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Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)

GUEST,Mary Katherine Sans cookie 03 Apr 16 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,John Larkin 09 Jun 11 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,David Ransen 29 May 10 - 09:33 PM
GUEST 25 Nov 09 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Barry Herman 11 Oct 08 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,Stevenson's cousin Sally 24 Mar 08 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Wendy Graff 21 Oct 07 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Lucinda Spurling 31 Jan 07 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Ruth Siekevitz 15 Dec 06 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Jennifer Speck 13 Dec 06 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Sam Othman 11 Nov 06 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Barry Herman 09 Nov 06 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,Paul Heiman 25 Oct 06 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Claire Whitmore 31 Aug 06 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,Cindy Palfi Penfold 22 May 06 - 09:13 PM
GUEST,Mary McComb 19 May 06 - 10:44 PM
SunnySister 08 May 06 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Wendy S. 08 May 06 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Scott Goodwin 26 Apr 06 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Mary Katherine 13 Feb 06 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Ginger Berrigan 21 Jan 06 - 09:37 PM
GUEST,David Ladwig 20 Jan 06 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,Bob Vernon 19 Jan 06 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,Judi Hughes 14 Jan 06 - 10:13 PM
GUEST,Carol Harry 12 Jan 06 - 12:40 AM
GUEST,Carol Harry 12 Jan 06 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,Jim Kelman 11 Jan 06 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,I'm sorry I never knew him... 11 Jan 06 - 12:35 AM
GUEST,Richard 'Hinneni' Coit 07 Jan 06 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,ed 1962 06 Jan 06 - 08:15 PM
Mary Katherine 06 Jan 06 - 12:50 AM
GUEST,Jim Grodzins 05 Jan 06 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,jma 04 Jan 06 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Wayne Brasler 03 Jan 06 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Skip Sherman 02 Jan 06 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Stephen Turner 01 Jan 06 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Gretchen Weber 01 Jan 06 - 01:34 AM
GUEST,Randi Cone 31 Dec 05 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,ernest.laird@morganstanley.com 30 Dec 05 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Maggi Miller 30 Dec 05 - 10:00 AM
GUEST 29 Dec 05 - 11:37 PM
GUEST,Ann (Lawrence) Halpin 29 Dec 05 - 10:57 PM
GUEST,Scott T. Cummings 29 Dec 05 - 09:56 PM
GUEST,seidenberg@wisc.edu 29 Dec 05 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,seidenberg@wisc.edu 29 Dec 05 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,some memories 29 Dec 05 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Debbie Kovacs 29 Dec 05 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,fitchum@aol.com 29 Dec 05 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Gary Babad 29 Dec 05 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Richard Clark 28 Dec 05 - 11:58 PM
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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine Sans cookie
Date: 03 Apr 16 - 03:44 PM

In profound sorrow and with a broken heart I have to tell you all that Stevenson Palfi's adored daughter and only child, my goddaughter Nell, passed away early this morning in her mother's arms in a hospice care facility in New Orleans comma where she had been since overdosing on drugs two weeks ago.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,John Larkin
Date: 09 Jun 11 - 02:01 PM

I knew Steve in high school, when we worked together over the summers at a YMCA camp in Wisconsin. He was one of my best friends at the time. We had a lot of long talks, and he was "deep" and mature for his age. I knew he had become a documentary producer, but did not realize he lived in New Orleans. It's one of my favorite cities, and I grew to appreciate Zydeco music back in the day.

My deepest condolences to his family, and especially his sister who I also knew.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,David Ransen
Date: 29 May 10 - 09:33 PM

Of course I knew right away, but I had no idea that this forum existed.

I have two completely unrelated connections to Stevenson, both meaningful in their ways.

I went to college with him in the early 70's, and although we were not close, I hung with some of his house-mates, downed more than a few brews with him, and felt very comfortable with Stevenson around. The atmosphere just seemed to chill a little (in a good way).

By coincidence, I also moved to New Orleans and fell in love with it, probably a few years before he did. Sadly, I didn't even know that he had moved there until it was too late.

That's all I've got. And the very vivid memories.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 07:48 PM

I was heartbroken to hear that Stevenson had died so tragically. I met him though Johnny Donnels and actor Matt Clark back in 1991 amd after having the honor of working as his "assistant set designer" on the Allen Toussaint "Dew Drop Inn Revisited" JazzFest Wednesday night program I bought him lunch a few times when I was in New Orleans and he gave me a copy of the video proposal for "Allen Toussint -- Songwriter Unknown" that he was working on. This past June 25, a couple here in Healdsburg CA with whom I had shared my copy of "Piano Players..." gave me a flyer for the concert that never came about (because 'Fess died) as a birth day gift.
Stevenson's spirit is still alive.

Now who is going to finish his documentaries?

This is the letter I sent to Johnny Donnels' wife.

Bill Donoghue, Chairman, W. E. Dongohue & Co., Inc. and contributing columnist to www.marketwatch.com Dow-Jones award-winning investor website.


I will call but I wanted to share a story with you if you have not already received it. Johnny's friendship changed my life.


               Johnny Donnels was a close friend for a time in the 1990s. Back in the 1990s I visited this gallery often and purchased several of his photos and he would over the intercom invite me to come up and spend a few hours with him. We never ran out of stories to share.



In 1991, I was making one of my usual three-hour or so afternoon visits with him in his gallery above the shop.



