A Birthday Letter to Culture Creator Ned Buskirk


By Joshua Tribe

Happy Birthday Ned Buskirk!!!!! For those of you who don't know, Ned hosts a monthly event--You're Going to Die--that's becoming a San Franciscan institution--an institution in the best sense, which as we should well know, is exceedingly rare. A rare & different tune indeed. I've only been in the Bay and able to attend a few of these spiritual hootenannies--but I treasure those experiences and I'll tell you why: I've never been to anything like it: a secular-spiritual--neither religious nor a non-religious--gathering dedicated to death and dying.

The only guarantee life grants: death, and somehow, the topic is taboo, or if not taboo, certainly not to be thought about too hard or too long--and it must be somber and best done in solitude: stay in thee dwelling should you choose to dwell on death, ha, ho! Ned curates his quiet revolution (a rambunctious unquiet carnival of words and notes) with an immaculate mix of precision and improvisation: scheduled performances and open mic opportunities for singers, poets, spoken wordsmiths or anyone with something to say, someone to remember well to those who are there ... grieving, cavorting, crying, cackling, nothing is off limits--"poetry & prose & everything goes" and it all goes down & everything turns out rhapsodic with Captain Ned steering this vessel that rolls through the silicone dew of San Francisco one Thursday a month. If you're in the Bay Area, go! If you're planning a trip to the Bay, you ought ink it into your itinerary--or type it into your goddamn app that tells you what to do and where to be and when.

The best part, for me, other than the fact that it's several hours of total non-bullshit, is the musical lineup, which often features personal favorites John Elliott, Andrew Blair, Kelly McFarling, not to mention other fantastical local singing-songwriting talent .... If you dig being alive, or you've forgotten that you oughta, check out You're Going to Die.

Thank you for choosing to be incarnated Ned: you're a reminder & an inspiration that we're all here for a reason. Your presence on this earth, manifested through your calling, your support of Andrew Blair, for all these things and those inexpressible, you have my eternal Deadhead gratitude. I know I hardly know you, but I do, and love ya thru & thru.... Selah.