Josh Lipson, who cooked with East Bay Food Not Bombs and helped with many recent Slingshot bulk mailings, died in his sleep of heart failure in Oakland June 12. He was 39 years old. Josh’s death came as a shock to his many friends since he appeared to be in perfect health. Josh was a generous, fun-loving free spirit who frequented the punk and activist scene. Before moving to Oakland he lived in San Diego and he grew up in rural Ohio.
Josh was an auto mechanic. He dreamt of opening a car garage where people could access tools and learn to fix their own vehicles. He lived at and helped fix up several East Bay housing squats. He helped pick up and drop off food for Food Not Bombs and helped serve food at People’s Park. He protested against police abuse, for Black Lives Matter and against anti-abortion nuts. He loved wine, life and was an absurdist.
He was one of the countless people who do the invisible work that keeps Slingshot in print. We always have a struggle to get the 10,000+ copies mailing to the post office because it is physically too big and heavy to move via bike trailer, which is how we move most everything else. Josh was anxious to use his jeep to give the mailing a lift.
He also drove Slingshot to the Los Angeles Zine Fest in 2014 where he parked his jeep in front of the event’s entrance and invited passers-by to write or draw on his car. It was quickly filled with fascinating slogans and weird art including “Ha Society I Win. I get to Write on a Car!” For months he continued to encourage people to contribute to the dialog happening on what was often his home. Later, that night of the zine fest, the Slingshot zine crew decided to check out a drive-in movie. At the ticket booth and operating on pure charm he convinced the cashier that it was “Two-for-one nite.”
You could tell from his smile and the way he carried himself that he was special and that he was about helping people and trying to make the world a better place. We miss him.