I really wanted to attend the Dew Drop Inn Revisited concert that Wednesday with Allen Toussaint and all of those who whose hits he wrote (Ernie K-Doe, Jessie Hill, Irma Thomas, Earl King, etc.) but it was sold out. I told Johnny of my frustration with missing the concert.



Soon, as we talked, Matt Clark ,the actor, dropped in to visit with Johnny. Out of respect for both Johnny and Matt, I sat back and listened as I watched the movie star talk with him As it turned out Johnny's friend Matt Clark was staying the week with Stevenson Palfi , the videotographer who made Piano Player Rarely Ever Play Together, the awward-winning documentary of the Tuts Washington, Fesor Longhair and Allen Toussaint concert that never happened in 1980 ('fess died a few days before). who was videotaping the concert for his Allen Toussaint, Songwriter Unknown project. Matt talked with Stevenson who agreed to ask me to serve as a set designer and therefore I got to not only see the set up of the concert but to watch the concert from the control room where I hung out with Art and Aaron Neville and others. Stephanie Bennett also filmed the show for a series she was doing on JazzFest artists that year. There were several shows she did, all of which I was able to later find on Video Arts Japan Laserdiscs, never released in America.



Anyway, Stevenson found out that I was an investment guru who had published several books and nicknamed me 'Fessor Mojo (after his 'Fessor Longhair connections). Five years later, I used the name to appear on eight blues festivals as a researcher and biographer for Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Jr. Lockwood, Robert Johnson's friend and stepson.

Today I am known in blues circles as 'fessor Mojo. Blues names are given by others not yourself and through Johnny and Stevenson, I acquired my name which I carry proudly.



Johnny and I used to visit for several hours every time I visited New Orleans. He told me stories of painting the Dew Drop Inn with Montgomery Clift, the actor. They took a month to paint the murals at the Dew Drop Inn because at the time Whites were not allowed or welcomed to visit Black music night clubs.



Every time I watched the 'Fessor Longhair video I thought about that afternoon at Johnny's gallery. I recent moved to Healdsburg CA in the Sonoma County, California wine country where new friends gave me as my birthday gift a flyer for just that concert that never happened. The circle came 'round again.



Without my friendship with Johnny none of this would have happened.



Johnny changed my life and I will miss him.



Bill


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Barry Herman
Date: 11 Oct 08 - 01:38 PM

A really great and remarkable guy. We knew each other at Clark where many remarkably creative people came of age in the 60s and early 70s.
What a loss.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Stevenson's cousin Sally
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 10:38 AM

Is this thread still active?

I am one of Stevenson's older cousins--his father and my mother were siblings. Although we were separated by age and distance, I remember Stevenson as a totally gifted person. Our family and the world lost a true "golden" person.

Sally Petro


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Wendy Graff
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 06:26 PM

While looking for letters from an old friend the other day, I came across some postcards from Stevenson. On a whim, I Googled him, figuring there couldn't be too many Stevenson Palfi's in the world. I was shocked and deeply saddened to read of his death.

I met Stevenson during his VISTA days in New Orleans, when he was working at Maison de Ville and I was in town for a conference and desperate to find a different hotel to stay in. I ended up starting my new job in San Diego a few days late so that I could squeeze out extra time in New Orleans. Reading the other entries, I can see now that Stevenson had already adopted that gracious city as his home. I visited him later that year, along with a boat-load of Clark College students, for Mardi Gras. I still consider that Mardi Gras one of the quintessential experiences of my young-adulthood.

I remember Stevenson and his friends laughing about their interviewing technique--how they hadn't quite mastered the art of the open-ended question--and about their passion for video. I didn't stay in touch and had no idea that Stevenson followed his dream in his adopted city. I am pleased to know that he did that, and not at all surprised to hear that he was exceptional at it. The Stevenson I remember was a smoldering--and not just because he smoked--blend of suavity, complexity, assuredness, and charm. I can only imagine the hole his passing has left in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Lucinda Spurling
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 08:51 AM

01/31/07

          I am shocked to only hear now of Stevenson's passing a year on. Dear Nell, I hope you know that your father inspired a whole generation of documentary film makers graduating from Tulane, myself included. His wisdom will live on in all of us. Stevenson is the reason why I am a documentary film maker. I am not sure if you will remember me, but I was one of his students around 96-98 and also did research for him for the Songwriter film. I remember you, his constant companion! You were truely the light of his life. I hope you will champion his film and get it finished and in front of audiences, as he would want. I am very sad that Stevenson and I lost touch over the last few years. I am sure you remember coming to his classes; he always made us work really hard writing essay after essay and always pushed us to think for ourselves and to think about documentary from every perspective. I will dedicate my next film in his memory. I hope Nell, you will find a way to cope with your grief.
Luci Spurling


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Ruth Siekevitz
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 11:21 AM

It's 12/15/06 today and I'm just so saddened and stunned. I knew him from Clark University. He was unforgettably charming and sweet. A totally memorable person. The last time I saw him was at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, where he showed his wonderful film.   And he was as charming as ever.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Jennifer Speck
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 12:56 PM

I've been thinking a lot about Stevenson this morning and can't believe that it's already been a year since he's been gone. I have really missed speaking to him on the phone - he was such a special person, and a wonderful friend.

