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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Anthony Bourdain Remembers Harvey Pekar

Posted By on Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Anthony Bourdain penned a very moving, eloquent and heartfelt remembrance of Harvey Pekar on his blog today. There will be many memories of Pekar written by many people, those who knew, loved, and lived with Cleveland's common hero, but this one, on this sad day after, strikes just the right note.

Make sure you read the whole thing over at Bourdain's blog. Here's just a snippet:

His continuing compulsion to wonder what's wrong with everybody else was both source of entertainment and the only position of conscience a man could take.

After all, Cleveland, the city he lived in and loved, had, he reminded us, lost half it's population since the 1950s. A place whose great buildings and bridges and factories had once exemplified 20th century optimism needed its Harvey Pekar.

"What went wrong here?" is an unpopular question with the type of city fathers and civic boosters for whom convention centers and pedestrian malls are the answers to all society's ills but Harvey captured and chronicled every day what was—and will always be—beautiful about Cleveland: the still majestic gorgeousness of what once was—the uniquely quirky charm of what remains, the delightfully offbeat attitude of those who struggle to go on in a city they love and would never dream of leaving.
What a two minute overview might depict as a dying, post-industrial town, Harvey celebrated as a living, breathing, richly textured society.

A place so incongruously and uniquely...seductive that I often fantasize about making my home there. Though I've made television all over the world, often in faraway and "exotic" places, it's the Cleveland episode that is my favorite—and one about which I am most proud.

Here's a clip from that Cleveland episode with Harvey, Bourdain, Michael Ruhlman and others at Sokowloski's:

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