Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Paul Williams: Archive Of A Major Figure In The American Counter Culture


We are looking for a library or public collection that agrees to keep Paul Williams' work available for public viewing and reference. A home that will honor his great work as an author, publisher/creator of CRAWDADDY Magazine, writer of common sense philosophy (Das Energi, etc), writings on the work Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Neil Young and more. As well as confidant  of and later, literary executor of Philip K Dick  and editor to to the complete writings of Theodore Sturgeon.
Last November I shared with you all that at long last, the Paul Williams storage units were being cleaned out and Paul's boxes, papers, and files shipped to New York to be catalogued and processed. That was done by Henry Wesselles for James Cummins Booksellers who specialize in rare books and collections. 
Henry was the best guy for the job, and came highly recommended by David Hartwell of Tor Books (and Paul's long-time friend) and Patti Smith. Henry has gently gone through every file and box and envelope that Paul kept, with a fine tooth comb, and with love and admiration, finding a lot of very interesting stuff. 

Henry Wessells will have a few special Paul Williams items on display at: 
The NY Art Book Fair at MOMA -PS1  Thursday 17 September.
Please help us get the word out

Here's a link to the Paul Williams page at Cummins Bookseller 

photo by David Hartwell 1967 CRAWDADDY office

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How CRAWDADDY Issue Four Found It's Way Home

A few weeks ago I put word up on Facebook that the Paul S Williams archive was looking for CRAWDADDY issue #4 from 1966 (the one with Dylan on the cover) to complete Paul's only set. I was contacted by Kris Raiman who generously and kindly offered her copy. Not only that, she had a great story to go along with it, which you can read below. 

Thank you so much Kris! I'm excited that Paul's archive, including your issue #4, will soon find a proper home in a University Library or Public Collection. This is what Paul would want. And he would smile and get a real kick out of your story...

Kris (Weistraub) Raiman 1967

How Issue Four Found Its Way Home
by Kris Raiman

In 1968, when I was still known as Kris Weintraub, I went to see The Doors at the Fillmore East, which happened to be just two blocks from my apartment. I was so impressed by this show I wrote a letter to my best friend back in Connecticut describing my transcendent experience. My then husband dared me to send a copy to Crawdaddy! This was a month before we divorced, so it occurred to me later that the suggestion may have been sarcastic on his part. (He was not a big fan of my writing.) But to his (and my) amazement, I soon received the fateful postcard from Paul, a copy of which I share with you all, that my letter was to be transformed into an article to be published in the June 1968 issue. Since it truly was a letter to my friend I had not given it a title, so Paul had used my ecstatic salutation of Oh Caroline! as the name of the piece. I have treasured that postcard and kept it safe since the day I received it.

I got divorced and moved in with a friend in New Rochelle while I looked for my own place. We both worked at the same company on Madison Avenue so, as often as I could, I headed down to the loft on Canal Street after work and absorbed the energy. I was drawn to Paul, not just because of Crawdaddy! although I still remember the day I read in 16 Magazine, of all places, about this guy my own age up in Boston who had decided to start a magazine for people who understood that the new music was changing the world; people who took the music seriously and cared about more than what that new singer’s favorite color was. I wanted more of the “going beyond the surface and releasing the spirit” that was coming through, and I wanted to hang out with other people who felt the same way. No one could have been a more perfect companion on this journey of exploration of music and spirit than Paul.

He was always encouraging and gentle with me when I turned in something for consideration and we were both very proud when Robert Christgau sent me a note on Esquire letterhead praising my review of The Buckinghams (Issue 17). (I still have that too.) But even though I never actually intended to pursue a career in rock journalism, I know that those few months with Paul at Crawdaddy! influenced me on a higher level- and probably vice versa, although I make no claims to that, but energy is always exchanged in any relationship, so it would make sense. I told him once that I felt like most of our relationship took place on another plane. He seemed bemused by the thought, which I later thought odd coming from the guy who wrote Das Energi, but I stand by it. We were soul friends, whether we were near each other or not; whether we communicated regularly or not; and that connection lasted for over 40 years.

Anyway - Issue 4.
I think it was when Oh Caroline! came out in May of ‘68, Issue 16, that I went down to the office to collect a few copies and mentioned that I had been a subscriber since at least Issue 6*. Paul immediately went over to the shelves that held stacks of copies of back issues and loaded me up with most of the ones I was missing. (A couple of slots were empty, alas.) So I received Issue 4 directly from Paul’s hands that day. When Cindy Lee said she needed Issue 4 to complete Paul’s personal archive, I immediately checked my collection and found it. How could I not offer it up for such a noble purpose? Paul had published my very first national piece. He had been unfailingly supportive of me for over 40 years. He was my professional and spiritual mentor. It’s an honor to be the one to restore Issue 4 to its rightful home.
Be well, Paul. Your legacy lives on.

*I would have been a charter subscriber if I had known Crawdaddy! existed before I read that little blurb in 16. I send profound thanks to the editor, Gloria Stavers. She may have run a teen fan mag, but she had a real appreciation for the music and musicians and was savvy enough to know that some of her young readers did too. Her photo of Jim Morrison wearing the beaded necklace is still probably the most iconic one ever taken. Interesting that Paul was close with Jim too, and had been able to show him Oh Caroline! as they sat together on a flight to LA. Paul told me Jim liked it. It meant the world to me that Jim understood what I was trying to say, and that Paul knew I would want to know it.