Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fried Shoes /Cooked Diamonds

I came across this You Tube segment of a Gregory Corso class while perusing Elephant Journal's recent story on Naropa Univeristy. To my great delight it links you to the complete streaming of Costanza Alione's fantasticly entertaining documentary on Naropa's early days Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds. The entire cast of characters are all there in full color, William S Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Amiri Baraka, Anne Waldman, Peter Orlovsky, Allen's Italian Translator Nanda Pivano, and many more. A most playful film very much worth watching.

2012 update - A more expanded version of this post is available on our "Annotated Streaming Video" entry to this movie - available here

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Beats: A Graphic History

By Harvey Pekar, Nancy J. Peters, Penelope Rosemont, Joyce Brabner, Trina Robbins and Tuli Kupferberg

(Hill and Wang; 199 pages; $22)

We haven't had a chance to check out the graphic novel The Beats: A Graphic History so for now we're relying on Gerald Nicosia's review in last Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle. He points out some troubling factual errors, some fairly egregious ones in fact, but is even-handed enough to point out the books strong points, of which there seem to be many.

However, our favorite, without a doubt the most amusing & no-holds-barred vicious review, comes via Greg Adams in The Oregonian..

Once we get a look at it, we'll throw in our two cents.

...and here's (just in) John Leland in the New York Times

...and "Stacy" on the City Lights page - "I've read a lot of Beat books in my time here at City Lights but none are quite as fun as this graphic history"

"Fun"? - ok, "fun" - we'll go along with that!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

George Schneeman: Painter Among Poets 1934 -2009

New York City painter George Schneeman passed away this January. He was a frequent collaborator with generations of Lower East Side poets, including Ed Berrigan, Larry Fagin, Dick Gallup, Alice Notley, Bill Berkson, Anne Waldman, Ron Padgett and Allen Ginsberg and very much part of the neightborhood's cultural fabric. Anne Waldman's wonderful short appreciation of his life in the current Poetry Project Newsletter (below) is a moving introduction to the painter among poets for those unfamiliar. Tributes & poems from Tom Clark, Alice Notley & Ron Padgett are in the same issue. New York Times have also paid their respects.

[Poetry Project Newsletter April-June 2009]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ginsberg in Charleville December 1982

[image: Arthur Rimbaud. Musee Rimbaud]

[Allen Ginsberg & Simon Vinkenoog at Musee Rimbaud. December 1982. Courtesy Joep Bremmers]

Dutch writer & scholar Joep Bremmers has been working on a Journals project transcribing Ginsberg's European Tour journals from December 1982-February 1983, meticulously footnoted alongside the originals. They begin with Ginsberg's trip to Charleville, Arthur Rimbaud's home town, with Dutch poet Simon Vinkenoog, sections of which we'll post below. Bear in mind this is still very much a work in progress, and will likely form the core of a larger project on Vinkenoog & Ginsberg's trip to Charleville. Check back for updates. Incidentally, a collection Ginsberg's poems translated by Vinkenoog, is due out later this year by the Dutch publisher IJzer.

The first few pages are Ginsberg's notes to himself, perhaps not that meaningful, but provide context as the first pages of the journal.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kill Your Darlings

[Kulchur Magazine Cover: William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, morningside Heights, New York City December 1944. Ginsberg Collection]

We knew it wouldn't be long before And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks (penned by Kerouac and Burroughs) would find it's way into some screenwriter's hands, but didn't expect it this quickly. This is the first any of us have heard about this one, so no interesting background to share I'm afraid. I can say that with producer Christine Vachon (Boys Don't Cry, I'm Not There, Savage Grace) behind it, things are off to a very good start. Variety posted standard basic facts announcement yesterday, but for something a little more amusing, Queerty.com will not disappoint, tagging it as "a murder mystery where everyone is attractive and well-read."

To be fair, the script is probably not drawn directly from Hippos since many people had written versions of the story, Ginsberg included, but this having just hit the stores last fall, the timing is at least curious.

On the other Beat film front, the film Howl is now in it's second day of shooting in various locations throughout New York City. Our friends in London found these before we did.

2012 - see later Ginsberg blog postings for significant updates on both of these projects

Friday, March 13, 2009

Call For Papers

[image: Peter Orlovsky, Allen Ginsberg and friends. Benares, 1963. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Dear Readers, Academics, Scholars,
A call for papers to be included in The Transnational/Global Beats: A Collection of Essays
Editors: Jennie Skerl and Nancy Grace
Publisher: For a Proposal to Be Submitted to Palgrave-Macmillan

It can be argued that the Beats are the only multigenerational avant-garde movement that has achieved transnational status and the only one that has resulted in a mass counterculture. This is an invitation for quality essays that address Beat Generation writers and other artists from the perspective transnationalism and/or globalization.

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

1. Beat movements in countries other than the United States contemporaneous with the U.S. movement (parallel with or without direct contact);
2. Interactions, collaborations, and mutual influences between American Beat writers and writers in other countries;
3. Writers/groups that were influenced by the Beats and Beat travels to other countries, specifically younger writers in the 1960s influenced by Beat publications, but also later writers/artists as well;
4. Cultural production such as Beat-related coffeehouses, poetry festivals, little magazines, publishers around the world that show the influence, affiliations, collaborations with the American Beats; also the contributions of organizers, publishers, booksellers, etc.;
5. Discussion of Beat critiques of the postwar capitalism from the perspectives of globalization;
6. Beats and Pacific Rim culture and ecopoetics
7. Beats and geographic areas, such a the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Paris, India, Japan, China, Canada, and/or Northern Africa; and
8. Beats and race from a transnational perspective.

Please submit a 500-word abstract by June 1, 2009.
Send the abstract to both recipients (to NGrace@wooster.edu and JSkerl@comcast.net).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Eliot Katz

I'd like to point out Eliot Katz's new collection of poems that definitely merits mention here. Love, War, Fire, Wind: Looking out from North American's Skull, published by Narcissus Press with illustrations by William T. Ayton, covers work from 2000 on.

Allen & Eliot became friends beginning with Eliot's apprenticeship under Allen at Naropa in 1980, and they remained close due in part to their kindred spirit for activism for humanitarian causes. Posting these two pieces as teasers, "Letter to Allen," & "Recalling Allen," since of course they're Ginsberg related, and give a vivid glimpse Allen's interaction with students and energetic activism.

For anyone in the NYC area on March 11, the book release party is at the Bowery Poetry Club. He'll be reading in collaboration with with bassist Russell Branca, with slides by William T. Ayton, as well as special guest poets Alicia Ostriker, Danny Shot, and Diana Ayton-Shenker

Wednesday, March 11th, 6:00-7:30pm

Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery
(between Houston and Bleeker)

$6 admission includes $3 discount on book (& the other $3 to the club)

Book available at Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, and other selected online bookstores