[Harry Smith - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg - Copyright The Estate of Allen Ginsberg - Caption reads: "Harry Smith at kitchen table 437 East 12th Street. Apt 22, he lived in tiny quiet room off to the side of the kitchen, suffered compression fracture of knee, bumped by car on First Avenue corner - so stayed on nine months before moving to Cooperstown for half a year - still drank two bottles of beer in his room, taped ambient sounds of New York Lower Manhattan with a Sony Pro Walkman microphone wrapped in towel on outside window, ledge kitchen and front room. Night, June 16, 1988. Another stay for several weeks before we both moved to Boulder, Naropa for the summer. There he settled down."]
Harry Smith's monumental and eccentric archives, (tape-recordings, papers, books - but also, "a great range of (miscellaneous) objects, such as tarot cards, gourds, pop-up books, folk crafts, toys...egg-shells mounted on stands..(etc, etc).." - not to mention, his fabled string-figure collection and "an entire box of paper airplanes" collected from the streets of New York City) - long-time languishing, when we last heard, at the Anthology Film Archives), has now been acquired by the Getty Research Institute, it was officially announced this week.
For select Smith postings on the Allen Ginsberg Project see here, here and here.
Jerry Aronson's definitive documentary portrait, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg is profiled here (on Network Q) with an interview with Aronson (and a surprise walk-on by Allen!) and significant clips from Aronson's eight hours (eight hours!) of footage. Our earlier postings about Jerry and this essential source/ primary video-documentation may be found here and here.
Some of the out-takes from the 1994 Network Q presentation have also been made available - including this ("Allen Ginsberg on Right-Wing Gay Obsession") - Allen (speaking as the credits roll): "The theo-politicians [sic], (along with Jesse Helms and their political arm) seem to be obsessively preoccupied with gay matters, and that indicates some kind of over-concern (as if it's like a personal problem for them), and that indicates a kind of perverse interest, tending toward S & M, I would say, the desire to humiliate gay people seems to be characteristic of the theo-politicians, (that (need)) to be on the top side of the gay equation, to be putting down and humiliating and forcing the gay people to their knees in front of them - which is an old familiar erotic pattern - they're probably not aware that they're playing that role."
David Biespiel further addresses Allen role as an arbiter of cultural sanity here
Walter Salles' On The Road (see our earlier posts - here, here and here) has finally made it to widespread American distribution. Mick LaSalle reviews it for the San Francisco Chronicle - "a movie that, like the book, is episodic and has dips in energy but has more than its share of glory and illumination", he declares. Ann Hornaday, in the Washington Post, disagrees - "Salles' On The Road takes Kerouac's breathless Beat Generation prose-poetry - created in a Benzedrine rush in front of a typewriter loaded with a 120-foot scroll of teletype paper - and reduces into the conventional elements of plot, character and setting, resulting in an episodic picaresque that all but obliterates the crazy, brazen, axis-shifting energy of the original work." A more typical "middle-ground" can be seen in Tom Long's review for the Detroit News - "It's not a wreck of a movie; it's not a sleek race car either. But there's heat to be felt here." - Colin Covert, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune - "There's probably no substitute for reading On The Road's incandescent prose. But this filmed interpretation is a very fine version all on its own" - and Ty Burr, in the Boston Globe - "Against all odds, (On The Road is), a surprising and effective movie".
Adam Mazmanian in the Washington Times singles out Tom Sturridge (Carlo Marx a.k.a. Allen) as "the only actor who gives expression to the spontaneous feel of the book".
More reviews (plenty more reviews) here on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie-review site.
"Like (Marcel) Proust, be an old tea-head of time", Jack famously wrote, in his 1959 "Belief and Technique for Modern Prose" (see here). This week (the anniversary year of Proust - on the centennial of the publication of Swann's Way) Viking-Penguin releases a dual-language edition of The Collected Poems of Marcel Proust [sic] ("the most complete volume of Proust's poetry ever assembled" - "Few of the poems collected here under the editorship of Harold Augenbraum, founder of the Proust Society of America, have been published in book form or translated into English until now"). The Daily Beast reproduces "Pederasty" (Proust's first poem!) and has more on the volume here.
Jean-Marc Barr (who plays Kerouac in the recent film adaptation of Big Sur) summons up the Proust-Kerouac connection - and more, in this interview with the Beat Museum's Niya Suddarth, shot earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. For a glimpse of (the trailer of) the Big Sur movie, incidentally, see here.
[Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg, 1959 - a still from Robert Frank & Al Leslie's movie, "Pull My Daisy"]
And March 25 was the anniversary of the "Howl" bust ("520 copies... seized by U.S. Customs agents on charges of obscenity"). Quite a week!