Saturday, May 7, 2011

Allen Ginsberg, King of May, Prague 1965 (ASV3)

We know we've focused on this a few times before but, in the context of our "Annotated Streaming Video" series (and in celebration of the Springtime), wanted to focus on it again - "Allen Ginsberg, King of May, Prague 1965" - Kral Majales - "And I am the King of May, which is the power of sexual youth,/and I am the King of May, which is industry in eloquence and action in amour,/and I am the King of May, which is long hair of Adam and the Beard of my own body/and I am the King of May which is Kral Majales in the Czechoslovakian tongue.." Czech tv shows archival footage from the day itself (May Day, May the first) - the processions, the crowds, jubilant (at least for that moment), thronging the streets and the city squares - and of Allen himself (clashing his finger cymbals, bedecked in his crown).

The "back-story", the other side of the story, another side of the story, may be read here - "Final Report on the Activities of Allen Ginsberg, American poet-beatnik in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic" - memo addressed to "Comrade Colonel Jan Zaruba, 1st Deputy Minister of the Interior" from "Chief of Division II. Of the Ministry of Interior, Lieutenant Colonel Miloslav Kosnar", Prague, May 13 1965 (following Allen's expulsion from the country) - translated with footnotes by Andrew Lass ("the report", Lass writes,"is accurate in most details pertaining to Allen..I know because I was either present at some of the situations described in the report or because Allen told me about them later"). Lass's interview with Allen (published 1998 in the Massachusetts Review) is also highly revealing ("AG: According to accurate scientific (the actual vote) was a fake! Was it a fake?...I am totally disillusioned after (learning) this. I thought I won it fair and square.")

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