Tuesday, December 10, 2019
A POP CULTURE MOMENT (DAY 2)
Called by THE NEW YORK TIMES as "so countercultural that it made The Village Voice look like a church circular", THE EAST VILLAGE OTHER (EVO for short) first hit the stands in in October 1965. It was founded by Walter Bowart, Ishmael Reed (who named it), Allen Katzman, Dan Rattiner, Sherry Needham and John Wilcock. Bowart was listed as the publisher.
A little more professional looking than the BERKELEY BARB, the paper ran until March 1, 1972 and was essential reading for antiestablishment freaks and cognoscenti alike. As a result of it being distributed in a concentrated gay community, it included numerous advertising for hookups and other gay-centric activities (definitely not content for the aforementioned "church circular"!).
EVO was also noted for its enthusiastic fondness for underground cartoons and comix. Using work by Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch, Trina Robbins, Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton and Art Spiegelman, EVO was peppered with irreverent humor, satire, and a little sadism, to boot. This was all before the generally-acknowledged first underground comic was published in San Francisco (R. Crumb's ZAP COMIX).
Posted today are three issues of THE EAST VILLAGE OTHER, Vol. 4 No. 24, May 14 1969, Vol. 5 No. 2, December 12, 1969 and Vol. 5 No. 13, March 3 1970. Content includes material on Abbie Hoffman, Timothy Leary, the rock band MC5, the folk group The Incredible String Band, and even an ad for he movie, THE GREEN SLIME!
Walter Bowart, Alternative Journalist, Dies at 68
By Margalit Fox | The New York Times | January 14, 2008
Walter Bowart, a founder and the first publisher of The East Village Other, a New York newspaper so countercultural that it made The Village Voice look like a church circular, died on Dec. 18 in Inchelium, Wash. He was 68 and lived in Los Angeles.
The cause was cancer, his son Wolfe said.
Published twice a month from 1965 to 1972, The East Village Other was among the country’s first major underground newspapers. Founded by Mr. Bowart and three colleagues — John Wilcock, Sherry Needham and Allan Katzman — the paper had, at its height, a circulation of 60,000.
Mr. Bowart, who left the paper in 1968, was later best known for his book “Operation Mind Control” (Dell, 1978), which argued that the United States government conducted covert psychological experiments on unwitting people.
For seven heady years, The East Village Other waxed lyrical on the counterculture’s movers and shakers, among them Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and Abbie Hoffman. As publisher, Mr. Bowart (pronounced BO-art) came to national attention in 1966 after he recommended, in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, that the committee members try LSD.
The East Village Other was instantly recognizable by its psychedelic design and by its photographs of attractive young people with their consciousness raised and their clothing lowered. It was also renowned for publishing the work of cutting-edge underground cartoonists like R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman. (The paper briefly published a separate comics tabloid, Gothic Blimp Works.)
For EVO, as the paper was known, a vital revenue stream was the Personals column, which left little to the imagination, at least by mid-’60s standards. (“Frenchman, graduate student, writer, will happily share his East Village apt. with swinging chick. Excellent for learning more about French ways.”)
Perhaps out of nostalgia for the newspapers they grew up with, EVO’s editors also included a cooking column. A typical recipe began: “Toast 1/2 ounce of grass until slightly golden and dry in an iron skillet. Be careful not to burn it.”
Walter Howard Kirby was born in Omaha on May 14, 1939. Adopted as an infant by a family named Bowart, he grew up in Enid, Okla. As a young man he planned to be a painter, and after studying at the University of Oklahoma he set out for New York, where he quickly and rapturously became involved in the underground cultural scene.
Mr. Bowart’s four marriages, to Linda Dugmore, Peggy Mellon Hitchcock, Margo Jordan and Rebecca Fullerton, ended in divorce. Besides Wolfe, his son from his first marriage, who lives in Perth, Australia, Mr. Bowart is survived by two daughters from his second marriage, Sophia Bowart of San Francisco and Nuria Bowart of Berkeley, Calif.; a son from his fourth marriage, Wythe, of San Francisco; three sisters, Janet Ryan of Inchelium, Nancy Maloney of Grover Beach, Calif., and Kathy Hollis of Hamilton, Mont.; and two grandchildren.
In the late 1960s, after leaving The East Village Other, Mr. Bowart founded Omen Press, which published metaphysical books. In the late 1980s he was the editor of Palm Springs Life magazine, which, according to recent promotional materials, covers “celebrities, luxury homes, fine art and dining, fashion, golf and society.”