July 26th, 2010 | by MARK ZUSMAN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

John Callahan is "Walking Now"

That quote in the headline was uttered recently by a former girlfriend of John's, part of the community of colleagues that extends from his base at Northwest Lovejoy Street across the globe.

Many friends and fans have been reaching out since Callahan died Saturday at Good Samaritan. They're marking his death on butcher paper at Callahan's apartment at 2449 NW Lovejoy St. And they're remembering John in pictures like this:

crew vrouw

The photo comes to WW from Simone de Vries, the Dutch filmmaker whose documentary, "Touch Me Someplace I Can Feel," remains the best video work about Callahan. Below is a clip from that film. You only need to watch the first minute to get the piece about John's voice mail message. He used it many years ago and it perfectly captured the blackness of his humor (though he preferred to call it "survivor" humor).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7dMBCB3t70&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]

One of the tributes flowing in will arrive this week in Portland from Texas. Kinky Friedman is performing at the Roseland this Wednesday night, July 28. The last time I spoke with John, it was because Friedman was trying to contact John to get him to attend the show and perhaps appear on stage. When I got Callahan on the phone, he acknowledged that Friedman had left messages on his machine. He sounded tired, but that's all.

What's becoming abundantly clear to those who knew John is what they have always known: He was prolific. Ten books, thousands of cartoons. An animated TV show. Records. Art. It's not an overstatement to suggest that he was one of the few Portlanders with global ambitions. That he accomplished this while spending at least 12 hours a day in bed and the rest of the day in the discomfort of a wheelchair and all that it entails is a matter of genuine wonder.

Plans for an appropriate sendoff for Callahan are in the works; details to follow
 
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