Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Very Brief History of the Orlovsky Family

[photo: Lafcadio & Peter Orlovsky, outside Peter's small apartment on Potrero Hill, San Francisco, ca. June 1956. Allen Ginsberg Estate/Corbis]

[caption: Peter Orlovsky returned to New York from India, Avenue C and 5th Street, September 1963. Allen Ginsberg] (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)

[Marie, Lafcadio & Kate Orlovksy, Plainview, NY, December 27, 1989. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[Marie Orlovsky, December 27, 1989. c Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[caption: Peter Orlovsky b. 1933 visiting his family - Lafcadio age 47 had lived with us in San Francisco - NY 1955-61 & later intermittent years; mother Kate Orlovsky age 78 totally deaf after botched mastoid operation NY Eye & Ear Hospital circa 1930s; Laff's twin sister Marie who'd lived with me & Peter O. in Lower East Side 1959 while she attended baby nurse school in Jersey -- but quit jobs soon after, angry at hearing voices' filthy gossip behind her back. Center Moriches Long Island, their second floor flat on lonely road, they need taxi to supermarket shopping miles away with S.S.I. checks. July 26, 1987 visit. Allen Ginsberg. (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)

[Ginsberg caption: "Visit with Julius Orlovsky, hadn't seen him several years, now age 56, front parlor in small town Kirkwood N.Y. residence where with half-dozen Binghamton State Hospital patients subsidized by state funds he was supervised by Mr. & Mrs. Finch in their large family house, April 4, 1987"] (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[photo: Lafcadio & Peter Orlovsky, August 1995. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

I'd like to be able to say 'run to your nearest bookstore and buy a copy of Peter Orlovsky's Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs' but it's been out of print a long time now. Copies online seem to be as high as 60$ at the low end. It's high time it get's republished, but in the meantime, we highly recommend searching out if you haven't yet read it. His poems poems from India are disturbing and vivid, but are balanced in their humanity & tenderness.

To be continued....

You Tube Mystery Clip

Ever since we first saw this clip we'd assumed it was Robert Frank, but he just informed us it's not his. Anybody wanna take a stab at it? We're guessing it's circa June 1964. it's shot on the corner of East 9th Street & 3rd Avenue, New York City.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

William Blake's First Exhibition Recreated at the Tate Britain

[William Blake, Jacob's Ladder 1799-1806. Pen and grey ink and watercolour on paper © The Trustees of the British Museum]

200 years ago, at age 52 William Blake had his first exhibition at a tiny gallery in London's Soho district. Not a single work sold, and worse, the only review has been called one of the harshest in history of British art. Tate Britain have managed to locate 10 of the 16 original works, the 10th just recently added having been deemed sturdy enough for travel to their gallery. The exhibition opened April 20 and will remain through October 4.

Read more at Culture24

For those of you in Paris, or planing a trip there, "the first ever retrospective of William Blake in France" is at the Petit Palais through June 28th, titled William Blake: The Visionary Genius of British Romanticism.

[Europe, A Prophecy: The Ancient of Days. Frontispiece - 1794. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Anger Advice

While we be busily a-brewing-up the next big posting, we figured, surely it wouldn't hurt to put this one out there, in the meantime - For some reason it never had a composition-date attached to it, but our guess is that it's probably late '80s or early '90s. It appeared in Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays 1952-1995, Harper Perennial


At root of intolerance is anger. The medicine for anger is awareness of anger: "Anger doesn't like to be reminded of fits," said poet Jack Kerouac. If we make a practice of noticing our thoughts, to "catch yourself thinking" (as the phrase goes in idiomatic Americanese), we have a better chance of making our own irritations and fits of anger more transparent, airing out the "hot air" of emotion -- as Tibetan Buddhist Lamas say, that dissolves 80 percent of the anger.

If all mankind can't practice this kind of meditation -- sitting, standing or lying down -- at least the elite and the "leaders," Premiers, Presidents, Dictators, and Senators can do so -- I do as best I can.

As Ever,

Allen Ginsberg

Random photo of the day:

[photo: Joanne Kyger, Allen Ginsberg's East 12th Street Apartment kitchen, New York City, November 26, 1989. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kerouac's Imaginary Baseball Teams

One of the really fun and curious items on display the New York Public Libraries' Kerouac exhibition last year was Jack's mapping of the imaginary Baseball Leagues he dreamed up in his adolescence, complete with statistics, announcements and reports in great detail. The Berg Collections' curator, Isaac Gewirtz, has written a 75 page book on the subject published by the New York Public Library. Though now only available in their gift shop, I'm sure you can order them online. NYTimes Story.

Random photo of the day....

[photo: Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Philip Glass and Bob Thurman, Tibet House Rehearsal, Carnegie Hall, New York City, February 27, 1995. c Allen Ginsberg Estate.]

