18 Feb FORMER COLLEAGUE LEONARD KOREN REMEMBERS LEWIS
Circa 1978, Lewis was living in a ramshackle cottage in a then-bucolic Northern California beach town called Bolinas. A mutual friend said that Lewis would make a great writer-editor for WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing, the periodical I published. So I knocked on his door. He greeted me with a big smile and bare feet. After chatting for a bit I offered him the job. I said his salary would be pathetic, his office space minuscule and, of course, he would have to leave paradise. He kept smiling. Less than a month later he became an Angeleno.
Lewis was modest, compassionate, boundlessly curious, and perceptive to the humor that inhabits every nook and cranny of existence. He was also intellectually fearless. “Confessions of a Hostage Groupie,” “Barbecuing White People in the Suburbs,” and “Sex with the Dead: Art or Atrocity?” were among the journalistic masterpieces he cranked out at WET.
By the time the magazine shut down in late 1981, Lewis was a fixture in L.A.’s cultural substratum. We stayed in touch. When he told me that he was starting a project to “save” the Los Angeles River, I laughed. It was quintessential Lewis: poetic, impossible—and methodologically brilliant. I miss Lewis with all my heart.