RIP Steve Cannon

Steve Cannon, Whose Townhouse Was an East Village Salon, Dies at 84

Steve Cannon at his townhouse in the East Village in 2014 as he was preparing to move out. He had overseen a salon there, opening his doors and welcoming artists, musicians, poets and others to join a conversation that meandered for decades. Credit: Adam Golfer | NYTimes.com

Steve Cannon at his townhouse in the East Village in 2014 as he was preparing to move out. He had overseen a salon there, opening his doors and welcoming artists, musicians, poets and others to join a conversation that meandered for decades.
Credit: Adam Golfer | NYTimes.com

By Colin Moynihan

For years, Steve Cannon, a writer and publisher, maintained an open-door policy at his three-story Federal-style townhouse in the East Village of Manhattan, creating a salon that welcomed a revolving cast of visitors to join a continuing conversation.

Painters, poets, musicians and composers showed up. So did a grab bag of others who wandered in, some by pure chance. And presiding over it all was Mr. Cannon, who had lost his eyesight to glaucoma in 1989.

Mr. Cannon died on July 7 at 84. A half sister, Evelyn Omega Cannon, said the cause was believed to be septic shock following hip surgery at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Manhattan.

Mr. Cannon bought the townhouse, on East Third Street between Avenues C and D, in 1970. In the early 1990s he started a literary magazine there, A Gathering of the Tribes, along with an art gallery. Writers like Paul Beatty and Miguel Algarin contributed to the magazine.

The publication and gallery reflected the grit and creativity of the neighborhood in the 1990s, when the East Village, not yet gentrified, was still a bastion of the avant-garde.

Something always seemed to be happening at Mr. Cannon’s place. Annual festivals honoring the great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker were planned there. Ishmael Reed, one of Mr. Cannon’s longtime friends, read his work at the gallery. Members of the experimental Sun Ra Arkestra performed in the backyard.

The artist David Hammons, another friend, once painted a wall inside the gallery as part of an installation. Among the regular visitors was the cornetist and composer Butch Morris, an East Village neighbor who had created a form of large-ensemble music built on collective improvisation.

Read the full article here.

" The last New York bohemian " - El País, the main newspaper in Spain.

Steve Cannon, in the living room of his last home in New York, in December.  ACAUTHEN9

Steve Cannon, in the living room of his last home in New York, in December. ACAUTHEN9

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).

Read the full article here.