Oh, fuck you, cancer, to quote Kerry Reid. I knew this was coming, but still, fuck you, cancer.
Someone I admired died today.
Julie Lindemann first saw me when I was puking off the porch of the punk rock house I lived in when I was 21 (I wasn’t aware of her presence till a few bleary moments later). That is the age of hangovers, which explains the puking. She was a grown-up punk rock girl, still cool as hell; she was actually impressed that I was vomiting off the porch, and she was roughly as old as I am now. She had a timeless punkness that she never lost, even when she had admitted she was going to lose to the rebel cells.
I met her thus, in the filthy confines of my own home, because she and her mate Johnnie Shimon were coming to visit my roommates, Nigel and Brett. Nigel and Brett (Brett is now deceased as well) were two punk rock reprobates from Manitowoc, where Julie and Johnnie had been living and working their photographic magic for, I dunno, decades.
Their life’s work was taking portraits of the lovely whack-jobs of my home state of Wisconsin.
The portraits as well as most of the subjects were legendary in their off-the-beaten-path eccentricity and hard-core dignity. I went to their last photo exhibit during Julie’s lifetime this spring, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Thank God I didn’t miss it (thanks to Vee Sonnets, who drove); the couple were unable to attend because Julie was in too much pain, but I saw an artwork there for whose conception I suppose I had been present:
The last time I saw them, they had come to visit me in Carbondale, where we went to see the ruins of Buckminster Fuller’s own original geodesic dome… I had no idea at the time it would be the last I would see of her. So appreciate every moment with people. You never know. I never went to see them enough. I was busy, I was lazy, I was an ass.
Anyway, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, I saw one of Julie and Johnnie’s photos of a leafy canopy, repeating as panels of a geodesic dome hoisted near the ceiling:
That’s how I said goodbye.