I keep thinking how unfortunate it is that he is not around to be filming the many things that have been going on with New Orleans and her people. It would have been really nice for the world to continue to get Stevenson's unique take on things, and to be able to see more of his wonderfully insightful and sensitive work.

I miss you, my friend, and hope that you will continue to keep smiling down on us.

I pray that you have found the peace you were searching for...

Love, Jennifer
Henderson NV & Aspen CO


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Sam Othman
Date: 11 Nov 06 - 04:06 AM

I came upon this thread quite by accident having done a Google Search on Avalon Park School, my old elementary school. Clicking on this link, I immediately recognized Steve's name and was in total shock to learn of his passing.

    I too am one of those who knew him as Steve, years before he became Stevenson. We were in the same grade and home room. He was a very "mellow" fellow. Even as a kid he was friendly, open-hearted, inquisitive, talkative and never arrogant or argumentive.

    Though we parted ways since we graduated from elementary school, I have a couple memories of Steve I want to share that for some reason have remained dear to me.

    Our class was on a field trip to the Hillsdale Health Museum and it was a long bus ride in winter with little heat to keep us warm. This was around the time of the "British Invasion". Must have been 1964 and seventh grade. I recall a discussion about the Beatles and their long hair which was revolutionary at the time. We talked about copy cats like the Dave Clark 5 and Steve mentioned the Rolling Stones had even longer messed up hair and that the Stones, "looked like monsters".

    Another time, I believe it was after Christmas break, all of a sudden Steve's brown hair was BLOND! It seemed kind of strange in those days and everybody was wondering what was going on. Steve said that he was on vacation in some tropical resort over the holidays and the SUN bleached his hair!   To this day I don't know the REAL story!

    Although I haven't seen him in 40 years, I do feel at loss for a childhood friend. My sincere condolences to his other friends and especially his family. May God bless him and maybe we will see him again in the next life.

    Sam-Othman@excite.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Barry Herman
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 07:21 PM

Knew him at Clark in the early '70s. We weren't close friends, but we took a few classes together and would often find ourselves hanging out in the same spaces (not that much of a coincidence on a small campus). He was funny and really smart. He seemed to know something about EVERYTHING! He was just one of those those really good people who also happened to be really cool. I'm not surprised to learn about his amazing accomplishments and how he touched so many lives.
My heart goes out to his family, friends, and loved ones. His legacy will live on...as it should.

Barry Herman, M.D.
Radnor, PA


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Subject: Stevenson's Love Today, thank you Mista!
From: GUEST,Paul Heiman
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 08:17 PM

Man
Without Stevenson I would not be me.

Inspired by your work I fell for film;
I felt sorrow today as I Googled You
to learn you are unavailable; I so wanted to call you again out of the blue with again a list of questionfor guidence from You. Thank You for
your Passion....
It is like a wonderful dream last time I saw You, Stevenson.

The Prytania Theater - a special tribute screening of Piano PLayers - anniversary I think it was; a few years ago I was in town for surprised to learn of the screening event - a beautiful night with such beautiful folk; it was half way to Heaven for me Mista'
'Thanks' just dont seem to say enough How YOur Love has touched & still moves me too; the world is so very pretty & filled with Love because of You. Today I move with YOu closer than before.

Thank You Mista,
Thank You,


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Claire Whitmore
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 01:53 PM

I continue to be sad at the world's loss of this artistic life. Just the other day, driving around New Orleans, the thought crossed my mind -- what a beautiful documentary he could have done on the city and people he loved so much and the loss suffered by so many. His eye . . .his angle, as anyone who knew him, was special.

Certainly, many will be done. I'm sorry his voice won't be heard.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Cindy Palfi Penfold
Date: 22 May 06 - 09:13 PM

So glad the messages are still coming in. They have meant so much to myself and other family members.
We would like to inform people of an event to celebrate the life and work of my brother Stevenson, being held at the University of Chicago Laboratory School located at 1362 E. 59th St., Chicago, Il 60637 It will be held between 2:00 and 4:00 in Judd Hall, Room 126 on Saturday, June 3, 2006. Everyone is welcome. If you have any comments or questions I can be reached at 317-272-5893 or at cpenfold@indy.rr.com. It will be a time to share memories of Stevenson and to view excertps from his work.
Sincerely,
Cindy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Mary McComb
Date: 19 May 06 - 10:44 PM

I just heard tonight that Stevenson was gone. I am so sad. We met when he was editing Piano Players at Mississippi ETV, where I was a production assistant. Later I went to work for him for several months in his beautiful home/office on Banks St. Many fond memories of him and Polly... Our work styles didn't match and we parted not on the best of terms, but ten years later we reconnected at a conference in NO, and it felt great to be on good terms again.

Stevenson's videos are compelling. As many times as I dubbed Piano Player, I loved at more each time. I was so looking forward to his video on Allen Toussaint.

After Katrina I thought about Stevenson and wondered about what he had lost and how he was faring. I grieve for the New Orleans he introduced me to: Eddie Bacquet's red beans and rice, Liuzza's on Bienville, meeting Allen Toussaint, Tuts Washington, and Fess's widow. I just imagine the enormity of all the losses was too much for Stevenson. My thoughts are with his family.
Mary McComb


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: SunnySister
Date: 08 May 06 - 12:06 PM

Mr. Palfi and his family have remained in my thoughts. I hope that the memorial service at the end of March was a healing time and a celebration of a talented and much loved man.

