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March 03, 2010


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Tom Watson

Great post, Jason. Sorry for the loss.

I'm amazed and how widespread the posts, comments, tweets and links are - a real tribute to his talent and generosity.


Great piece. So sorry about your friend.

Kathleen Maher

It's oddly comforting to read about Al by those who knew him. His political writing never struck me as the least bit extreme, perhaps because my own perspective was always: he's only slightly exaggerating, the way I do all the time.
It's interesting, too, to learn that he held back emotionally. I met him twice and he was so warm and funny and engaging. Without prompting--I never prompt and he once asked why I didn't promote my writing more--he did quite a lot to help confirm me as a fiction writer. So much so that I cannot think of him without experiencing a well of gratitude.
It takes me ages to get past grief and even though I didn't know him except for his generosity to me, I can't imagine him as some of his closest friends seem to--"as traveling on." Rather, his loss strikes me as immeasurable.

Farran Nehme

Jason, I am so sorry. I admired Al's writing and well remember his warm friendliness to me as an unknown blogger; this is a fine and loving tribute.


This is a lovely remembrance. I was very sad to hear the news. I didn't know Al personally, and only traded maybe a dozen e-mails with him as Jon Swift. But he was both talented and generous. skippy is compiling tributes. Condolences and best wishes.


This is bad news. I'm sorry to hear it.

As Al's friend, please make sure nobody deletes his blog. I'm an archivist and can assist you with appropriate preservation measures if you need help. Email me at deweydui@hotmail if you need more information. I want to make sure that the brilliant Jon Swift blog doesn't enter digital oblivion.

Yeah, I hope Al's Jon Swift treasures remain online, an ongoing gift to the world.

Well done, Jason.

Lance Mannion

Jason, I'm sorry about Al. You've done well by him with this post. I'm glad you mentioned his passion for privacy. I only met him a couple of times, but had a great time talking to him both times. The last time he was on a roll. A group of us were walking up one of the East 50somethings towards Broadway and he was giving us his own private tour of New York City that included long autobiographical passages many of which I was pretty certain were tall tales he was making up on the spot. He was just so good at it and so fluid I couldn't be sure which story was the truth, the partial truth, or a whopper. I had the sense, though, that he was putting up curtains, so to speak, to keep parts of himself hidden. But whatever he was withholding, he was still sharing one of the best parts, his sense of humor and his talent for entertaining---not in the showman's sense, in the host's sense. He was keeping us all drawn into the conversation as if around a campfire.

Tom Watson

Campfire tales - a good description, I think.

Charles Blass

Just catching up to this news. Jason, thank you. Al, thank you. Wow. I've been in another mode of living and did not manage to tune in to Al or his work for quite a few years. I met Al through you Jason, I believe - Or, could it be that you and I met through Al ? I know it was at WKCR, playing "Maggot Brain" in the wee hours.
Al and I, along with Andrea Basora, went to hear Sun Ra's Arkestra at the Jazzmania Society in Chelsea, the first time for each of us. We met the band and their leader after the show. During, Sunny directed Marshall to wail his alto at our small table for a spell, and personally I never recovered.
I spent quite a bit of time with Al in college, and after graduating remained in tenuous touch with him.
His warmth and wit, and wry gleam will surely be missed.

Angel III Masa

Rest in peace to Al Weisel> What a cool person he was when he was still alive. And what a waste of a genius mind at a very young age. Some say life begins at 40 but what the heck, we don't know when will the Lord come for us so we better live our life to the fullest and have fun at the same time. Once again, rest in peace Mr. Al Weisel, you will always be remembered.

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