Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WS Burroughs: The Junky's Christmas

This got us all in the holiday spirit…

[The video and information for this is now available here 

Laki Vazakas's videos: Herbert Huncke, Charlie Plymell, Mary Beach and more

Laki Vazakas, has been posting his videos of the last 17 years that feature some of the beat generation's great unsung heroes & we can't thank him enough. There just isn't enough footage of any of these colorful personalities, so we jump at ever chance we get to see & hear them. Included in this pantheon are Herbert Huncke, Mary Beach (collagist, translator, editor, wife of Claude Pelieu and so much more) Charles Plymell (old friend of Allen's since they roomed together with Neal Cassady in 1963), and that's just for starters. We'll get you going with Herbert Huncke at Cafe Nico, NYC in 1994.

And an interview with Mary Beach....

And Janine Pommy Vega, poet friend of Allen & Peter since 1960, reading her poem 'Across the Table' at the Bowery Poetry Club, September 2003.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interview with John Lofton 1989

We stumbled across this humorously puerile You Tube video-skit based on Allen's interview with the arch-conservative former Washington Times columnist John Lofton and couldn't resist posting. The You Tube page takes you to the full script of the interview on Beliefnet as it was printed in Harpers Magazine in January 1990 [or it did, the link, that particular link, no longer works], so we figured that we may as well just post the link here too, but with the caveat (and that's a huge caveat) that it's abridged and that the complete version is published in David Carter's meticulously transcribed and edited collection of Ginsberg interviews, Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews 1958-1996 (with an introduction by Vaclav Havel), which we can't recommend enough. David Carter points out that John Lofton wrote in 1999 that he'd wanted to interview Allen to "confront him with the Truth of God's Word." He also points out the first transcription was done by Lofton himself.

From HARPER'S MAGAZINE, January 1990, Readings
[Reprinted from "The Puritan and The Profligate," an interview with Allen Ginsberg in the December issue of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture , published in Rockford, Illinois. The interview was conducted by John Lofton, a former columnist for The Washington Times.]
JOHN LOFTON: In the first section of your poem "Howl" you wrote: "I saw the best young minds of my generation destroyed by madness." Did this also apply to you?
ALLEN GINSBERG: That's not an accurate quotation. I said the "best minds," not "the best young minds." This is what is called hyperbole, an exaggerated statement, sort of a romantic statement. I suppose it could apply to me too, or anybody. People who survived and became prosperous in a basically aggressive, warlike society are in a sense destroyed by madness. Those who freaked out and couldn't make it, or were traumatized, or artists who starved, or whatnot, they couldn't make it either. It kinda cuts both ways. There's an element of humor there.
LOFTON: When you say you suppose this could have applied to you, does this mean you don't know if you are mad?
GINSBERG: Well, who does? I mean everybody is a little mad.

full interview

Monday, December 14, 2009

Village Voice Clip Job - Congress Drops Acid with Allen Ginsberg

These Village Voice 'Clipjob' posting are and endless source of entertainment these days, and a real reminder of how some things have changed, while others haven't.

"Congress Drops Acid with Allen Ginsberg" covers Allen's 1966 testimony to a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on his own experiences with LSD in an attempt to dispel government disinformation that was proliferating at the time.

"I'm here to tell you about my personal experiences," he began softly, "and am worried that without sufficient understanding and sympathy for personal experience laws will be passed that are so rigid that they will cause more harm than the new LSD that they try to regulate."

read full clip >>

Friday, December 11, 2009

Aaron Sinift's 5 Year Plan

Sinift's refreshingly sensible art project uses jhola bags made from "khadi" - that handmade cotton based cloth common to Indian rural villages, and essentially the backbone of Gandhi's self sufficiency program - transforming art into the practical, while employing villagers, funding Doctors Without Borders, and offering art patrons & collectors something as well. His literary supplement includes something from one of Allen's more obscure books Luminous Dreams (1997 Zasterle Press, Gran Canaria), long out of print.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Poetry Project offering Kate Simon Prints of WS Burroughs/36th Annual New Years Day Marathon Reading

[Kate Simon. WS Burroughs no. 7. c. Kate Simon]

Kate Simon has donated twelve different prints of William S. Burroughs to the Poetry Project to help them raise funds for a potentially huge rent increase they're facing at St Mark's Church. Simon photographed Burroughs from 1975 until his death in 1997. Each print is signed by Simon with a description of the scene and the year taken in her script.

