Today’s newspaper contained the sad news that Joel Weinstein, the publishing genius behind one of the city’s late, great magazines, Mississippi Mud, had died of lung cancer in Puerto Rico. (I wrote the obituary.)
I was surprised to calculate that Joel left the city in 1994 — my memory of him is still so vivid. The Joel I remember is smart and intense and intensely opinionated. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but on the other hand he can sometimes get a little goofy, which definitely takes the edge off. He always is working on something “important” and always is the carrier of good gossip. And every year or so he has a little stack of Mississippi Muds under his arm, a magazine of many parts and many sizes, a little bizarre at times (in a good way), with odd graphics bursting off the page and dense, intimate packets of writing alongside. A chance encounter with Joel was a challenge; it brought out your good side, your creative side. You leaped to unfounded conclusions, made up outlandish opinions, imparted barely credible stories to him just to impress him a little. And then, after he left, you were left with your own mental mess AND the similarly strange stuff he had delivered himself. It was wonderful.
I would say I’ll miss him. But I’ve been in that state since 1994, really. So, I’ll just say what I’ve already said — I’m sad about it, deeply sad. Art Scatter’s heartfelt condolences to his partner Cheryl Hartup. Bye, Joel.