Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beat Generator

Photo by Christopher Dombres. Creative Commons Attribution License.

Stumbled across this nifty 'Beat Generator' image in Washington City Paper's Weekend Arts Round-Up coverage of last weekends goings-on in DC. They also had an interview with Anne Waldman as she walked through the National Gallery's "Beat Memories" exhibition [this interview with Jesse Rausch is now no longer available on-line but photos from the occasion, by Chris Svetlik, may be seen here]. She (Anne) was in the capital to read "Howl", backed by a string-quartet performing Lee Hyla's score for the poem. There's a 3-minute clip of that performance posted on You Tube by Busboys & Poets (who've also got clips of Kyp Malone & Matthew Hemerlein up from the very same evening).

On the subject of Ginsberg riffs, we came across this entertaining and amusing parody of Howl by Oyl Miller on McSweeney's last week. Definitely needs posting here too! Check Oyl's blog for more.



- - - -

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by

brevity, over-connectedness, emotionally starving for

attention, dragging themselves through virtual

communities at 3 am, surrounded by stale pizza and

neglected dreams, looking for angry meaning, any

meaning, same hat wearing hipsters burning for shared

and skeptical approval from the holographic projected

dynamo in the technology of the era, who weak

connections and recession wounded and directionless,

sat up, micro-conversing in the supernatural darkness of

Wi-Fi-enabled cafes, floating across the tops of cities,

contemplating techno, who bared their brains to the black

void of new media and the thought leaders and so called

experts who passed through community colleges with

radiant, prank playing eyes, hallucinating Seattle- and

Tarantino-like settings among pop scholars of war and

change, who dropped out in favor of following a creative

muse, publishing zines and obscene artworks on the

windows of the internet, who cowered in unshaven

rooms, in ironic superman underwear burning their money

in wastebaskets from the 1980s and listening to Nirvana

through paper thin walls, who got busted in their grungy

beards riding the Metro through Shinjuku station, who

ate digital in painted hotels or drank Elmer's glue in secret

alleyways, death or purgatoried their torsos with tattoos

taking the place of dreams, that turned into nightmares,

because there are no dreams in the New Immediacy,

incomparably blind to reality, inventing the new reality,

through hollow creations fed through illuminated screens.

Screens of shuttering tag clouds and image thumbnails

lightning in the mind surfing towards Boards of Canada

and Guevara, illuminating all the frozen matrices of time

between, megabyted solidities of borders and yesterday's

backyard wiffleball dawns, downloaded drunkenness

over rooftops, digital storefronts of flickering flash, a sun

and moon of programming joyrides sending vibrations to

mobile devices set on manner mode during twittering

wintering dusks of Peduca, ashtray rantings and coffee

stains that hid the mind, who bound themselves to

wireless devices for an endless ride of opiated

information from and Google on sugary highs

until the noise of modems and fax machines brought them

down shuddering, with limited and vulgar verbiage to

comment threads, battered bleak of shared brain devoid

of brilliance in the drear light of a monitor, who sank all

night in interface's light of Pabst floated out and sat

through the stale sake afternoon in desolate pizza parlors,

listening to the crack of doom on separate nuclear iPods,

who texted continuously 140 characters at a time from

park to pond to bar to MOMA to Brooklyn Bridge lost

battalion of platonic laconic self proclaimed journalists

committed to a revolution of information, jumping down

the stoops off of R&B album covers out of the late

1980s, tweeting their screaming vomiting whispering facts

and advices and anecdotes of lunchtime sandwiches and

cat antics on couches with eyeballs following and

shockwaves of analytics and of authority and finding your

passion and other jargon, whole intellects underscored

and wiped clean in the total recall 24/7 365 assault all

under the gaze of once brilliant eyes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters. Reviews streaming in

John Cohen/Getty Images
A late-1950s New York minute: clockwise from far right, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso (in cap), the painter Larry Rivers, Jack Kerouac and the musician David Amram.

