Monday, May 23, 2011

Robbie Robertson reads Allen Ginsberg

Clare Ann Matz has put together an interesting tape - "Poetry of the Western World Read By Celebrities and Collected by Clare Ann Matz", a miscellaneous collection of poetry reading (and attempted poetry reading!) by an odd mix of artists, among them filmmaker Wim Wenders, The Band's Robbie Robertson, and footage of Allen himself ("Father Death Blues", mis-captioned here as "Blues For A Dead Father" - that particular reading starts about eight and a quarter minutes in - but the whole tape is worth watching).
It begins with Kiowa singer and educator, Ralph Zotigh (of the Zotigh Singers and Dancers) reading from an Ancient Native American fable - ("Today is a good day"). This is followed by Wenders reading from Walt Whitman's Inscriptions ("To A Certain Cantatrice"). Dave Stewart, erstwhile of the Eurhythmics, reads William Blake's "Sick Rose", then, the late Billy Preston (first silently, then with soundtrack) reads Dylan Thomas. Ian Astbury, of The Cult (and clearly no fan of Dylan Thomas!) also reads, from the same poem, "Should Lanterns Shine". Dario Fo, Nobel-prize-winning playwright and theater-director, reads (in Italian) Andre Breton's "Fata Morgana". Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan's confrere, comes in next, reading a selection from Allen's "Song"" ("Allen wrote this. huh?"), and has some difficulty following the syntax ("an the soul comes.."? "and the soul comes.."?). Allen himself follows (with the aforementioned reading of "Father Death Blues"). Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire "angel", actress Solveig Dommartin, concludes the tape, returning once more to Allen's poem - "the weight of the world".

Other Ginsberg-related videos by Clare Ann Matz (tho' not featuring him in them) may be found here and here. Her recording of the Glass-Ginsberg Wichita Vortex Sutra, live, can be accessed here.

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