Harold Koplowitz is a writer, raconteur, journalist, educator and flack who ghostwrote a book for an Illinois governor who did not go to prison. I’ve also authored three books, including Carbondale After Dark. I was born and raised in the small southern Illinois college town of Carbondale. After graduating from high school in 1969, I briefly attended UCLA before dropping out to protest the war in Vietnam, which in my case meant hitchhiking cross-country and smoking pot. Eventually I limped home and my parents agreed to pay for my education at Southern Illinois University. It was during the heady post-Watergate days of 1975, and as a 25-year-old college student, I had a promising start in journalism, founding a campus magazine, nonSequitur, and becoming student editor of the Daily Egyptian campus newspaper. My first job out of college was with the Illinois Times, an alternative weekly in Springfield, the state capital. Then I got hired by my hometown daily newspaper, the Southern Illinoisan, first as a feature writer and later as a county beat reporter. While working at the SI and living in Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome home, I wrote and self-published Carbondale After Dark, an illustrated anthology of history, essays and short stories about my hometown in the 1960s and ’70s.
I became the southern Illinois special correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and used my Kaypro computer to create a community gadfly newsletter called the Carbondale Spectator, a monthly four-pager in which I took potshots at local shakers and movers. Next, I went to grad school at Sangamon State University (now University of Illinois Springfield), where I was accepted into its Public Affairs Reporting program and interned as a statehouse reporter for the Springfield State Journal-Register. After graduation, I became a public information officer for the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services, which funded community services for the disabled. I also began teaching English composition at a community college, and in 1990, I was asked to ghostwrite Illinois State of the State, a coffee-table book summarizing then-Gov. James R. Thompson’s 14-year administration, which he presented to the General Assembly in lieu of his final State of the State speech.
In my 40s I moved to Los Angeles, where I worked at the American Film Institute and began writing columns about the Internet and pop culture for a weekly called Entertainment Today. Next I got a job teaching journalism and faculty advising the student newspaper at Los Angeles Southwest College in what was then called South-Central L.A., which became the subject of my second book, Blackspanic College. Then I became an editor at City News Service in Los Angeles, where I worked for 15 years. My third e-book, Misadventures in Journalism, is a gonzo look back at some of the stories I’d covered over 40 years. In 2011, I moved to South Florida and became a writing tutor at Florida Atlantic University. I continue to be a news junkie, with a special interest in race relations, conflict zones, and pop culture.
Enjoyed this. My grandparents lived next door to you on Briarwood. I remember your dog and its Santa Claus suit well!
Who were your grandparents?
Shirley and Jack. I remember them well.
Hi Harold–I’m working on a book on Carbondale’s “Bucky Dome.” Would love to talk to you briefly about your experiences “living in the round.” Can you contact me? THANKS!
Hi Cary. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I’d be happy to talk to you about dome life. Even better, after moving out of the dome, in 1985, I wrote a magazine-length article about the experience, which never got published. Maybe I’ll polish it up and post it here soon.
Did you ever make contact with Cary O’Dell? He contacted me after I sent an email to a number of SIU folks on the planned Oct 23 event that involves the restoration effort of the Fuller house and the appearance of a very good reproduction of the Dymaxion Car.
Hope all is well Florida can be nice — unless you are in the path of a hurricane
Yes, Cary has been in contact, thanks. Sorry I will miss the Dymaxion Car.
BTW I greatly appreciate that you overlooked my typo/bad memory on the initials in my first note.