Been very pleased with the positive press devoted to the Kerouac -Ginsberg correspondence book Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters. This kind of attention shouldn't come as a huge surprise, given the stature of the two, and it is difficult to negatively critique letters that weren't quite intended for the public. At any rate, the most recent comes from NY Times' Janet Maslin, and we're told to expect a Sunday Times review from them this Sunday. Kesey Biographer, Robert Faggen, offers a glowing review in the LA Times, Chicago Sun Times publisher John Barron offers a short but sweet one, and Steve Silberman for the SF Chronicle also touches on Bill Morgan's The Typewriter is Holy. Other smaller papers have joined in, including The Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Portland Oregonian. The oddest one comes via The Boston Globe that suggests somehow we should hear more 'solos from Gary Snyder, John Clellon Holmes, Corso, Burroughs and others...'

Friday, July 23, 2010

Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg May 2–September 6, 2010

[Allen Ginsberg, 206 East 7th St., New York City, Fall 1953. Snapped by William S Burroughs. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate. Courtesy the National Gallery of Art]

And further to our last post, although the "DC Howl" is this weekend, the Beat Memories show is up till September 14 (shamelessly plug away we do, but it really is worth catching). Edmund White gives it some decent words in the NY Review of Books Blog that was posted yesterday, and a glowing review in the Washington Post by David Montgomery, as well, and to top it off, one on

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Plans? Howabout Harold Chapman, Brion Gysin, Anne Waldman and Kyp Malone

Harold Chapman @ Proud Galleries, Chelsea, London July 29-August 29

[Ian Sommerville, Montparnasse, 1960. c.Harold Chapman]

[Peter Orlovsky & Allen Ginsberg, their room at 9 rue Git-le-Coeur, Paris December 1957. c. Harold Chapman]

Harold Chapman's got an exhibition opening next week, July 29, at London's Chelsea Proud Gallery , and it'll be up for the month of August. Chapman documented the Beat Hotel more thoroughly than anybody else, and tho he's had a few books in print, they're hard to find. Here's chance to get the full scope of his work. The Independent's Rob Sharp gives him and the show a decent plug delivering us some fantastic and useful background info and there's an additional side story by Sharp in today's Independent about his meeting Chapman for that story. Most recently he's in the Guardian talking about his 'best shot' of Allen & Peter.

Brion Gysin @ the New Museum

[Brion Gysin and the Dream Machine. Photo: c. Harold Chapman]

If you plan to be in NYC, don't miss the Brion Gysin exhibition at the New Museum that we mentioned here last week. With an entire floor of the museum devoted to this show, it's the most comprehensive show of his work to date. Interestingly enough the main image the New Museum is using for press is Harold Chapman's photo (above) of Gysin and his dream machine in Paris, for instance in the recent New York Times story. The show also gets decent coverage in NY Press, from Regina Weinreich in the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and great one in New York Magazine that does a nice tie in with the history of the Bunker.

DC "Howl" in the City July 23 & 24.

In conjunction with the the National Gallery's Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg show (open through Sept 14), Busboys and Poets have been staging a series of readings and events and this weekend is peaks with "Howl" in the City at the 5th & K Streets location of Busboys and Poets.

Anne Waldman is reading Howl backed up by a string quartet performing Lee Hyla's score composed for the Kronos quartet in the 90s. There are three shows, two on Friday night , and one on Saturday night, with Saturdays performance followed by a not-to-be missed free concert by TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone at 10pm. Check for a brief but fun interview with Kyp.

Another great quote from him on AG: "I saw Allen Ginsberg give a reading and perform some songs in April of 1994 at some lecture hall on the CMU campus in Pittsburgh. I was 21 and about to move to San Francisco. I was a little confused how this little old effeminate man managed to bring so many people together to hear him sing of sodomy and whatnot. I was fairly enamoured. In my memory it was also the same day that Kurt Cobain was announced dead by his own hand but I could be mixing things up, I was late blooming and much was happening. A couple of years back in the little town where my kid lives, on the Delaware, the two of us out for coffee and juice, we came across an anthology of American poetry from which she requested I read her something. I found Howl and started in almost immediately translating/editing for my 7-year-old audience, who somewhere along the line picked up on my hesitation and asked if i I was changing the words, which I embarrassedly admitted. She wouldn't have my clean version, told me I couldn't censor poetry. So I read. His life and his work are truly inspirational. I'm honored to have been asked to perform and hope to do his spirit justice." - Kyp Malone

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Watch the Howl Trailer

Oscilloscope Laboratories launched the Howl trailer & the poster yesterday and they both seem to be everywhere all of a sudden.

