The Living Theater on Clinton Street was the scene of an 87th birthday party Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the guest of honor, poet and pacifist Tuli Kupferberg, was not in physical attendance, having died last summer. His friends had a wonderful time on his behalf.
Tuli Kupferberg, born on the Lower East Side in 1923, and in his last years a resident of SoHo, will be forever associated in many minds with the East Village arts underground of the 1960s.
He was a member of the quintessential East Village radical band The Fugs, performing alongside poet and novelist Ed Sanders, then owner of Peace Eye Books on Avenue A.
The Fugs, along with David Peel and the Lower East Side, and The Holy Modal Rounders, formed an underground music scene which mixed raw folk-rock with anarcho-pacifist politics, an approach now widely regarded as a prototype for the punk rock of the 1970s. Fugs songs like “Kill for Peace,” “C.I.A. Man” and the nihilist classic “Nothing” (“Monday nothing, Tuesday nothing…”) occupy an eccentric niche in music history.