They are offering one Simon print of your choice for the purchase of a Patron Membership ($1,000 or above) or any donation above $1,000. This is definitely hands down a rare opportunity for you to own an original work of art. For more information email them at or Check their site for more info and a list of prints >>

And of course if you're like a lot of us, and can't shell out 1k for Poetry Project support, there's always the Annual New Year's Day Marathon Benefit Reading (if yr in the NYC area) For a mere $18, you get a few poems from each of those listed below, and plenty to drink and eat (well, those last two cost extra). We're on the 36th one now! and it's a guaranteed heap of fun!

36th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading
Friday January 1, 2010
2:00 pm - ?

Poets and performers this year include Ammiel Alcalay, Bruce Andrews & Sally Silvers, Penny Arcade, Arthur’s Landing, Ari Banias, Jim Berhle, Charles Bernstein, Anselm Berrigan, Edmund Berrigan, Ana Bozicevic, Donna Brook, Michael Brownstein, Franklin Bruno, Tyler Burba, Peter Bushyeager, Reuben Butchart, Callers, Yoshiko Chuma, Church Of Betty, Michael Cirelli, Todd Colby, John Coletti, CAConrad, Brenda Coultas, Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle, Mónica de la Torre, Mina Pam Dick, Steve Dalachinsky, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Maggie Dubris, Douglas Dunn, Marcella Durand, Steve Earle, Will Edmiston, Joe Elliot, Christine Elmo, Laura Elrick, Maggie Estep, Avram Fefer, Jess Fiorini, Corrine Fitzpatick, Foamola, David Freeman, Ed Friedman, Greg Fuchs, Joanna Furhman, Cliff Fyman, Kelly Ginger, Pepi Ginsberg, John Giorno, John Godfrey, Toby Goodshank, Nada Gordon & Gary Sullivan, Stephanie Gray, Ted Greenwald, Tim Griffin, Miguel Gutierrez, John S. Hall, Janet Hamill, Robert Hershon, Tony Hoffman, Lisa Jarnot, Paolo Javier, Patricia Spears Jones, Pierre Joris, Adeena Karasick, Erica Kaufman, Lenny Kaye, John Kelly, Aaron Kiely, David Kirschenbaum, Bill Kushner & Merle Lister, Susan Landers, Joan Larkin, Dorothea Lasky, Denizé Lauture, Joel Lewis, Brendan Lorber, Michael Lydon, Kim Lyons, Dan Machlin & Serena Jost, Judith Malina, Filip Marinovich, Chris Martin, Gillian McCain, Legs McNeil, Tracey McTague, Taylor Mead, Jonas Mekas, Sharon Mesmer, David Mills, Rebecca Moore, Tracie Morris, Will Morris, Eileen Myles, Elinor Nauen, Murat Nemat-Nejat, Jim Neu, Geoffrey Olsen, Dael Orlandersmith, Richard O’Russa, Yuko Otomo, Gary Parrish, Simon Pettet, Nicole Peyrafitte & Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Kristin Prevallet, Brett Price, Arlo Quint, Elizabeth Reddin, Evelyn Reilly, Ariana Reines, Citizen Reno, Bob Rosenthal, Douglas Rothschild, Tom Savage, Michael Scharf, David Shapiro, Frank Sherlock, Elliott Sharp, Nathaniel Siegel, Christopher Stackhouse, Stacy Szymaszek, Anne Tardos, Susie Timmons, Edwin Torres, Rodrigo Toscano’s Collapsible Poetics Theater, Tony Towle, David Vogen, Nicole Wallace, Lewis Warsh, Phyllis Wat, Simone White, Emily XYZ, Don Yorty, Rachel Zolf & more t.b.a.

This event will be held in the Sanctuary. General admission $18, Students & Seniors $15, Members $10.

Also, we apologize for swapping an e and an l in Rebecca Nagle’s surname!

Asia Society: Beats in India Symposium

In 2008, the Asia Society hosted a mini conference on the Beats in India, partly to celebrate the publication of Deborah Baker's book A Blue Hand that follows Allen, Gary Snyder, Joanne Kyger, Peter Orlovsky and the mysterious Hope Savage through India. The conference offered some lively debate on who influenced who, and the whole legacy of this first trip they all made back in 1961. This clip, produced by the Asia Society, is a full day simmered down to 5 mins, with playful jibes and comments from Gita Mehta reading from her book Karma Cola, Ed Sanders, Ginsberg biographer Bill Morgan, Steven Taylor, John Giorno, Joanne Kyger and Gary Snyder.

Old Pond

Allen with Peter Orlovsky on banjo, Steven Taylor guitar and all singing Allen's rendition of Basho's "Frog" Haiku at the Nova Convention, NYC, 1978.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Red Noir: Anne Waldman, Judith Malina & the Living Theatre

On December tenth, The Living Theatre will open a new - and bold - production: Red Noir. The play is written by poet Anne Waldman and directed by Judith Malina herself.