2012 - update - Kerouac's Baseball fascination re-visited here

Friday, May 15, 2009

Diane DiPrima San Francisco Poet Laureate

It's just been announced that Diane DiPrima has been elected the new San Francisco Poet Laureate. A bit last minute notice here but for those of you in the area, there will be a brief ceremony and announcement at the Richmond Branch Library in San Francisco today, Friday at 11 am. The Library is at 351 9th Avenue between Geary and Clement. Diane will do a short reading as well. There will be a more formal inauguration in the near future.

Random Photo of the Day...

[photo: Taylor Mead, 2nd Ave & 6th Street, New York City, November 1992. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Country Blues

[photo: The “photo-booth self-portrait” of Johnson from the early 1930s, one of only two known photos of Johnson made public. From the Granger Collection, New York.]

Back in the late 80s, Ginsberg made a handful of blues collections for a Brooklyn College Course he was teaching. They pretty much were collections of his favorite blues songs from over the years, and usually were his favorites because of the lyrics, which blues lines he only seemed to like more over the years.

This one's from January 1989. Yes, that xerox of a xerox can't really be scanned any better I'm afraid, so here's the transcript of the tracklisting below. Will try to transfer the cassette and have it available for download before long. In the meantime, we'll try to fill in the list with links to youtube and other audio links available as we find them

Blues Anthology – Blind Lemon Jefferson, Elizabeth Cotton, Ma Rainey, Robert Johnson, et al 1926-1928

Side A
Ma Rainey
1) Jealous Hearted Blues. Oct 1924. Howard Scott- Cornet, Don Redman-Clarinet, Fletcher Henderson - Piano, Charles Dixon- Banjo.
2) See See Rider. Louis Armstrong – trumpet, Buster Bailey-Clarinet, Fletcher Henderson – Piano, Charles Dixon – Banjo

Bessie Smith
3) Young Woman’s Blues 1926
4) Send me to the Electric Chair
5) Gimme A Pigfoot (this may be an alternate version from from the one Allen listed)
6) Yellow Dog Blues
Charlie Green – Trombone, Buster Bailey – Clarinet, Coleman Hawkins—Tenor sax, Fletcher Henderson Piano, Charlie Dixon – Banjo, Kaiser Marshall – drums. Bessie Smith Story Vol II CL856

Texas Alexander
7) Levee Camp Moan Blues. August 12, 1927. Charters Country Blues Vol I

Blind Lemon Jefferson
8) That Black Snake Moan. Milestone MPL 2013 October 1926.

Charlie Patton
9) Tom Rushen Blues. June 1929 Yazoo L 1026
10) Shake It Break It. June 1929
11) Poor Me. February 1, 1934

Blind Blake
12) That’ll Never Happen No More. May 1927. Unknown Rattlebones (instrument) . Biograph BLF-12003

Mississippi John Hurt
13) Blue Harvest Blues. NY, Dec 28, 1928. Biograph BLF-C4

Richard Rabbit Brown
14) James Alley Blues. March 11, 1927. London: Matchbox Blues Master Series MB5201 New Orleans.

Peg Leg Howell
15) Rolling Hill Blues. 1929 Georgia Blues Yazoo L-10121

Lonnie Coleman
16) Rock Island Blues 1929 Atlanta Blues Sam Charters RBF 15

Eddie One String Jones
17) One String Blues. Zither Monochord LA Skid Row Dozen’s Portent (1940, 1950?)

Robert Johnson
18) Crossroads Blues. R.J. King of the Delta Blues CL 1654. November 1934
19) Walking Blues. Nov 27, 1936. R.J. King of the Delta Blues CL 1654. November 1934
20) Stones in My Passway (as above)
21) Hellhound on My Trail. June 20, 1937. (as above)
22) Love in Vain 1937 King of the Delta Blues II

Bo Carter
23) Baby Who’s Been Here. 1938 Bo Carter’s Greatest Hits. Yazoo. L1014

24) Irene. 1940s Deja Vue DOLP Italy
25) Black Girl [aka In the Pines/Where Did You Sleep Last Night] (as above)

Skip James
26) Washington DC Hospital Blues. 1964
27) Drunken Spree. 1964 Vanguard USO 79219
28) Devil Got My Woman 1931 Biograph BLP 12029 “Skip James King of Delta Blues”

Bill Williams
29) Make Me Down A Pallet on the Floor. 1970 Blue Goose 2013
30) Nobody’s Business (as above)

Elizabeth Cotten
31) Freight Train Blues. 1957 Folkways FA3537
32) When I’m Gone 1979

(*on the Xerox indicates lyrics were available at the time. Something that nowadays one could find on the internet with little effort )

Random Pic of the Day...

