The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long: Auction for Evan Tyson
On July 8, Evan Tyson -- musician/DJ, avid collector, activist and beautiful madman -- passed away. He was 25. On Friday, Aug. 11, from 5 to 10 p.m., M-80 Art Gallery, 207 E. Buffalo St., will host a silent auction featuring bits of Tyson's art collection (Fred Stonehouse, Matt Fink, music memorabilia and more) to help the Tyson family through this rough time.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing his father, John Tyson, about his letterpressed 'zine called Accurate Key. It's a stunning anthology of letterpressed poems by local and national writers, and I have since been a huge fan of his work. Recently, he emailed to me the eulogy from Evan's funeral that was written and read by his uncle who lived with the family for six years.
It is an incredibly moving eulogy, and I am posting it with John's permission. (By the way, in the above photo, Evan is wearing the bandana, John is in the middle and Evan's brother, Noah, is on the far right.)
Eulogy for "Rock 'n Roll" Evan: Nephew, Friend, Caesar.
Evan caught on to things twice as fast as the rest of us troglodytes. He was a constantly innovative and inspiring luminary to everyone he touched. He was a mover and shaker and one to envy, admire, and emulate. The first 25 things that come to my head about him are all things I've either admired or emulated at some point and I hope he knew how proud I was to have spent so many years as the person he referred to as his "Crazy Uncle."
1) He was the first person I knew who carried a cell phone.
2) The first person I knew to ever buy something on ebay, and the first person to invite me onto myspace.com.
3) The first person I ever saw match beats on three turntables at one time.
4) The first person I ever knew to get a Prince-Albert!
5) The first person I ever snorted cocaine with.
6) The first person I knew to don a graffiti name.
7) First person I ever knew to live most of his life as a vegetarian, entirely of his own volition since being a toddler.
8) The first one I ever knew to throw a stadium-sized dance party, with his own production company, at the age of 17.
9) The first person who ever sent me a T-shirt with his face on it.
10) First person I ever knew who watched all the "Twin Peaks" episodes back-to-back without sleeping.
11) The first person to crash a rental van into a Bell South car on his first time behind the wheel, and we laughed like rabid ducks.
12) The first person I knew who was a regular at a party named and dedicated to "white trash wrestling."
13) First person to have his picture on a CD sleeve (NSA) throwing a headlock on someone.
14) The one and only originator of the phrase "they should be buried in the local lake."
15) First person I ever knew who took a knife wound while standing up against racism.
16) First person I knew to befriend William S. Burroughs before he could read.
17) The first person to kick his father's ass the way most of us only dream of knocking our fathers' lights out.
18) The first person to wear a pair of leather pants longer than Jim Morrison.
19) The first person to live up to having "Rock 'n' Roll" tattooed across his throat, but it looks like Noah's got that one taken care of.
20) The first person to make his own Kung Fu and Blaxploitation flicks with his brother.
21) He was the first person I ever knew who read Taboo magazine.
22) He was the first person I ever knew who knew every version of the Roswell and Kennedy assassination theories by heart.
23) He was the first person I knew to pee in his managers coffee cup and rub his nuts in the fresh roasted beans while working at a coffee shop.
24) He was the first guy I knew who had the Agent Mulder action figure.
25) He was the first and only person I ever knew who would forgive anyone for anything, in a heartbeat.
The only thing saving this from being the saddest and most absolutely tragic day ever, is that it's so interesting to guess what Evan would have wanted his memorial to be like. It might have had something to do with cannibalism, dwarves, a flaming boat, a pseudo-sexual Masonic ritual, a reading from the script of Reservoir Dogs, or from one of the Kung Fu movies he made with Noah when they were little ... as a ball park estimate it would have definitely included some combination of the inane, the sublime, and with something very illegal or at least very unsanitary.
But most of all, Evan's recipe for an ideal send-off party would have included an otherworldly dose of humor and love. After knowing Evan and watching him grow up, I came to understand his M.O. was all about love and laughing, even in his crabbiest or most extreme moments, he managed to throw out the most insightful and hilarious commentary. Evan was someone who gave a shit about everyone and everything he encountered, and he exuded a lifetime worth of love in just 25 very intense years.
His love of film brought to mind the scene from Blade Runner, a word from the enigmatic Dr. Tyrell, which still can only attempt to touch the biblical and epic-sized presence Evan gave to this world: "Only the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly."
Congratulations Evan, on having transformed into a legend. Evan the epic hero, Evan the dark romantic, an invisible but always present voice.
Congratulations on becoming the stuff dreams are made of, like the stars on Hollywood Boulevard you used to love to talk about.
Congratulations on becoming an exponentially expanding benevolent force, like the Jedi masters that used to line your shelves before you started dating girls.
Congratulations on beating us all to the punch line, and like always, we can only love you for it.
Veni, Vidi, Vici, Evan Charles Tyson.
You're the shiniest person I will ever have known ... and he would have said very gently and coy, "Why, thank you."
Friend and Uncle
New York City
July 9, 2006
John Tyson said: Allyson, It's always hard to say hi under circumstances such as this, but hi. Evan always spoke highly of you; of your inspiration, of your support I recall that when we all worked together at Channel 10\36 friends, you were the manager of Auction, me of OCR and telemarketing. Evan started at 10/36 before me. He suggested I work there with him. I could not have imagined a time better spent. You, Evan, and I committed to work toward a better PBS, a better Friends. The staff grew as word got out of our endeavors. We became friends. You got to know Colette, Evan's mother, who was so pleased that Evan was working with you, that you were a good friend, role-model and co-worker to Evan. You looked past his tattoos, his appearance and focused on his drive, work and good intentions. Along with Kelly, your assistant, & Kelly C., Sarah & Shelly, you never passed judgment on the style of dress or beliefs of Evan or the other members of our department's staff. Evan and the other young people in our department felt a certain debt to PBS for Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Ken Burns. They felt compelled to do their damnedest to raise as much money as possible to help fund public television in Milwaukee. Even when they were ridiculed with comments like "I wouldn't want to walk down an alley with them". The president of our PBS station made a point to mention these comments to me. You, however, never endorsed or supported this type of bigotry, and for this Evan was profoundly grateful. I'm glad we met, so much time has passed. Rest assured Evan never spent a moment without his mother's love & devotion, a brother who would do, and did everything he could for his brother, and a father who greatly appreciates that Evan was able to work with a person of great integrity such as you. And Evan's friends? Lucky. And his family? Blessed. John
Erik Nelson said: This was beautifully written. Thank you.
Allyson Olivier said: As I read Evans eulogy from his uncles point of view, I could not help remembering the young teenage Evan who came on a reqular basis to help raise money for public television --and to help his dad and vise versa. He was so tall for his age, and I believe his hair may have been red at the time. His appearance was a bit over the top--from my conservative perspective with large holes in his ears and ever multipling tatoos but I always felt he was just making a statment that the world really should know him, see him. His tactic worked like a charm! He was rather quiet--around me anyway--but sweet and polite, and very smart. I am so saddened by his passing. He was too young and had too much promise to leave so soon, but as his uncle said, he is now a legend of epic perportions. My condolences to the family who I have never forgotten. Allyson
Newbomb Turk said: Met him 2 years ago and liked him immediately.
John Tyson said: jw lawson is the photographer
Show me the other Talkback
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