With Respect and Sympathy,


from Llewelyn Pritchard - Washington DC

SAD NEWS about a charming but acerbic kid - ALWAYS fascinating.

Llew in DC

from Brad and Anne O'Connor

Hi Daniel:

Of course, we were saddened by Adam's death in part because we knew him but also because he in many ways was so much like my sister Cathy who died last March 7, also of chronic lung disease.

Like Adam, Cathy was a nonconformist who marched not to the drumbeat of conventional behavior, but to whatever she damned well wanted to do, all too often at her own peril.

It was a rough ride for all of us with seldom a dull moment during -- and long before -- Cathy's illness. Now that she's gone, our lives, too, are calmer, quieter and also far less interesting.


Brad and Anne

from Skip and Jackie Kotkins

So sorry to hear about Adam. But the obit was true to the man and I am sure he would have loved and approved of it. Please pass along our condolences to all the rest of the family.

Jackie and Skip

from Gordon Wilcox

I am sorry to see this, but applaud your very good obit for your garrulous brother, whom I liked and appreciated.


from David Falsberg

Well said – RIP.
Adam will be happy to find out that there are indeed drugs and alcohol in the afterworld and they can’t kill you.

Best wishes to all of you.


from Gerry Johnson

Sorry to hear it ....Please keep us posted on the memorial arrangements.

We'll be thinking of him

from Liz Lambert

So sad to hear . . . I know how much you will miss him.
I will miss just knowing that he’s around in this world. Please let me know about the memorial. I would love to come. Either SF or Seattle.

Love to you and your family.


from Tina Hollingsworth and Stim Bullitt

I'm so sorry for the loss of Adam. Our thoughts are with you. Stim has dear memories of your parents. He's told me how outstanding your mother was. Whenever we drive by a certain tennis court, he remembers the good times playing tennis with your dad. ......


from Alec Fisken & Kathy McGinnis

I'm so sorry about this, ........ The obituary is truly inspired!

love from us all,

Kathy and Alec

from Skip Berger

So sorry to hear about this. A hell of a run indeed.
My thoughts are with all you Blocks.



from Dr. Ronnie S. Stangler

G-d bless.
We love you, Adam.
And we all offer the deepest respect and admiration to Kenan, Susanna, Dr. J and to all of you who rendered such generous and tender care especially these last terrible days, but consistently through this long illness.

Adam was primal life force. I hope somewhere in Adam's own writings and ravings, we may find a few words that reflect the man: the wildness, originality, loyalty, passion, fierceness, and ultimately the love.

Candolences to each of you, family and friends.

Peace, Adam.

from Bette and Bennett Miller

We heard the sad news about Adam this morning and Bennett and I want to extend our sympathy to all the Blocks. Adam and Dean will be having themselves a jolly good time, but we can say that they are both at peace now and not suffering any more. Nevertheless, it is a loss felt by all of us, and especially now that the six Block siblings are only five.

Our thoughts are with all of you at this sad time. Please let us know if there is anything any of us can do for you.

Much love,

Bette and Bennett

from Jill Bullitt

How huge Adam was in all of our lives. How difficult it must have been for you to have had to be so far away. Yet how difficult it must have been sometmes to have him as a brother. And finally , how entertaining and even reassuring.I love your family. I love how , despite great difficulties you have been able to be close. I am so very sorry for your loss.

I sorely miss him. love, Jill

I am so sorry.

from Kerry and Leslie Miller

Sorry to hear about Adam’s passing this morning. At least it was peaceful. An end to a colorful life without a doubt. I, along with many others, have definite memories of times with Adam. For me, there were post 1st marriage times both in Dallas as well as in Albuquerque that Adam blessed us with glimpses of another world that I would not have experienced otherwise. I feel blessed for that.

My condolences and love to all of the Blocks. Please extend our love to all from Leslie and I.

Thank you for the continually updates over the past months. You have been and exceptional brother.


from Dr. Rick Loftus

Thank you for letting me know; I will make light offerings, as is my custom when patients pass away.

It was very moving for me to see such a large tribe of people do all they could for Adam; I know he was well-loved.

I am glad he passed peacefully with the people he cared about around him.



from Joe and Shelly Milkes

Thanks for letting us know. We are so sorry. You have our sincere condolescences. Keep in touch.


Joe and Shelley

from Schuyler and Joyce Ingle

Joyce and I send our love and condolences. When those old growth trees drop out in the forest like that, there's no replacement. I am grateful for the grade school and young man images I can carry in my heart -- so full of vitality. ...


from Dorthy Bullitt

I am sorry that you (all) have lost Adam. When Ben died, your brother Daniel was the first person to pay his respects. I shall always associate our mourning with your family's support. Like us, you had six kids. Now five. But that fifth will always be present on some level. Well into our old age.

Please accept my sympathy, It is heart felt.


from Greil and Jenny Marcus

We sat home yesterday keeping dry. We wish we had known what was going on with Adam and come over to say hello, goodbye, whatever. We are so unhappy. Not unhappy that Adam’s suffering is over, but that his last two years were so miserable. We will miss him, barking and all. How can I ever look at maple syrup, 100%, without thinking of him......

Let us know when the memorial is. We will be there.



from Margret Bullitt

I was saddened to hear of Adam's death. I had no idea he'd been ill. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your brother. Thank you for letting us know.

from Mark Levine

Our heart goes out to you and the family....what a brillant light Adam was. We are in your old neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta for the month. We walked the beach yesterday and thought
....we will be home for the 6th of March

God bless him...

Mark and John

from David Rigsbee

I'm so sorry to hear about Adam's passing. I know his image has been and will be vivid for you and all who loved him. Jill was very down to hear this news. As one who has lost a sibling, I can say in truth that I know how such a loss feels.

Adam was the only person on the family side who agreed to come to Jill's 50th birthday party in Paris, and she was so grateful for that.

My condolences

Warm regards,