Here's New York Mag's write-up:

James Franco does a mean, understated impersonation of Allen Ginsberg in this excellently edited trailer for Howl, a biopic of the poet centering around his most famous poem's obscenity trial. The trailer cuts between the trial—with Treat Williams and Mary Louise Parker on the stand, and Jon Hamm, in full Don Draper gear, as Ginsberg's lawyer—, black and white footage of Franco reciting "Howl" in a club, and color footage of Franco, with a very neat beard, giving on camera interviews. The whole thing really moves, and is polished and accomplished enough that by the time Franco is howling at a psychedelic sky, it seems like a cool, zany touch.

Head over to New York Magazine to view the amusing comments>>

Here's the list of the release dates and cities. From what we understand it's pretty much set now:

09/24/10 - Berkeley, CA - Rialto Elmwood
09/24/10 - New York, NY - Angelika
09/24/10 - New York, NY - Clearview Chelsea
09/24/10 - New York, NY - Lincoln Plaza
09/24/10 - San Francisco, CA - Kabuki
09/24/10 - San Rafael, CA - San Rafael Film Center
10/01/10 - Baltimore, MD - Charles 5
10/01/10 - Boston, MA - Coolidge Corner
10/01/10 - Chicago, IL - Music Box
10/01/10 - Los Angeles, CA - Laemmle Sunset 5
10/01/10 - Los Angeles, CA - Laemmle Monica
10/01/10 - Pasadena, CA - Laemmle Playhouse 7
10/01/10 - San Jose, CA - Camera 12
10/01/10 - Santa Ana, CA - South Coast Village
10/01/10 - Washington, DC - Avalon
10/08/10 - Dallas, TX - Angelika
10/08/10 - Denver, CO - Tamarac Square
10/08/10 - Houston, TX - Angelika
10/08/10 - Long Beach, CA - Art Theatre
10/08/10 - Long Beach, CA - Art Theatre
10/08/10 - Minneapolis, MN - Landmark Lagoon
10/08/10 - Portland, OR - Cinema 21
10/08/10 - Santa Rosa, CA - Rialto Lakeside
10/22/10 - Boca Raton, FL - Mizner Park
10/22/10 - Detroit, MI - DIA
10/22/10 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Gateway 4
10/22/10 - Monterey, CA - Osio Plaza 6
10/22/10 - North Miami Beach, FL - Intracoastal 8
10/22/10 - Palm Desert, CA - Cinemas Palme d'Or
10/22/10 - Phoenix, AZ - Camelview
10/22/10 - San Diego, CA - Gaslamp
10/22/10 - Santa Barbara, CA - Plaza de Oro
10/22/10 - Santa Cruz, CA - Nickelodeon Theater
10/22/10 - St. Louis, MO - Chase Park Plaza
10/29/10 - Albany, NY - Spectrum
10/29/10 - Athens, GA - Cine
10/29/10 - Buffalo, NY - Eastern Hills
10/29/10 - Cleveland , OH - Cedar Lee
10/29/10 - Knoxville, TN - Bijou
10/29/10 - Madison, WI - Sundance Madison
10/29/10 - New Haven, CT - Criterion
10/29/10 - Rochester, NY - Little
10/29/10 - Sacramento, CA - Crest
10/29/10 - Salt Lake City, UT - Broadway Center
10/29/10 - Seattle, WA - Northwest Film Forum
11/05/10 - Davis, CA - Varsity
11/12/10 - Ann Arbor, MI - Michigan Theater
11/12/10 - Columbus, OH - Gateway Film Center

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuli Kupferberg New York & LA Times Obits

[The Fugs: Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg and Ken Weaver]

These in now, a bit more complete than their first quick ones yesterday. If you've done any bit of surfing you've probably seen them, but here they are just in case: New York Times & LA Times. Also, Simon Warner's written a beautiful piece for the Guardian.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tuli Kupferberg RIP

We've just been told that Tuli passed away this afternoon at 12:30 with his family by his side. He'd been quite ill for some time, so not entirely unexpected, but still this news always seems to come as a surprise. New York Times obit gives a decent but brief overview of his life, with a full obit to follow they state.

