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HomeENTERTAINMENTDavid Marcuse, who ran bookstores for liberal clientele, dies at 73

David Marcuse, who ran bookstores for liberal clientele, dies at 73

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David Marcuse, whose Frequent Issues bookstore in Washington turned a group hive for bohemians and hardcore liberals within the Eighties by providing publications, posters and T-shirts with assertively left-wing political messaging, died April 7 at a hospital in Baltimore. He was 73.

The trigger was sepsis and respiratory failure, stated his brother, Michael Marcuse.

A onetime Pennsylvania Eagle Scout who turned completely radicalized as a school scholar through the Vietnam Conflict period, Mr. Marcuse was a serial entrepreneur who put his politics and inventive advertising and marketing abilities in service of promoting books. He owned a number of Washington-area bookshops over the a long time, however Frequent Issues, based mostly within the Dupont Circle neighborhood from 1980 till its shuttering in 1991, drew the widest consideration.

Like a handful of different Washington bookstores run at the moment by communist and socialist teams, Frequent Issues thrived in opposition to President Ronald Reagan’s administration. Mr. Marcuse promoted the store below the slogans “Extra Mao Than Thou” and “Nonetheless Subversive After All These Years,” and stocked cabinets with obscure educational journals in addition to feminist, commerce union and Indigenous periodicals. He additionally offered Black-history taking part in playing cards.

“It was the one place I might discover youngsters’ books that weren’t so Eurocentric,” one frequent patron, recognized as a scholar from Mauritius, advised The Washington Submit in 1991.

Presiding over the shop was Mr. Marcuse, readily identifiable throughout these years along with his neck-covering beard. He was, by all accounts, a boundlessly good-humored man and habitue of the native punk scene who had a radical information of seemingly each various press in North America. He piped in West African rock music, offered tickets to Candy Honey within the Rock concert events and served up pots of espresso cultivated by farmers stated to be on the aspect of anti-colonial and anti-military struggles in Africa and Central America.

The shop was, for a few years, an brisk melting pot of residents and a locale for poetry readings and different gatherings. His “Meese Is a Pig” posters and T-shirts — referring to the Reagan legal professional common who waged battles in opposition to abortion rights, affirmative motion and pornography — had been the preferred gadgets within the retailer, however finally not sufficient to put it aside.

Operating a small enterprise with tight revenue margins, he couldn’t survive a nationwide recession and the dramatically elevated hire and property tax payments as Dupont Circle additional gentrified. However he additionally accepted blame for his incapacity to half with misfit staff. “I ought to have fired some folks earlier,” he advised The Washington Submit in 1991. “And shoplifting — folks don’t like to speak about it, however it’s a enterprise.”

David Gerald Marcuse was born in Ashland, Pa., on June 28, 1948, and grew up principally in Lancaster, Pa. He was younger when his mother and father divorced, and he was raised nearly fully by his mom, who taught English at a junior-high college.

He obtained a bachelor’s diploma in political science from American College in 1970, the identical 12 months he helped begin the District’s Group Bookstore that aimed to serve the Marx-Mao crowd. He stated he included a smattering of books by conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) below the idea that the core buyer ought to “know his enemy.”

Mr. Marcuse left that enterprise after a couple of 12 months and, initially from his Volkswagen Bug and later from a warehouse in Rockville, Md., operated a wholesale e-book distributorship referred to as RPM that targeted on small and alternative-press texts. He additionally started a short-lived retail retailer, Bookworks, in Previous City Alexandria, Va., and have become supervisor of Sidney Kramer Books in Washington.

After Frequent Issues closed, he spent greater than a decade as co-owner along with his good friend Charles Dukes of Chuck & Dave’s Books, And so on., which offered books and toys within the liberal Montgomery County, Md., enclave of Takoma Park. Mr. Marcuse, who had bother standing due to a painful situation referred to as peripheral neuropathy, later labored as a bus driver for special-needs youngsters in Montgomery County Public Colleges.

For a few years, he was additionally a volunteer driver for social-service organizations together with Shepherd’s Desk and Meals on Wheels, in addition to St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington. A longtime Takoma Park resident, he moved to Rockville, Md., 4 years in the past. Survivors embody his brother, of Silver Spring, Md.

His niece, Deborah Marcuse, a civil rights and employment lawyer, recalled her uncle as relentlessly optimistic regardless of a profession of well being and enterprise vicissitudes.

“David had a radical love of humanity,” she stated. “He was everybody’s uncle. At RPM, he finally had 40 individuals who labored there, and he employed a vegan chef to prepare dinner for them. That’s the employer that everybody ought to be, however it’s the type of employer that late capitalism actually doesn’t care to help. It’s just about the alternative of the small handful of monopolies which might be taking up the world in the mean time.”


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