Friday, April 30, 2010
Thought we'd repost this one for May Day in case anyone missed it last time around..
Allen's Czech translator, Josef Rauvolf, happened to locate this one for us. We've seen bits of footage from that day, but none with some of the actual sound as you get here. Allen comes on as May King at around 1:30. Keep in mind this is the first traditional May Day celebration - where students elect a May King (Kral Majales) to rule over a bacchanal each May day - that the Communists allowed since their takeover in 1945. The Communists had instead used the date for huge Soviet style labor parades, but student protests & clashes with police in recent years had led the Czech president to test the original formula in 1965 in an attempt to placate them. And so, in returning to the earlier tradition, students were allowed to elect a King, nominating Allen. The exposure and high profile of the event no doubt played a huge role in Allen's expulsion from Czechoslovakia later that week. See video >>
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
[Howl Directors Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein. Photograph courtesy of the Berlinale.]
by Vera von Kreutzbruck
- Germany -
Howl, a biopic centered on beatnik Allen Ginsberg’s seminal poem and the resulting obscenity trial, was the most moving and intellectually engaging film presented at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Read interview >>
Monday, April 26, 2010
[Elsa Dorfman with her Polaroid 20x24 camera. There are only six of these cameras in the world. The image is 23"x36" and is of course in that wonderful Polaroid color. photos c. Elsa Dorfman]
Allen met Elsa Dorfman in 1959 when she was working at Grove Press and was arranging poetry readings for Grove's poets, including Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, Denise Levertov, Joel Oppenheimer, and Edward Field. She kept close with these poets, and continued to book readings when she returned to her home-town, Cambridge, where, in the late '60s, she took up photography. Her website is chock-full of genius portraits in her entirely-unique style, and tells her story much better than our little attempt above, so, bounce on over to ElsaDorfman.com, and explore her world >>
[Harvey Silverglate, Elsa Dorfman, Allen Ginsberg, December 21, 1995. c. Elsa Dorfman]
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
It's official! Adam Yauch's Oscilloscope Laboratories has picked up Howl for distribution, which means we're looking at a September general theatrical release. Directors Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman had been holding out in hopes that "O-scope" would buy the film, since, in their words, it's 'one of the hippest distributors out there." Good catch for all we say.
Sundance Opener “HOWL” Heads To Oscilloscope
read full story >>
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Anne Waldman & Laura Wright's The Beats at Naropa has been on the shelves for almost a year now, but since we just recently got our hands on Marc Olmsted's review of the book, it's definitely worth mentioning again, alongside Marc's, thorough, entertaining, and anecdotal walk through the book, that gives us a little background on Naropa as well.
Beats at Naropa
(ed. Anne Waldman, Laura Wright; Coffee House Press, 2009)
The cover photo says it all. It’s 1975. There’s Allen Ginsberg with Bell’s Palsy after an allergic reaction to antibiotics – half his face is slack and his hair and beard untrimmed – no tie yet. He looks pretty kooky to say the least– hands on knees in formal meditation pose. Gregory Corso has his arms looped around both Allen and William Burroughs. He looks like a kid who’s just kicked the other team’s ass. Burroughs is somber, yet somehow more in relaxed meditation pose than Allen. Anne Waldman, dressed down, is still ’70s post-hippie chic—boots, shawl, a long dress.
It is an astounding time at Naropa Institute (later University). Just one of these faculty at a conventional college would have been a coup. But at Naropa, these were just the core from at least 1975 through the early 80s.
Diane di Prima, Philip Whalen, Robert Duncan, Merce Cunningham, Stan Brakhage – to say nothing of ahead-of-his-time-and-culture lama Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, whose English was better than most Americans, brought together a scene unparalleled.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
[Left to right: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso and Lafcadio Orlovksy - This is likely the fountains at Plaza Luis Cabrera, about which the article quotes Kerouac from Tristessa "a magnificent fountain and pool in a green park at a round O-turn in residential splendid shape of stone and glass and old grills and scrolly worly lovely majesties."]
Probably should qualify that 'likely' it's Plaza Luis Cabrera. Quite possibly it's not. We spoke with Bill Morgan who'd visited the parks around the Roma district and tried matching up the fountains with this photo. Seems the fountain sizes in Luis Cabrera are much larger, than in this snap, and houses and buildings outside the park are fairly visible from any given vantage point, which they are not in this photo. He's pretty certain this photo was actually taken in Alameda Central, a few miles to the north east.