His sad passing reminds me that even though the waters from Hurricane Katrina have dried up, the pain and suffering continues.

--SunnySister


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Subject: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Wendy S.
Date: 08 May 06 - 10:08 AM

I was deeply saddened to learn of Stevenson's death. We met in 1973, at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. I had just graduated from college a few months earlier and was working at Clark for a few months to make enough money to travel in Europe with my friend, Joan K., who was finishing her senior year at Clark. I had sublet a room in the same apartment Stevenson was living in and we even dated for a short while.

A few months later, Joan (who also dated Stevenson briefly a year earlier) and I went to Europe for six months, and then I moved to New Jersey to attend law school at Rutgers. Stevenson went to Mardi Gras for the first time that year and he and his friend stopped at my house in Haddonfield, NJ and encouraged me to accompany them to New Orleans. I felt that I couldn't afford to miss classes, so I didn't go with them. Stevenson, of course, was right-- thirty years later I remember nothing about my classes and I regret that I haven't ever been to New Orleans.

Stevenson and his friend,whose name I cannot remember , again dropped by on their return trip (back to Worcester) and brought me beads from Mardi Gras, which I still have today. I hadn't known what an important trip that had been for Stevenson-- how he fell in love with New Orleans, until now.

My deepest condolences to Stevenson's family and friends.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Scott Goodwin
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 05:56 PM

I worked for Stevenson about 15 years ago while I was a student at Tulane. I've since moved to CT and fallen out of touch, but continued to google periodically to see the progress of SONGWRITER UNKNOWN and his life.

I can't tell you how sad I was to read of his death. He was a talented man, a generous boss and opened the door to some amazing experiences for me. Working for Stevenson, I saw a whole different side of New Orleans.

He invited me to help tape some of NO's most talented musicians as they prepped for a Jazz Fest show at Allen Toussaint's studio. Stevenson showed me how to be gracious AND insistent in negotiating. He showed me how to write a grant proposal. He treated me to lunch. Often.

Married to the beautiful Polly and doting on their daughter, Nell, Stevenson was living the life I wanted (except for that smoldering cigar smell that permeated everything I wore).

As I said before, I fell out of touch. When the city was flooded last year, friends here in the Northeast asked if I knew anyone hurt by it. My response was glib: "No. All my friends had cars and enough sense to leave." I never once thought about the devastating aftermath.

Once again, I find Stevenson teaching me something.

Even though we haven't talked in over a decade, I miss him today.
scottgood1@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine
Date: 13 Feb 06 - 01:04 PM

The memorial/tribute for Stevenson Palfi has now been set. It will take place at Snug Harbor on Frenchmen St. in New Orleans on Saturday, March 25 from approx. 2-6 p.m. Anyone planning to attend should please RSVP to me at

marykatherine(at)aliveandpicking(dot)com

and I'll send along full details as I get them from his daughter and ex-wife, who are organizing everything.

Anyone who wishes to contribute but cannot attend in person is welcome to send along something to be read aloud, or of course most fittingly a video of yourself speaking about Stevenson!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Ginger Berrigan
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 09:37 PM

I just learned of this site a few days ago from a good friend Julie Gustafson. I met Stevenson about 7 years ago when he and Julie were 'commissioned' to do oral histories of the judges on the federal court. I then 'retained' them both to do an oral history of one of my heroes, Camille Gravel. He enjoyed the fact that Camille was good friends with his namesake, Adlai Stevenson. We became friends and got together every month and a half or so for lunch. Mona's on Banks was a regular hangout.   Lentil soup with lemon was his usual. He was so easy to talk to that I once told him he was like "a girlfriend" (he took it as a compliment). We could talk about just about anything. I know he has his ups and downs and problems in recent years with back pain, but he just always had that twinkle in the eye, the quick tilt of the head, and the gentle laugh. We got back to New Orleans in late October and I was looking for him but heard he was in Massachusetts. Next thing I knew, I heard of his death. I was stunned.
Ginger


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,David Ladwig
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 08:28 PM

I worked with Steve at Camp Minikani in Wisconsin, one or two summers in the early 1970's. He was a friend only for those summers, but I have thought of him over the years. So I wondered when I heard the NPR story about Stevenson Palfi. I checked GOOGLE, and confirmed that he was the Steve that I had known. I'm happy that he had the life that so many of us in the 60's and early 70's wanted for ourselves.

I heard that Nell wanted to complete his last documentary. Please post if this is becoming a reality. Or I can be reached via dladwigj@yahoo.com.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Bob Vernon
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 09:26 PM

The New Orleans Music Train is hereby dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Stevenson. You can catch the first 30 minutes of the video at the link below. I will also be posting the last video interview that Stevenson did in August of 2005 shortly. It is very moving.

