Volume 80, Number 31 | January 5 — 12, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Bohemian rhapsody has lost some of its key players
Proto-Beat figure, jazz musician and artist Bill Heine, at right, was in the Lower East Side and living a bohemian lifestyle long before it was hip. Now 81, he resides in Woodstock, where documentarian Clayton Patterson took this photo a few months ago.
In November, Heine (pronounced “high-knee”) suffered the loss of his wife, Anne Spitzer, seen in photo, below right, with Heine and the late Lionel Ziprin, noted poet and kabbalist, who died last year at age 84. The photo was taken at Patterson’s Essex St. gallery at a 1987 show of Tom DiVita’s artwork. Ziprin is shown holding a photo of Harry Smith, the noted Downtown filmmaker and ethnomusicologist, whose acclaimed “Anthology of American Folk Music” compiled folk and country 78-rpm recordings released between 1926 to 1932. Smith died at the Chelsea Hotel in 1991 of a heart attack while singing in the arms of Italian poet Paolo Igliori.
Since Spitzer’s death, Heine has had a hard time, as seen in his place’s evident state of disarray. When he was young, he played boogie-woogie and jazz piano with Charlie Parker and hung out with all the jazz greats. He turned to visual art after the heyday of the jazz scene faded and rock and roll was on the rise, and also was inspired by Smith and Ziprin to delve into things mystical and occult.
Heine was at the heart of the 1960’s Lower East Side creative scene and its famously wild parties.
He and Spitzer left New York in 1982 for Upstate to explore Buddhism.