HONOR THY WOOF, the Snuffie Memorial Exhibition, is a surreal photo-documentary of the funeral, on Ash Wednesday 1987, of The Gangster Woof of Amsterdam. It opened at Ins & Outs Press on the evening of Friday, November 6th, the occasion of Herbert Huncke’s reading there, and remained up for about one year. All the original prints are now in the Eddie Woods Archive at Stanford University. Hereunder you have scanned copies of those photographs, this time round with captions.
The Book of Woof has yet to be written. And the story is too long and lovingly complex to try and tell here. Suffice it to say that for several years Snuffie was at once Eddie Woods’ constant companion and his personal guru. About whom Jack Micheline began one of his many handwritten letters to Eddie with the words: “Snuffie is not a dog!” Harold Norse said the same thing, only he whispered it into Eddie’s ear. William Burroughs spent a good half hour ‘conversing’ with the Woof; and as the whole world knows, Bill Burroughs was mainly a cat lover.
Snuffie collapsed and died on March 1st 1987 in a small Tex-Mex restaurant, owned by an American couple named Max and Bonny, called The Texas Embassy. He was there with Eddie’s then-girlfriend Karin Musso, as Eddie had an appointment elsewhere. Max tried to revive Snuffie by giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but to no avail. By the time Eddie returned, the animal ambulance had arrived and “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was playing. Eddie immediately began making arrangements for Snuffie’s burial.
The funeral was held in a large cemetery in Diemen, just outside Amsterdam, on March 4th, a bitterly cold and heavily overcast Ash Wednesday morning. Some 20 people were in attendance, including children. Before leaving the house, Eddie grabbed a book from one of his shelves, T. S. Eliot’s Selected Poems. During the taxi ride out he opened it at random. To the poem “Ash Wednesday.” So that’s what he recited over the open grave. Biscuits were tossed onto the casket after it had been closed, and then each and every person followed by throwing on the traditional shovelful of earth. The entire service was doubly recorded. Not long afterwards, William Levy featured the recording on his Dr. Doo-Wop radio program. “Whoever thought that I would one day sit shivah for a dog?” he remarked at the post-funeral Ins & Outs wake, to which 60 or more people came. In due course, enshallah, we’ll get a podcast of the recording up. Only not yet, it’s still on audio cassette, and there’s other work to be done.
The prints exhibition was presented by Kali, Inc. and was the combined effort of Eddie Woods, Marion Beyer, Peter Edel and Triplocolor photo lab.
All color photos are © 1987, 2012 by Marion Beyer.
All black & white photos are © 1987, 2012 by Eddie Woods.
The individual photographs pop up bigger when clicked on.
Enjoy. And don’t forget: SNUFFIE is still watching…!