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.

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