[image: Harry Smith & M Henry Jones. Christine's Restaurant, New York City, May 1986. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

2012 - This post has also been updated and is available here as part of a series on Allen's favorite music - "Allen's jukebox" (see here)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Naked Lunch @ 50: Anniversary Essays

“‘Disgusting,’ they said . . . ‘Pornographic’ . . . ‘Un-American trash’ . . . ‘Unpublishable’ . . . Well, it came out in 1959, and it found an audience . . . Town meetings . . . Book burnings . . . And an Inquiry by the State Supreme Court . . . That book made quite a little impression . . .” — William Burroughs

Naked Lunch@50: Anniversary Essays, edited by Oliver Harris and Ian MacFadyen, to be published by Southern Illinois University Press in June 2009, is the first book devoted in its entirety to William Burroughs’ masterpiece.

If the continued significance and relevance of Naked Lunch fifty years after it's publication isn't already clear, one look at this book should dispel any doubts. Due out this June with essays by Jonas Mekas, Barry Miles, DJ Spooky, Philip Taaffe, Jean-Jacques Lebel and many more.

Along with this collection and a 50th Anniversary edition of Naked Lunch in the works, a series of events are scheduled in Paris, New York and London starting with Paris in early July. Check as well as Reality Studio for schedules & updates.

Robin Blaser 1926-2009

On a more somber note, poet Robin Blaser passed away last week in Vancouver at age 83, just shy of his 84th birthday. He's probably best know as part of the Berekely Renaissance triumvirate alongside Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer. More >>

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sonic Youth: Sensational Fix

[image: Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, Allen Ginsberg, Steven Taylor. Wichita Vortex Sutra performance. St Mark's Church, NYC October 1994. c. John Grady]

After launching last June in Saint-Nazaire, Sonic Youth's exhibition they curated with Roland Groenenboon moves to Malmö on May 26th for the rest of the summer, then on to Pamplona, Spain, in October. ( The show documents their extensive collaborations in and out of music, and collaborate they did! Unfortunately for us stateside peeps there are no US cities scheduled... yet(!)

For those of us who can’t manage to swing over to Sweden or Spain, there is a stunning 720-page companion catalog for the show, loaded with contributions by the likes of Raymond Pettibon, Richard Prince, Dan Graham, Paul McCarthy, Robert Smithson, Mike Watt, Christian Marclay, Cindy Sherman, and many many more, all of whom are, of course, featured in the show in one form or another. Don't be intimidated by it's size... this is one seriously fun tome!

As if that wasn't enough, there are two 7"s to boot, one side for each band member. More details at the Sonic Youth Sensational Pop page…

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jack Spicer, Kevin Killian and more At The Poetry Project

St Mark's Poetry Project have got the killer lineup next week. (my apologies we're a bit NYC-event-centric this round!). Simon Cutts & Nancy Kuhl kick things off Monday night, John Giorno, Wednesday night, Thursday it's John Ashbery, and Friday, it's the Panel & Reading For The Collected Jack Spicer My Vocabulary Did this To Me, with Dodie Bellamy, Anselm Berrigan, Julian T. Brolaski, C A Conrad, Samuel R. Delany, Peter Gizzi, Kevin Killian, Basil King, Douglas A. Martin, Deborah Remington, Harris Schiff, Rod Smith, George Stanley, Lewis Warsh & Karen Weiser. Check their site for details, times etc.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Art, Creativity and Tibetan Buddhism

For those of you in the New York City area, here's a chance to catch Gelek Rinpoche, Philip Glass, Francesco Clemente and Michael Imperioli on the same stage discussing relevance of art & spirituality in a benefit event for Gelek Rinpoche's Jewel Heart Tibetan Buddhist organization. It's at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, in lower Manattan, Saturday May 9th, 7pm. Check Jewel Heart's website for more details and tickets.

Meanwhile over at Reality Sandwich....

It's been a little over a year since internet pioneer Ken Jordan and "psychonaut' Daniel Pinchbeck launched the website, and they marked the anniversary with the publication of Toward 2012 a selection of 36 essays featured throughout that first year. If you're not already familiar, click on over and check out the site who's roster of regular contriubuters include Sharon Gannon, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Michael Brownstein, Erik Davis and of course Daniel Pinchbeck.

Ginsberg's accompanist Steven Taylor posts a regular blog for Reality Sandwich, and I hightly recommend checking his Travels With My Aunt: Part I, a brilliant recounting of what working with Allen was like.

Gary Snyder Readings up on Guggenheim Site

[image: Gary Snyder in Kyoto, Japan, June 1963. c Allen Ginsberg Estate/Corbis]

The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989 at the New York City Guggenheim Museum curated by Alexandra Munroe came to a close last week. There is however still a decent web presentation, that includes Gary Snyder reading poems of Philip Whalen, Ezra Pound and Jack Kerouac as well as some of his own work, “Endless Streams and Mountains,” "Riprap and Cold Mountains," and “Mu ch’i’s Persimmons,” all selected by Snyder to accompany the exhibition. Hear the Gary Snyder Readings