Tuli Kupferberg — 86 year old beat poet, musician and activist, and famed leader of the avant-folk band The Fugs — has been on the news lately. An article on him appeared in the New York Times in late January , another piece was published here, in the Forward just last week, and Tablet carried a podcast, as well.
Tuli’s friends are trying to raise awareness of his life and work, in the light of the musician’s recent stroke, which left him almost blind and in need of constant medical care. Bowery Poetry Club held a tribute concert on Saturday March 6, to collect funds to help cover Kupferberg’s medical bills — and celebrate the decades of his wild anarchist art.
Downtown poet and erotica writer Tsaurah Litsky got up on stage and sang Tuli’s pacifist anthem “Go F*** Yourself With Your Atom Bomb.” She proceeded to reminisce about the day she lost her virginity, when she felt Kupferberg’s invisible presence in the room, prodding her “go, bubbaleh, go!” They both grew up in Yiddish-speaking households, she explained, and sang out “Ikh liebe dich, Tuli!”
The club was completely packed, and no wonder: Among others who came to celebrate the work of the artist were David Amram (who’s played with Jack Kerouac and Charlie Mingus), downtown poet Steve Dalachinsky, John S. Hall and his newly reunited King Missile Band, and many others. All joined wishing the man a speedy recovery, and more fuggin’ productive years, for, as Penny Arcade (punk-cabaret singer and Andy Warhol’s protégé) put it: “I think Tuli showed us, better than anyone… youth has nothing to do with age.”
Those interested in assisting the musician to manage his medical expenses, can donate via his band’s website: http://thefugs.com/
Watch an audio slide show: