Rock icon Art Garfunkel’s new memoir, “What Is It All but Luminous (Notes From an Underground Man),” is a Jackson Pollock dribbling of six decades of memories, confessions, conquests, regrets, poetry and gossipy name-dropping presented in a variety of typefaces that suggest handwriting (perhaps illustrating a personal touch, but also the willy-nilly, back-of-a-matchbook flow of Garfunkel’s stream of consciousness). Here is Arthur playing punch ball on his block in Queens and meeting Paul Simon in elementary school (“like Dean in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ he played the fringe”); there is Art musing on growing friction with Simon, counseling John Lennon on whether to reunite with Paul McCartney, starting his acting career, battling depression after his girlfriend’s suicide, struggling with his voice and reuniting with Simon. Snarkiness and sorrow bump into each other. Humor and tenderness duel, sometimes in the same moment:
“The bedsore doctor needed someone to brace my brother. So I came up against his back and rotated him on his hip, while the hideous wound was rebandaged. There, in his bed, on my elbow, I pushed my neck and my cheek into the back of his shoulder. I felt I belonged there — kid brother behind his brother’s wing. I held him and kissed his neck and behind his ear. Death was present. The smell was in his mouth — cancer was almost done with its work. It was unprecedented that I would hold him, here at the end of life at last. The wound was dressed. We returned him in place. After a time he gave an indication. I leaned my ear to his mouth. ‘Is there something you need, Jules?’ I said. ‘Money,’ he said.”
Much of Garfunkel’s book feels like the starting point to conversations that should be finished, which he may be encouraged to do on Sunday, Oct. 15, when he will sit down with Shelton G. Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, a Miami Book Fair event sponsored by Books and Books at Miami-Dade College. Admission requires a voucher that you’ll receive with the purchase of the book from Books and Books. The book and voucher cost $29.91 and each voucher admits two people.
When: 4-5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15
Where: Chapman Conference Center at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami
Cost: $29.91 (with voucher that admits two people)
Concert: Garfunkel is scheduled to perform at Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse on Jan. 18. Tickets cost $42.50-$98. Go to ParkerPlayhouse.com.