Monday, July 12, 2010
Harvey Pekar's passing
I've just heard that Harvey Pekar passed away during the night. Some years ago I was asked to fill in and interview Harvey at SPX. I reluctantly agreed, and went home and brushed up on his career. Day 1 went well, so I did the second session the next day with Harvey and his collaborators Josh Neufeld, Ed Piskor and Dean Haspiel. These two interviews became the genesis of my edited book of interviews, Harvey Pekar: Conversations. Harvey gave me his permission to use anything he had done, but he didn't have a file of interviews to make my life much easier. I got the occasional thrill of picking up the phone and hearing him saying, "Hey Mike, it's Harvey Pekar" as though his gruff voice wasn't immediately recognizable. The book came out about a year later, and Harvey and I stayed loosely in touch. I always found him to be kind and approachable, not a curmudgeon, and will miss our infrequent talks and any new stories from him. Through the force of his intellect and willpower, Harvey made himself a part of the American experience and we've lost something with his death.