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.


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.