Monday, April 19, 2010
The Telegraph reported last week that two French booksellers discovered the photo amongst cards and bric-a-brac at a market 'somewhere in France.' This would be the first known photo of Rimbaud as an adult that wasn't blurry beyond recognition.
Read full story in the Telegraph >>
Seems unfortunately that it's possibly a hoax. Pierre Joris caught wind of a "crazy Rimbaldian forger" after posting this discovery to his blog, and seems to have sufficient info to support the claim >>
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In his New Yorker story about on a family tugboat pilots, Burkhard Bilger, among other things profiles a sweet kinship between Allen, Peter Orlovsky and the boat pilot, Latham Smith. Their digital edition even features a fun little super 8 film of them taking the boat for a spin. Thanks again to Steve Silberman for catching this one! We're trying to locate Orlovsky's poem the reference, but so far no luck. Doesn't seem to be in Clean A**hole Poems.
"In a Super 8 film of the sea trial, Allen Ginsberg is along for the ride, the wind tossing his already tousled hair. He and his partner, Peter Orlovsky, had become fascinated by the tug—Orlovsky had even written a poem about it—and Latham, for all his suspicions of Eastern intellectuals, had taken to Ginsberg as well." Read more: >>
Elsewhere, on another subject, here's James Franco talking a bit about memorizing "Howl."
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards Presents "I Am America" at St. Mark's Church April 14, 8pm
Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards
I Am America
St. Mark's Church (2nd Ave & East 10th St)
New York, NY 10009
8pm, Wednesday, April 14
Suggested donation $10
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
[William S Burroughs: Self Portrait 1959]
Columbia University Rare Book Manuscript Library mounted an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of Naked Lunch's publication by Maurice Girodias' Olympia Press.
The accompanying website is up indefinitely and has some rare items posted, including scanned letters to Allen Ginsberg, and original manuscript manuscript excerpts that offer another layer of insight into the hombre invisible. Also posted are clips of Burroughs reading Naked Lunch, original book covers, a video of the Gysin/Burroughs dream machine and an odd assortment of photos.
Monday, April 5, 2010
A note of preface from Yakov:
Elegy for Allen Ginsberg
All that Williams or Pound ever planned – he achieved and proved right and made clear,
thought’s materia prima, where Being is one with perception, the rough
as unfussily, artlessly art as the shape of a Zen-garden rock.
certain incident details of time: things he said, clothes he proudly bought cheap
so’s to show how the government lied; Montblanc pen, and the full-scribbled page;
and his incense and tankas and bells. All the mortal montage of his things,
to the tears that are hot in my eyes — now I see, whom I’ll not see again.
and I made him too little return on the much that he gave and forgave.
the cruel youth of some judgements I made – more my shame if at times I was right.
one so good that beside him I look, as without him I feel, like the damned.
I was angry to see them at all, and enraged because not many times
For the service the most had a prayer, and a few of us, scotch, on our breath.
while the Buddhist priest groaned out his chant in the ears of a great many Jews.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
[Buddha's Footprint drafted by Harry Smith, 1982.]
[Buddha's Footprint. Hand drawn frontispiece to Indian Journals by Allen Ginsberg]
Often we get asked the meaning of that "three fish" symbol on all of Allen's Harper Collins books, as well as in the frontispiece of Indian Journals, and for the most part only had the simple answer - It's the Buddha's footprint that he saw while in Bodh Gaya in 1962 - but couldn't really say much more. Recently however we unearthed this paragraph he wrote for the Catholic Worker back in 1967, which is the most thorough and complete description we've been able to put our fingers on.
"I saw the three fish one head, carved on insole of naked Buddha Footprint stone at Bodh-Gaya under the Bo-tree. Large – 6 or 10 foot size – feet or soles made of stone are a traditional form of votive marker. Mythologically the 32 signs – stigmata, like—of the Buddha include chakaras (magic wheels symbolic of energy) on hands and feet. This is a sort of a fish chakra. So antique artists used to sculpt big feet as symbolic of the illumined man – before Greeks brought in human-face representation of Buddha. They never used to have statues of him – umbrellas, Bo-trees, or feet instead – before Alexander came to India."