Friday, October 10, 2008

Rudi : In Memoriam

Rudi Stern was a great man. A truly great human being. He was among the most generous and intelligent humans I've ever encountered. From the time I met him in Haiti, where he was living in a house in Petionville, above Port au Prince, that he rented from the sister of Antoine Izmery, who had been assassinated outside a church, Rudi never ceased to demonstrate his kindness and thoughtfulness. Rudi was in Haiti working on films he had been shooting for Crowing Rooster Arts, about the political situation in that sad and desolate country. He had trained as a painter, and still was painting in Haiti, in Jersey City, and in Italy, the last time I saw him alive. But he had gone from painting to doing light shows for people like Igor Stravinsky or the Doors, while hanging out with Timothy Leary's crowd in the 1960's. He went on to producing works of art in Neon, founding a company called "Let There Be Neon", and he authored a book with the same name. Type Rudi Stern on Google, and numerous references can be found, including obituaries which ran in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among others. I shot this portrait in Haiti on the terrace where we played chess several times during the two weeks I was there. Rudi passed away in 2006, a victim of lung cancer. I will never forget how he related the morning of September 11th, 2001. He was out walking his dog, as he loved to do, along the river in Jersey City, just across from the World Trade Center. The events of that morning were clearly visible from his vantage point across the river. He was profoundly afflicted by having witnessed people jumping from the tops of the stricken towers. He was an excellent chess player. More info can be found at :

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