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Mourners Become Eclectic

March 05, 1995

I read with a mixture of appreciation and sadness Jonathan Gold's tribute to his good friend Jac Zinder ("Death of a Contrarian," On the Town, Jan. 15). Over the years, I invited Jac to guest-deejay on my radio shows on KCRW. He was about the most off-the-wall, disorganized guest I ever had, but it was inspired disorganization, with self-hypnosis records ("The Amazing Kreskin") spinning alongside "Double Dutch Bus" and the like. Later, he came as a guest lecturer to my UCLA Extension classes to present Indian films, sessions more about the hilarious Busby Berkeley production values used in them than any serious talk about Hindustani music.

Jac loved kitsch--the tackier, the better. One L.A. writer said that, for Jac, the Thai Elvis was more important than the real one. Jac would enthuse about the $2 bootleg cassettes of Pakistani disco he'd discovered, and the green platform shoes and bright orange polyester pants he'd just bought for $6.

I liked Jac Zinder and his take on things. Underneath the caustic exterior was a lonely and sensitive guy who, at the time of his death, was finally getting a taste of love and happiness. Los Angeles won't be as good without him.

Tom Schnabel

Santa Monica

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