Bob Vernon

http://www.neworleansmusictrain.com/


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Judi Hughes
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 10:13 PM


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Carol Harry
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 12:40 AM

I wasn't quite finished with what I had to say, so please bear with me for another minute.
    Nell, Polly, Mr. Palfi and Cindy- my heart goes out to you in your loss. Polly told me the other day that I probably knew Stevenson better than anyone else but his family. I consider that a huge compliment.                                                             Stevenson, my friend, you will be missed.I hope and pray that somehow you are able to know how much you meant to so many people during your brief time in our lives.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Carol Harry
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 12:27 AM

I first met Stevenson in the 70's when Polly and I lived in a carriage house at First and Camp in New Orleans, and Stevenson was our next-door neighbor. That was back in his VISTA days, mis-matched socks and black high-top tennis shoes. I must say, having been born and raised in Mississippi,I'd never met anyone quite like him. He was from the South Side of Chicago, and Polly and I were Southern girls.                                                                   Over the years, Stevenson became like a little brother to me. His kindness, warmth and gentle smile were always present when I spoke and visited with them.
    I was there for the wedding, shared in the sorrow of the death of "baby boy" Palfi,and rejoiced in Nell's birth.                  
    Many people have written of their childhood and school year memories, professional accolades,but my most poignant memory of Stevenson is his love for Nell.
    As many of you know, Nell was not expected to live- Stevenson refused to accept that diagnosis. He was determined to keep Nell in the room with Polly, to hold her, tell her how beautiful she was and how much he loved her. I truly believe he "willed" Nell to live. Today, she is a beautiful young woman.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Jim Kelman
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 10:22 PM

We were at Clark University together, and he was a good friend. Sensitive yet assertive, intellectually engaged, yet laid back. I miss him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,I'm sorry I never knew him...
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:35 AM

I grew up on the south side of Chicago, and a wondrous place it was those from there will say. I also attended Camp Martin Johnson and knew of Steve and his mom, the nurse. Going through this site makes me so sad that I never really knew this very special man. My deepest sympathies to all of those who loved him and my wish for peace and happiness in particular to his daughter Nell.

Jim Schlifke
schlif@msn.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Richard 'Hinneni' Coit
Date: 07 Jan 06 - 03:27 PM

Hi, Stevenson. I just heard your story on the radio (http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/);sat.jan.7)......


I'd played an old piano near Congo Sq. last time I was down there, at a Spiritual Temple.

Your Blue-song stopped me here. Stopped me.

My wet eyes, attentive ears, media of the heart, you reached it all!
And I'll praise in the best artistic composition I can come up with,
your Spirit-talent, both in this life and in the next.

I'll be working on this hymn, to sing, for you next time I see you.
I hope you'll like it.

It'll be something along the lines of "Heroes Rarely Ever Stay Around Long"


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,ed 1962
Date: 06 Jan 06 - 08:15 PM

he filled a cap

he blinded me

for a moment

his mom gave me sight

i feel the brown paper towels

still over my eyes

i wish i knew him

later


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: Mary Katherine
Date: 06 Jan 06 - 12:50 AM

This coming Saturday (January 7) there will be a news story on Stevenson's life and work on a National Public Radio program called Weekend America. Check your local NPR station for it's air time on Saturday. If you're outside the US and/or if there's no NPR station near you, at some point shortly after it airs it will be available on their web site at

http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/?refid=3

About a week after the hurricane hit, someone from this program had called me to get in touch with displaced New Orleans musicians. I mentioned that others in the arts community besides the musicians were displaced, and gave the producers Stevenson's name and his contact info in Tunica, MS, where he was then staying. They did a phone interview with him at that time, and today they played me a few excerpts from it (how difficult and how wonderful to hear his voice again!) and interviewed me a bit about his life and work and death. I also emailed them a couple of photos for possible use on their web site.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Jim Grodzins
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 04:54 PM

Dearest Friends, family and dear Cindy,

Stevenson was a deeply cherished member of the Camp Martin Johnson extended family. He was my cabin mate in 1962, with Tom Reed as our leader at Sam Huston. Cindy, you too were a stalwart camper at that wonderous time. Nine years old we were. We re-met at U-High and went through the 'revolution' together. Somehow the innocence we enjoyed in the woods, lakes and fields of camp will remain the dearest and deepest of our shared experiences. It informed of not only who we were back then, but also who we would become in the future.

Stevenson, you live on in my heart.

Wishing all peace and love,

Jim Grodzins
jim@mck1.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,jma
Date: 04 Jan 06 - 04:11 PM

One day by the pinball machine in the Union at Clark University, Stevenson told me that he was thinking of adopting the name "Julien Sorel." And for a couple of weeks, I called him Julien.

I didn't read the Red and the Black until several years later. Julien Sorel is Stendahl's antihero, an outsider in a world where official values can't be taken seriously, ambitious, intelligent, fierce. Rexroth says (to paraphrase): His battles are fought not with armies, but with the limitless fraud of an absurd and alien organized society.

We lost touch after university. But, when I knew Stevenson, Julien Sorel seemed like a pretty good choice.

My condolences.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Wayne Brasler
Date: 03 Jan 06 - 05:51 PM

I taught and still teach at the high school Steve graduated from in Chicago. He was a great kid in every way--talented, sensitive, funny, thoughtful with a wide-open mind and heart. His sister
Cindy was a gem, really an unforgettable person, and it was unusual to know a brother and sister so sympatico. I knew both would go to interesting lives. The teachers here when Steve was here; well, their hearts are broken. It was a privilege to know this wonderful guy and to see how he blossomed.
Wayne Brasler
Journalism
University High School


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Skip Sherman
Date: 02 Jan 06 - 11:43 AM

I'm another high school friend. I remember the adorable pomposity of the title he gave a poetry collection he'd written as a sophomore English class assignment: "Ahhhhhhhhhhh Yes! If Only One Could See the World through My Eyes!" And I remember thinking, as I first watched Piano Players two decades later, that he'd made good on that promise: he had enabled everyone to see with his eyes, and hear with his ears, a world and a music he wholly loved.

