Al Aronowitz has come to town to read for us.
In his salad days at the New York Post, Aronowitz was what can best be described as a counterculture reporter. His first real beat was the Beat poets, and he quickly distinguished himself as a journalist by parsing their on-the-edge existence for '50s readers.
That was just the beginning. Ensuing years found Aronowitz introducing Bob Dylan to the Beatles, putting Mick Jagger on to Miles Davis and generally acting as literary broker for the assimilation and exchange of art and ideas that revolutionized rock music in the '60s.
But all things must pass: the Beatles broke up, Dylan was born again, the turbulently naive 60's gave way to the cynical 70's and, for reasons never clearly defined, Aronowitz was fired. A bleak period of disillusionment, poverty and self-pity followed, bottoming out with Aronowitz panhandling on the streets of Washington while he lost more than 75 pounds and all his teeth. Quite simply, says Aronowitz, "I went crazy."
It was writing, of course, that lifted Aronowitz from the abyss. Although his highly stylized articles rarely found their way into print, Aronowitz began, tentatively at first, writing about his experiences in 1977. By 1981, he had a large collection of rock'n'roll memoirs, which he Xeroxed, assembled into sets, and began selling for $100 each.
Aronowitz now lives in Woodstock, New York, under the wing of Albert Grossman, Dylan's former manager. A self-described "outlaw journalist," he continues to write his sometimes-angy, sometimes humorous pieces, occasionally venturing to do an article for a "real" publication. He'll be reading from his book, "The Blacklisted Masterpieces of Al Aronowitz," Sunday at 9 at Columbia Station. Tickets are $3, and folksinger Jeanne Mackey will perform as well. For more information, call 667-2900.