As a reminder of Tuli's unique and great sense of humor we thought we'd post some of his drawings that his daughter Samara posted on their blog a few months ago. But also check out his (Thelma Blitz's) You Tube channel where he's posted loads of short vids, proverbs and other seriously fun tidbits >>





Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Peter Orlovksy

[Peter Orlovsky, 437 East 12th St, New York City, 1996. Photo Allen Ginsberg. c Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Peter would have been 78 years old today.

Somehow we managed to overlook this succinct & well written obituary for Peter that our colleague Simon Warner wrote for the Guardian. Better late than never! Also, Chronicles Project of Chogyam Trungpa have posted a sweet collection of tributes. They're continually accepting contributions as well.

CUNY Poetics Document Initiative

CUNY's Lost & Found publication project, spearheaded by Ammiel Alcalay, is announcing its first batch of booklets now available for order. The project publication-party last winter at the CUNY Grad Center was the official launch of the books, with a reading by each of the editors reading from their particular project. An initial batch of booklets were made available there, but more have been readied, and they are now available through their website. Great stuff here.. And the project's on-going.

Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative

Amiri Baraka & Edward Dorn
Selections from the Collected Letters 1959-1960

The Correspondence of Kenneth Koch & Frank O'Hara 1955-1956 Part I and II

Darwin & The Writers
Muriel Rukeyser

1957-1977 Selections from the Journals Part I and II
Philip Whalen

The 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference / Robert Creeley's Contexts of Poetry
With Daphne Marlatt's Journal Entries

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters

We've been a bit remiss in posting reviews of the Kerouac/Ginsberg correspondence that's official pub date is tomorrow. So to catch up a bit, check the The New York Observer's review from last week if you haven't already seen it, and then check the Kirukus review (which mistakenly has the idea this is just the first of two volumes). Last but not least, Granta have published two excerpts from the book in their most recent online issue.

William S Burroughs "What keeps mankind alive?" from Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera)

This is the last track on Hal Willner's 1997 September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weil, and perfectly suited for a Burroughs' performance with backup from Anthony Coleman & the Selfhaters Orchestra (Doug Wieselman, Fredrick Lonberg-Holm, Jim Pugliese, Michael Attias)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Naropa University Shake-Up/Shake-Down

Over last weekend there's been quite a bit of confusion about what kind of shake-down is actually happening over at Naropa, with the laying off of 23 staff, huge budget cuts, and rumors of a down-scaled Kerouac School of Poetics. Summer Writing Program Director, Lisa Berman, and Anne Waldman have written the statement below to help clarify things a bit and dispel some rumors. Things still seem far from clear, so we hope to have more info before too long.

Naropa University
Department of the Summer Writing Program
Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics
2130 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO 80302
ph: 303. 546. 5296 fax: 303. 546. 5287

July 2, 2010

Dear Community & Friends of the Jack Kerouac School:

Lisa Birman and I are writing to you from the Summer Writing Program Office. We know that the Naropa environment has suffered because of the recent downsizing of Naropa staff at large. 23 staff members, though no one from Summer Writing Program or Writing & Poetics, were laid off in June. The community has suffered tremendously as these individuals were part of our world and community. We all have questions and concerns. Our hearts and support go out to those individuals.

However, there are some clearer answers now, and we are more than willing to address your grievances as much as we can. Students are gathering these days to address and protest their concerns, which center on issues of transparency, student involvement in university-wide decisions, diversity issues, and the well being of the campus and all who are engaged here. We are all going through this process together and we support this deep engagement on the part of the students. We acknowledge the financial sacrifice and contributions our students make to this environment. They have prepared a respectful statement of concerns. We are urging them to be accurate and to check facts and details.

