Writing and Broadsides

Every so often I get a chance to write something fun. Sometimes I put it in "broadside" form and hand out copies to friends. Sometimes I'll take a text worth working with and do the same. Broadsides, in their current usage, refer to single sheets of polemic or story or advertisement. Most commonly, today, they refer to poems or other significant fragments of a writer's work that are handed out at a good reading ("good reading": reading done by a writer who writes as though there is something worth saying, and who manages to do same, at a location that has noticed good writing and enjoys celebrating same by providing both venue and souvenir). Of course, much of what I write happens every day on the WELL, and for that, you need to join the WELL, but that's another story. Rarely, I even write for publication. Predicting when, or about what (computers? Sarajevo? typography? klezmer music?) is impossible. Sometimes I write stuff and it leads to a whole website, as on the KlezmerShack.

This first piece is just what I consider decent narrative. It's a bit about a place where I lived, in Jerusalem (41,274 bytes), back in about 1975 or 1976. It was originally published on the WELL, and I have removed comments by WELL folks to preserve their privacy.

Back when I lived in Jerusalem, around the time I lived the Bivas stuff above, I was also writing about the Ohel Yosef Community Theatre. This was recently retyped for another project. I'm pleased to make it available on the web.

For a number of years I honed a Passover Hagaddah down to what felt right. This hasn't changed substantially in 10 years (other than the names of the struggles we mention at the end). This still feels good as a Jewish, leftist telling of the story. Please feel free to use bits in your own seders (and let me know of your own online hagadahs). But wait, there's more! Why do we put an orange on our seder plates? This one-page PDF (100K) provides some of the answers.

For most of the first years of Tikkun magazine, the publisher was the wonderful Nan Fink, and Michael Lerner was editor. I was typesetter. Periodically, in the middle of production madness, I'd knock off something satiric and enclose it with the rest of the material, as if. Towards the end of my participation (spring 1990), we moved some production to the Mac, and these two satires have been preserved.

  1. After his divorce from Nan, Michael started a "Personals" column wherein he could place his own ad. One of the early advertisers wrote saying that she loved Tikkun, especially the sports, fashion, and cooking columns (174,733 bytes). What could I do but comply? (Sprots are progressive sports, a cross between sports and sprouts, I guess.) It is sometimes scary to think of the degree to which the world has changed, and how quickly, since this was written. I had just returned from a visit to Yugoslavia, and spent some time in Sarajevo, one of the most magical multicultural cities I had ever seen (even, and especially, after Jerusalem). Note:This is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
  2. I always felt that Michael Lerner was desperate to be the Norman Podhoretz of Liberals. There were more than a few ironies, given what we all thought of (and think of) Mr. Podhoretz, and towards the end of my tenure, as Michael hammered home his "Lerner Peace Plan for the Middle East" some response seemed necessary. It was also the last Takel story that I wrote (so far), and the first in which Gertie Takel plays the starring role. I was surprised, and pleased, to find myself having more fun writing about Gertie than about the original Takel, but perhaps all will be clear as the story unfolds (154,436 bytes). This is not, unfortunately, good satire. Sarcasm has no place in good satire. But parts of the piece are still very funny, and for reasons I will probably never understand, I find the ending quite affirming. Note:This is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

A couple of years ago my friend Jovica Veljovic designed a new and wonderful script typeface, now published by Adobe, called "Ex Ponto." It seemed to be a perfect place to marry a famous quote by Rilke--Ben Shahn's favorite--with one of Shahn's paintings, of a three-piece, "Four Man Band." I was a bit grunge-influenced as I designed the piece, so the leading is tight. I was trying to cascade the letters over each other in the rush of the piece, but mostly, the lines are a bit too tight. Still, friends have enjoyed this, and a bit of Rilke is often worth pondering (279,852 bytes). Note:This is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

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Copyright (c) 1996 by Ari Davidow, ari@ivritype.com . All rights reserved. Last revised 24 Mar 2001.