"Made good": he taught me that thing too. He was the first friend I knew of who had accomplished something so unexpected, so stunningly off-the-charts. Piano Players had demanded not only craft (though that was impressive enough) but invention too; there's nothing quite like it still, and there was not much in our shared Chicago background to supply Stevenson with even the slightest sketch of a roadmap for the career on which he had now so dazzlingly embarked. He had done something I could never have thought of doing, and suddenly (and of course pointlessly) wished I'd done.

So when I paid him a visit in New Orleans a year or so later, I expected to feel mostly jealous. I came away feeling wholly happy. He was lucky in his wife, suffused with the first flush of his love and nurturing of Nell, and with the ongoing elation (it apparently never stopped) of his work: the permanent excitement of Piano Players, the embryonic thrills of his next slow, brilliant enterprises (Junebug Jabbo Jones, Papa John Creech). His self-absorption was attractively intact, but I was struck then, and am struck now, by how beautifully he blended it with generosity. Part of the secret: he wanted so much to take you with him into his worlds and work; it was a joy to go there with him as loving and attentive guide.

He dropped in on my wedding party in New York a few years later (1988) with his customary swagger, and cut away, after an hour or so, with that selfsame grace and flair. There was so much music he wanted to hear; so many places he wanted to go.

The sweetness and the strut of him, and the sadness of this. He was a lovely wonder of a man.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Stephen Turner
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 11:07 AM

I grew up with him-- a little older, so we knew each other, but not well-- were both "Steves" so occsionally we were confused. Like him, I went from Avalon Park School to the Lab School, to summer camp, where I recall his mom as a nurse, followed his career, did my time in New Orleans.

Always had in mind that someday we would re-connect. Saddened and shocked that it will not happen. When there is an announcment about donations to a fund, please post it here.

Stephen Turner


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Gretchen Weber
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 01:34 AM

Tonight "New Orleans...Live n' Kickin'" opened their tour in Aspen, Colorado. It was a great performance by Marva Wright, Eddie Bo, Wanda Rouzan, A Taste of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues All Star Band, The Pinstripe Brass Band, and James and Trombone Shorty Andrews. If you get a chance to see it don't miss it. They were great.

About 2/3rds of the way through the show they showed slides of New Orleans: the flooding, the devastation, the faces of the people. Wanda Rouzan did a narration which she started with "We will miss you, Stevenson."

If any of you know any member of this touring group please let them know how much we all appreciate this remembrance.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Randi Cone
Date: 31 Dec 05 - 10:12 AM

Stevenson was a special, dear friend whose passing has sent me reeling. Though we haven't been in touch in the past six or so years, I am confronted with my feeling of longing to hear his kind voice once again, to feel his unconditional friendship, to experience his passion and infectious enthusiasm for his art. I will miss him always.

My deepest condolences to Nell and his family. I can only hope that somewhere Stevenson is smiling realizing what an impact his life had on so many.

Fondly,

Randi Cone


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,ernest.laird@morganstanley.com
Date: 30 Dec 05 - 01:48 PM

Nell & Polly, Very sad you must be during this season of grief after the death of Stevenson. May his legacy live long after his time here. May you be healed in the fullness of time from the pain of your loss. Fondly, Ern


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Maggi Miller
Date: 30 Dec 05 - 10:00 AM

I met Stevenson in the 70s through VISTA when he came to Austin to film interviews with volunteers. Those tapes are in cold storage somewhere in some federal bureaucrat's office, no doubt. Stevenson swept into town, stirred things up with his charm, laughter, and love for life. I only learned of his successful career recently when I began searching for information on other former VISTAs; clearly, he was making a lasting contribution.I wish I had dropped him a note to congratulate him on a life well-lived. I am undoubtedly one of a long list of people who knew him only briefly but was touched by him.

My condolences to his family and friends.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 11:37 PM

May I ask all of Stevenson's friends from years gone by who have written so lovingly about their memories of him to send copies of whatever old photos you may have of him (yearbooks, etc.) even if they're just contact prints, to his daughter? She would treasure them, as so much was lost in the hurricane. Please email me offlist at

marykatherine(at)aliveandpicking(dot)com

and I will send you a mailing address for her.

Also, we are closing in on a date for the memorial/celebration of his life, which will be held in mid-March, in New Orleans. Those who have written me offlist asking to be notified when the date is firm, you will be.

Nell has agreed that etablishing a film scholarship in Stevenson's name is a good way for his work to continue through others. As soon as details are finalized, anyone who wants to make a donation to help establish this in his memory will be most welcome to do so.

Many thanks to the Mudcat which makes this otherwise difficult task of re-connection possible, and with thanks to all Stevenson's friends old and new for remembering him and his work,

Mary Katherine


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Ann (Lawrence) Halpin
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 10:57 PM

Another high school friend sadly chimes in, though I can't add anything new to the beautiful things that have already been said about my long-ago confidante and comrade-in-adolescence. Still, it's worth reiterating...Steve, as we knew him then, was trully a gentle soul with fathomless depths of empathy, sincerity and sweetness. His warm humor never slid into meanness, his friendship was never duplicitous.He was a rock of reliable goodness, impervious to pettiness and social dogma. Evidently, he remained so, and refined these attributes throughout his remarkably productive and creative life. High school would have been a much tougher, colder place without his comforting, steady friendship. His losses and his loss are heartwrenching.

