John Farris, a writer, poet and longtime resident of the Lower East Side, died in his East Third Street apartment of an apparent heart attack on Jan. 22. He was 75.
The Villager this week has a lengthy feature obituary on Farris:
With his sharp wit and abrasive personality, Farris was for decades an integral part of the Downtown literary and jazz scenes. He performed at a wide range of venues, reading wry, lyrical poems and densely crafted prose that both celebrated and satirized the people of the Lower East Side. He insisted that you listen to him — whether you wanted to or not.
From 2008, here's a video featuring stories by Farris ... set to an original score and composition by Jumaani Smith with photos by Marlis Momber ...
Here's B. Kold, writing in Sensitive Skin:
John was a friend to many, and took us young’uns under his wing back when he was running open mikes at the Neither/Nor Gallery. I’ll never forget the time he took four or five of us kids over to Sweet Basil to see Sun Ra and the Arkestra. We’d only known John a couple of years, and he was telling us all sorts of bullshit stories about all the famous jazz men he knew and was friends with, and we were taking it all in with a big grain of salt.
After the (amazing) show, every damned member of Sun Ra’s band came over to our table, going “Farris! What’s up? Where you been, man! C’mon out and party with us!” and Farris was like, “Nah, I’m gonna hang with these guys.” I never felt so cool in my whole life. There were a lot of moments like that with John.
Sensitive Skin compiled a handful of readings from Farris, which you can find here.