By Mireia Sentis
With the death of the popular publisher, gallery owner and writer Steve Cannon, a way of life that seduced the less conventional artists of the Big Apple disappears
If the word "oxymoron" were a person, who would it be? How easy is the response to this children's game for those who knew the epicenter of the most productive clutter in downtown New York: "Steve Cannon!". This blind of panoramic vision directed To Gathering of the Tribes, organization founded in 1991, that included an art gallery, a publishing house for novice authors, a magazine and a seat - his own apartment - that fulfilled the function of the performance hall (concerts, performances , poetic recitals, book presentations), university classroom and refuge for anyone who wanted to converse, at any time of the day or night, with strangers who were converted from that moment and for always part of the Tribes family.
Professor Cannon, a true Hamelin, orchestrated all these activities from a dilapidated sofa that did not leave or sleep (the bedroom was a temporary shelter for artists who came looking for a place in the sun in the Big Apple), something he did when he felt like it , whatever happened at that moment in his room. On that island where there were no rules of any kind, they were going to smoke who could not do it in another covered place, to drink those who did it at the wrong time, or to face constructive as well as destructive criticism who needed to show or comment on an incipient creation in any discipline. Also, those who wanted to find out where the intellectual or artistic currents of the city would flow next. In that intergenerational, interethnic and international space to which books arrived, magazines and invitations at a dizzying pace, access to extensive information. In 2014, Cannon moved to a smaller place, in the same neighborhood, the East Village, where he continued with the magazine - already in digital format -, the publishing house and its activitygriot or transmitter of stories and knowledge for all.
Steve Cannon, who died on July 7 after stumbling on his stationary bike - "I was run over," he joked from the hospital - was born in New Orleans in 1935 . After living a couple of years in London among the group of writers known as Angry Young Men ( comprised of John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Kingsley Amis, Alan Sillitoe ..., he settled in New York in 1962. In 1969 he published a novel that would reach the category of worship: Groove, Bang and Jive Around (Enjoy, fuck and have fun out there), built in the style that his friend Ishmael Reed would announce as neohoodoo and published by Girodias, son of the editor of Henry Miller. The vicissitudes of a girl who runs away from home and lives the most extreme adventures are narrated with an accelerated rhythm, full of Southern lingo and poetic cadences. What should have been his second novel disappeared in a fire, and since then he opted for theater and poetry. At the present time he was working on a memoir that dictated to a tape recorder and he thought it was entitled Never Too Old To Blush (Never too old to blush).