We lost another friend to suicide not long ago. In his eulogy, my husband noted that, while some survivors succumb to anger, none of us can comprehend the intensity of pain that would move a sensitive man to seek such final relief. The grief of the survivors would be something he would remorsefully contemplate, but insufficient to stay his hand from ending that awful pain.

To his family, friends and survivors, thank you for this amazing memorial. As you cherish your memories of Stevenson, you will still see him in your dreams, with that sweet smile, which could soothe countless ills in others. He was so cute. With heavy heart, I've scoured my yearbooks for every picture of him. It seems like yesterday...My deepest condolences to all of you...Annie Halpin
halpins@augwest.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Scott T. Cummings
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 09:56 PM

I never knew Stevenson Palfi. But I knew Steve Palfi. He was my best friend in 7th and 8th grade when we were both students at Avalon Park Elementary School on the South Side of Chicago. At the tail end of our Wonder Bread years, we hung out a lot, listening to 45s, watching tv, playing around, not doing much. I don't remember many specific incidents, but to this day I still have a sense of being connected to him. We parted ways more or less when we graduated from eighth grade. My family moved to the suburbs. Steve's family, always so warm and caring of me, stayed on Dorchester Avenue and he went off to the Lab School.

Tipped off by another childhood friend, I read this morning in the Boston Globe of Steve's death. I have been sad all day. I have never seen Stevenson's documentaries. I have never even been to New Orleans. I know next to nothing about his world as an adult, his community, or the musicians whose work he sought to celebrate and preserve. To me, he is just Steve, a friend, a buddy, a pal. While I make no claim to having suffered an immediate loss, I mourn for the playful, energetic, sometimes rambunctious boy who is gone and for all those whose grief is great at this time, especially Cindy and Al (who I remember fondly) and, of course, Nell.

Life is so fragile. Life is so precious.

SCOTT T. CUMMINGS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,seidenberg@wisc.edu
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 09:29 PM

it's very hard to proofread a posting with the battery running out on the laptop and a 6 year hanging on you. Plugged in, with the boy in bed, here is a corrected re-post.

In Steve's memory.

I am another one of Stevenson's high school friends; we also went off to Clark University together. Here are some memories that I share in the hope that people will be comforted finding out more about their dear, lost friend.

First of all, I think I'm probably responsible for him being known as "Stevenson" (aside from his parents, of course!). He was always Steve in high school, and I knew he had been named for Adlai. When we got to Clark, he was also initially "Steve" and I started ribbing him by ostentatiously and formally calling him "Stevenson." Well, it stuck! He really liked being Stevenson! So, that's how he was subsequently known.

Freshman year in the men's "zoo dorm" at Clark, Stevenson stuck out in a lot of ways. First of all, he got this crazy idea of brewing beer in his room (I was NOT his roommate, thankfully). He got a big old garbage can and some wine brewing stuff and created this really stinky glop. But he was into it. He was excited. I think he drank some of it--I know I didn't--and I doubt if many people got brain damage drinking it, though in that dorm who would be able to tell?

He was also smart and extremely good looking; OK he was hot.

Another striking thing in light his life's work was his interest in silent films. He found this catalog company that sold old Chaplin films and other silents, undoubtedly 8 mm one reel things that were really cheap (were they in the public domain? somehow they were the real films and really cheap). So, he had a little projector and these silent films and he just loved showing them to people in his room. This is like 1970-71, pre video.

In fact I believe I'm remembering correctly that Stevenson somehow commandeered a Sony Porta Pak video system from someplace on campus. This was a big heavy reel to reel tape player than you slung over your shoulder, plus a big clunky video camera. but it was video. And he was going to make films.

We did a little guerilla theater on campus on freshmen. Clark was a pretty sleepy campus, although it was still a highly political time with a lot of activism among the students. there was some kind of labor problem with the professors--I can't remember what it was--but 4 or 5 of us got into costumes and burst onto the stage in an auditorium before a meeting or movie or something and acted out a very brief skit in which the evil administrator people were treating the professors like slaves. Well, I'm a professor now, and I can only say, ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Oh, here's one more thing. When we were in high school, Steve was involved with everything. Senior year he somehow got together the resources to make a very large sculpture that he welded out of i-beams or some such thing. It was a huge pyramidal kind of thing, really very impressive, and for a number of years it sat in an outdoor courtyard at U-High. He was REALLY miffed when people at the high school dismantled it one year without telling him. He probably thought it was his lasting legacy to U-High. It should have been in a museum.

I had lost contact with him except for occasional high school reunions. Of course I knew of his work and how immersed in N.O. culture he was. After the hurricanes I wondered what happened to him and hoped he was safe. Well, "safe" is a relative term; the person is there but the personal devastation must have been so enormous. He obviously meant a lot to many many people and will be deeply missed.

Mark Seidenberg


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,seidenberg@wisc.edu
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 09:04 PM

I meant to say in the last message:

I am another one of Stevenson's high school friends; we also went off to Clark University together. Here are some memories that I share in the hope that people will derive some comfrot from finding out more about their dear, lost friend.


MSS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,some memories
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 09:00 PM

I am another one of Stevenson's high school friends; we also went off to Clark University together. Here are some memories that I share in the hope that people finding out more about their dear, lost friend.

