a long time friend of Paul's, active in the entertainment industry and gay rights
In these days of marriage-obsessed-media, little attention is
paid to the vow of: being there in sickness and in health'. Cindy Lee Berryhills
devotion to Paul Williams in “good times/bad times” is about the best example
since the plague years of AIDS that I can look to, to tell people “This is what
marriage means at it's core". Mutual caring and love... something that I
don't think legal paper needs, or is necessary to make honorable. I know how she struggled
to “be there “ as this beautiful, smart-mind, entered a dark cave of confusion
and memory loss.. I also know how difficult a person with Alzheimer can be to
the person they most love. She has been silent on just how hard it is in the
day-to-day struggle to be present. But many of us know first hand in this kind of situation, just what unconditional love actually means. The thought of her
playing him a Dylan tape in the last days and he telling her to “shut up”
brought a smile to my face and a sad sigh of letting go. Cindy, your friends are
here to hug and hold you and to encourage you to pick up the guitar when ready.
My memories of Paul go all the way back to the time when I was
the Editor of the Communication Company/NY, a daily news sheet put out to organize
'hippies” to the political realities of life in 1967, including the WAR. I met
Paul at some show and he would drop in at my loft at 26 Bond Street and I would
always make sure there were a stack of Communication Com. pay sheets at the
Crawdaddy office above Sing Out magazine's office on Sixth Avenue and West
Paul asked me to write for him. He was amazingly kind, and
editorially helpful to this dyslectic writer, as the words spilled out onto the
page. .. remember, he was also editing Richard Meltzer and Sandy Pearlman at
the time too. Think of those aesthetics. Ray Caviano, who later
invented the disco genre, was Crawdaddy's first ad salesman. I introduced Paul
to Don McNeil, a young writer at the Village Voice who became his best friend,
(McNeil's writings on the late '60s youth politics and culture are so much
better than Todd Gillan's).
When I decided to organize a New York Be In I asked Paul to join
me. He and Susan Hartnet, of Robert Raushenberg's EAT (Experiments in Art and
Technology), and Chilian artist and political ex-pat Claudio Badel were the
anonymous team who produced the Be In, an indelible cultural happening. While
others tried to take credit, it was we four that actually organized it.
Paul moved to California after Don's accidental acid drowning in
a beautiful lake, and began his career of writing and publishing meta-physical
and culture critique books always rooted in music. We would meet often as our
roads crossed and recognized each other as soul brothers without having to say
it. I knew Cindy as a smart singer songwriter of merit . When he told me he was
smitten I remember telling him "she can keep up with both your
intelligence and critical love of music". And she did.
Today I am both sad and relieved that he has finally move on .
His legacy is our collective task to keep alive...and to be there when Cindy and
Alexander need our support. Being an artist in these days of piracy, and now a
single mom, means being poor in pocket but rich in memory and creativity
One of the sweetest men I knew, especially in this business.
He wrote the first articles about California Feeling when I was barely beginning.
Always a kind soul and way ahead of the curve.
He has a lovely wife Cindy who has stood by him through it all and she has great compassion.
Here is a guy that was blessed and helped a lot of people.
“I wear these clothes of flesh so loosely for a time i surrender my nakedness for a garment of light. As these bones dissolve evaporate as i fall into differentiating bliss lose memory of mortality for it is only mine for a brief beautiful season. with hands it is hard to touch the soul. Let me enjoy these days I walk within find whatever is possible.” sjkalinich
Stephen Kalinich, Jackson Browne, CLB, Paul Williams 2007