We know that the Higher Learning Commission (which grants accreditation) in a visit to the University has made strong critiques and recommendations concerning the way Naropa works with its budget. The situation as it has been is not sustainable for a school this size. A group of university-wide faculty (FEWG) has been working to make proposals concerning a re-structuring of the school that would not go into effect most likely until the fall of 2012. One of the proposed models is that the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics would hold all its wings together (MFA, Low-residency MFA, BA, Summer Writing Program and Writing Center, Print Shop). We think that is likely. We have been told in a meeting with the Office of Academic Affairs yesterday (July 1) that the Summer Writing Program 2011 will retain its current structure, although there will be some budget cuts.

There also appears to be some misunderstandings about the current structure of the Kerouac School. In its current incarnation, The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics consists of two departments: The Department of Writing and Poetics (which houses the MFA in W&P, the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing, and the BA in Writing and Literature) and the Department of the Summer Writing Program. The Kerouac School also has various other responsibilities and interests, such as the Kavyayantra Printshop (primarily under the purview of W&P), and the Audio Archive (the content of which is primarily SWP events and classes). Under the proposed new structure, both W&P and SWP would stay under the umbrella of the Kerouac School, possibly joined by the Naropa Writing Center.

One of the problems, as we see it, has been a silence around the layoffs, although there have been some “healing circles” and meditation sessions. It seems there are legal issues of confidentiality. And we are trying to understand those implications ourselves. The uncertainly of Naropa’s future has also been a huge issue, we are both feeling more confident now as we ourselves seek answers from the NU Administration. The school has always been a ground of struggle and sacrifice. I have been here every summer since 1974, and Lisa — an MFA graduate — has been in her role 10 years! We can certainly attest to the upheavals of the past.

But we want you to know that The Kerouac School community has been sharing a terrific pedagogical and creative summer together; every panel, lecture, reading, and discussion has been of the highest quality — all of us have been present. The caliber of student work — readings, panels, and discourse — is excellent. The guest faculty have been stellar, their engagement, as well, is incredibly inspiring. We have a week to go, which will highlight themes of performance, collaboration, and small press publishing. Our protest is part of our practice.

We want you to know that we are here, that we support and acknowledge our students, that we are up and running, and that the SWP staff, Reed Bye, interim Chair of the W&P Department, and Naropa administrative staff and trustees are willing to meet with students to clarify and listen to concerns. We are part of a larger world and culture that is going through tremendous change, paradigm shifts of all kinds. We will all have to do with less and continue to cultivate our empathy and compassion and our artistic paths. We exist amidst huge waves of suffering as the oil spill continues to gush and harm many sentient beings and the vegetal world, as war rages, as financial cuts are made that affect everyone. It is our duty to stay awake and to provide feedback in our own communities. The writing community here at Naropa has always been an activist one, and a spiritual one. We honor this lineage.

“And while I’m here I’ll do the work. And what’s the work? To ease the pain of living — everything else, drunken dumbshow” - Allen Ginsberg
“The ground of imagination is fearless” -Diane di Prima

With gratitude and respect,

Anne Waldman
Co-founder, KSDP
Chair, Artistic Dir, SWP
Core Faculty, W&P

Lisa Birman
Director, SWP
Faculty, Low-Res MFA

Brion Gysin, The Bunker and the Dream Machine Exhibiton at the New Museum

[Brion Gysin and the Dream Machine. Photo: c. Harold Chapman]

NYC's New Museum is mounting the first ever US exhibition retrospective of Brion Gysin, titled Brion Gysin: Dream Machine. It's opens next week and will be up through October 3 this year. The exhibition is directly across from 222 Bowery, where William Burroughs lived in the late '70s, (dubbed "the Bunker" by him), and where Gysin himself visited on a number of occasions.

That building itself has a fantastic history that New York Magazine just happened to chronicle this month with a nice tie-in to the New Museum show >>

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Greystone's Fetid Halls

Steve Silberman stumbled upon these fantastically creepy images on of the abandoned Greystone State mental hospital where Allen's mother Naomi spent several years off and on starting in 1935. This was the state run facility that was considerably cheaper than the Bloomingdale Sanitorium where Naomi had been for her previous breakdown, a private hospital which almost broke the family financially. Naomi underwent almost 40 insulin shock treatments there as well as Metrazol treatment which left her bloated. This is the same hospital where Woodie Guthrie spent his last years and where Bob Dylan paid him his famous visit. Check the full story >>