Red Noir
Greedy hands close a black market deal...
A glamorous detective pursues a corporate agent with a valise containing danger…
A rogue lab technician follows them with a valise containing hope...
A chorus of anarchists brings sanity and peace to a world of strife and struggle...

Red Noir was derived by poet Anne Waldman from the metaphors of film noir... it's a drama of technology, erotics, and politics.

An inspired Living Theatre cast works under the legendary direction of Judith Malina.

This is visionary theatre that lets the audience and players collaborate to defeat evil.

Red Noir runs December tenth through January 30
Wednesdays: pay what you can
Thursdays through Sundays: $20
(no show December 18)
previews December 7, 8, 9: pay what you can

The Living Theatre

Thursday, December 3, 2009

LOST & FOUND: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative

CUNY Professor Ammiel Alcalay has spearheaded a pretty ingenious idea, the the Lost & Found publication project, which is currently announcing it's first batch of booklets. It's an exciting project that looks set to bring into print materiel that would otherwise be too costly to make.

They're celebrating their inaugural series this Tuesday at the CUNY Grad Center in NYC, details below.

The Center for the Humanities invites you to celebrate the publication of
The Amiri Baraka/Edward Dorn Correspondence
The Kenneth Koch/Frank O’Hara Letters: Selections
Muriel Rukeyser: Darwin & the Writers
Philip Whalen’s Journals: Selections
Robert Creeley: Contexts of Poetry, with selections from Daphne Marlatt’s Journals
the inaugural chapbook series in
The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative

Tuesday December 8th, 2009
6:30 pm, Martin E. Segal Theatre
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
New York City
Ammiel Alcalay
Readings and Presentations
Stefania Heim, Claudia Moreno Pisano, Josh Schneiderman, Brian Unger,
special guests David Henderson, Bill Berkson, and others
Books and drinks for all!
Lost & Found is a publication project emerging from archival and textual scholarship done by students at The Graduate Center, with the primary focus on writers falling under the rubric of the New American Poetry. Since accessibility to archival material proposes alternative, divergent and enriched versions of literary and cultural history, the Lost & Found initiative takes the New American rubric writ large, including the affiliated and unaffiliated, precursors and followers.

Some More YouTube Gems

Our friend, poet Simon Pettet (Hearth), has been scouring the web this last few weeks and tracked down some things we had no idea existed, others we'd forgotten.

First off is "The Ballad of the Skeletons," directed by Gus Van Sant, from 1996. This aired on MTVs buzz chart through the month of October during the last days Clinton/Dole presidential race. Tom Freston was wanting more politically engaged content for the days leading up to the election and had suggested Allen do a video for his Ballad of the Skeletons track he'd recorded with Paul McCartney, Lenny Kaye and Philip Glass. Allen enlisted Van Sant and this was the result:

We couldn't post the last without including Van Sant's great Burroughs collaboration "Thanksgiving Prayer" (a week late on this!)

Next up, a segment of Peter Whitehead's film Wholly Communion, the whole of which was floating online but has apparently been yanked. Something that desperately needs to be reissued, this documented the reading at Royal Albert Hall, London in June 1965. It included Harry Fainlight, Gregory Corso, Ernst Jandl, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Anselm Hollo, Andrei Voznesensky and many more. So, we're left with this tiny teaser of Allen reading "The Change: Kyoto-Tokyo Express." Unfortunately it comes in at the 13th Stanza of part II "Allen Ginsberg Says this: I am/a mass of sores and worms/&baldness & belly & smell/I am false Name the prey/of Yamantaka Devourer of/Strange Dreams, etc.."

And if you needed reminding you were looking at computer screen...

Oh, and heck, while were at it, why not listen to a little bit of Kerouac singing "Ain't We Got Fun"

Vocals: Jack Kerouac
Musicians: unknown
Recorded and mixed by Jerry Newman at Stereo Sound, circa late 1950’s.
Digitally transferred from original tapes by Sean Slade at Fort Apache.

Sundance Announces Schedule of Competition Films

[James Franco as Allen Ginsberg in film scene from “Howl.”]

After almost 8 years in the making, it's official: Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman's Howl film has been accepted to Sundance. Check here for complete listing of competition films >>

Yony Leyser's film Burroughs: A Man Within got accepted to Sundance's sister festival, Slamdance and will be premiering that first week as well. Here's a little teaser trailer to whet your appetites...