First of all, I think I'm probably responsible for him being known as "Stevenson." He was always Steve in high school, and I knew he had been named for Adlai. When we got to Clark, he was also initially "Steve" and I started ribbing him by ostentatiously and formally calling him "Stevenson." Well, it stuck! He really liked being Stevenson! So, that's how he was subsequently known.

Freshman year in the men's "zoo dorm" at Clark, Stevenson stuck out in a lot of ways. First of all, he got this crazy idea of brewing beer in his room (I was NOT his roommate, thankfully). He got a big old garbage can and some wine brewing stuff and creating this really stinky glop. But he was into it. He was excited. I think he drank some of it--I know I didn't--and I doubt if many people got brain damage drinking it, though in that dorm who would be able to tell?

He was also smart and extremely good looking; OK he was hot.

Another striking thing in light his life's work was his interest in silent films. He found this catalog company that sold old Chaplin films and other silents, undoubtedly 8 mm one reel things that were really cheap (were they in the public domain? somehow they were the real films and really cheap). So, he had a little project and these silent films and he just loved showing them to people in his room. This is like 1970-71, pre video.

In fact I believe I'm remembering correctly that Stevenson somehow commandeered a Sony Porta Pak video system from someplace on campus. This was a big heavy tape player than you slung over your shoulder, plus a big clunky video camera. but it was video. And he was going to make films.

We did a little guerilla theater on campus on freshmen. Clark was a pretty sleepy campus, although it was still a highly political time with a lot of activism among the students. there was some kind of labor problem with the professors--I can't remember what it was--but 4 or 5 of us got in costumes and burst onto the stage in an auditorium before a meeting or movie or something and acted out a very brief skit in which the evil administrator people were treating the professors like slaves. Well, I'm a professor now, and I can only say, ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Oh, here's one more thing. When we were in high school, Steve was involved with everything. Senior year he somehow got together the resources to make a very large sculpture that he welded out of i-beams or some such thing. It was a huge pyramidal kind of thing, really very impressive, and for a number of years it sat in an outdoor courtyard at U-High. He was REALLY miffed when people at the high school dismantled it one year without telling him.

I had lost contact with him except for occasional high school reunions. Of course I knew of his work and how immersed in N.O. culture he was. After the hurricanes I wondered what happened to him and hoped he was safe. Well, "safe" is a relative term; the person is there but the personal devastation must have been so enormous. He obviously meant a lot to many many people and will be deeply missed.

Mark Seidenberg


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Debbie Kovacs
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 02:12 PM

The news of Stevenson's tragic death is a painful shock. My friend Cindy's big brother, he always treated me with warmth and respect. I looked up to him. We shared a lot of great times as members of our high school's theater troupe. I will always remember his beautiful performance with our schoolmate Becky Smith in a dance based on a graphic story by Jules Feiffer. When I close my eyes, I can see his sparkling eyes and his warm, broad smile. I can hear his warm, friendly voice.

Over the years, I followed his brilliant career as a documentary filmmaker. It always made me happy to know he had made his home in the magical city New Orleans, and that he had become one of its important chroniclers. I love the music and the performances that he helped immortalize. It is crushing to think that he is no longer here.

Nell, though we have not met, I feel for you. I suffered a similar loss. You are in my heart and in my prayers.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,fitchum@aol.com
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 01:46 PM

Cindy and Al,

Now here's a voice from the past. I lived on Dorchester Avenue in Chicago and on occasion would babysit for "Stevie" and Cindy Palfi. I have often wondered what happened to them. The racial shifts in Chicago at that time mean that everyone I knew from the "old neighborhood" moved away...Palfi's, Nolans, etc.

For whatever reason, I had not run across his name before, even though he was apparently a gifted film maker.

I was sorry to read of Stevenson's death...and imagine the despair that usually precedes that act for someone. At the same time it sounds like his life was a gift to many. I am so sorry that he felt he could not continue developing that gift.

My condolances to his family.

Lynne Simcox


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Gary Babad
Date: 29 Dec 05 - 09:13 AM

Stevenson was my Teaching Assistant at Clark for a video workshop I took. While I have not seen him since, it's amazing how someone can stick in your mind. Sometimes when I shoot home videos, or if I see a particular technique used in a film or on TV, I've thought of him and of what I learned from him even back then. He was a great teacher, great fun and a wonderful human being. Condolences to his family and friends; I know he will be missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Stevenson Palfi RIP (Dec 2005)
From: GUEST,Richard Clark
Date: 28 Dec 05 - 11:58 PM

To family, friends, and all who were blessed to know Stevenson:

We met and became close friends at Clark University. We shared enthusiasms for film, theater, modern art and philosophy. We shared an apartment where we rehearsed plays, enjoyed music and talked and laughed together. Stevenson loved driving off campus with me in my MG convertible--We favored going to a steak and brew place that showed the silent films of Chaplin and Keaton and the Keystone Cops. I worked with him on his first documentaries--the fledgling films he made of musicians appearing at Clark University. We were in plays together on the Clark stage. These memories haunt me now. I am devastated by this tragedy. Even though our lives went in very different directions, my feelings for my friend have never waned. I admired and adored him as a confidant, fellow artist and human being. And even though we shared only a few visits and letters since college,
when we did make contact it was as though we had spoken just yeterday. I remain forever grateful for the warmth, humour and intelligence that were the hallmarks of our friendship. I already miss him desperately. I just wanted to say this to you and to him.


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