The Shaman of the Lower East Side is no more
May 15, 2011 3:39 AM   Subscribe

Ira Cohen passed away a couple of weeks ago aged 76 (NYT obit )
He was a friend and collaborator with William Burroughs and Brion Gysin and authored the Hashish Cookbook. He made several short films including The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda.
In Kathmandu in 1979 Ira Cohen photographed the Tibetan Buddhist cremation of his friend Angus MacLise, poet and original drummer with The Velvet Underground.
He has been described as an "electronic multimedia shaman" .
His photographs range from a psycadelically distorted Hendix to Joujouka musicians; whom he described in his book Gnaoua
Ira was also a poet who had several volumes published.
An interview.
posted by adamvasco (6 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Splunge at 4:00 AM on May 15, 2011

From the New York Times obit, “Sometimes when I pick up my pen,” he wrote, “it leaks gold all over the tablecloth.”

Sublime, that.

Ira Cohen from The Flower Raj Wiki

Photographs of Ira at The Flower Raj


My Father by Lakshmi Cohen

posted by nickyskye at 6:34 AM on May 15, 2011

i find the mylar photos quite evoctive, though it should be mid 60s kitsch. Don't know why.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:45 AM on May 15, 2011

Wonderful post, adamvsco.

posted by louche mustachio at 8:09 AM on May 15, 2011

Ironic coincidence that news of an exhibit devoted to Angus MacClise came within days after that New York Times obituary for Ira Cohen appeared. Too hip for the Velvet Underground: what a concept.

And what would have the Velvet Underground drone sounded like with a bongo and tabla drummer, anyway ?

Both these men were the real thing: bohemian outsiders from a time when it seemed like there was still an underground and an outside in which for such to exist. Before anyone -- save perhaps for Avram Davidson in The Sources of the Nile, a short story that seems more prophecy than parable, in retrospect -- conceived of the occupation of cool hunter. The real thing in nature. Soon to go the way of the elephant, Civil War veteran and Tasmanian Devil. A vanishing species.
posted by y2karl at 9:14 AM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

A 1999 Conversation with Harold Hudson Channer including a clip from his film Kings with Straw Mats (25.53) about the Kumbh Mela.
posted by adamvasco at 11:43 AM on May 15, 2011

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