|[Allen Ginsberg at his bedroom meditation shrine, East 12th St, New York City, Autumn, 1995.|
Photo: Slava Mogutin]
Born Newark, New Jersey, June 3 1926. Today would have been Allen's 90th birthday!
In New York, Bob Holman and Jane Friedman's six days of celebratory events kick off with a "Happy Birthday Allen" evening - The celebration includes readings, music and remembrances of the times and its continuing influence, by friends and contemporaries, such as Michael McClure, Ed Sanders, Bob Rosenthal and Peter Hale (from the Ginsberg Estate), Len Chandler, and, last but not least, Holman himself.
Tonight's program will also include a round-table discussion, led by producer Pat Thomas, on the recently-released Ginsberg 3-cd box-set, The Last Word on First Blues, with participation by several of the musicians who appeared on the original record (among them David Mansfield, Steven Taylor and David Amram) and a one-off jam/reunion - (followed by a full set by David Amram).
The collection continues to get rave reviews
Here's Jesse Jarnow in Pitchfork: "Producer Pat Thomas's loving "Last Word on First Blues" reissue reveals Allen Ginsberg as a missing link in the East Village's musical pathways, a secret alt-folk hero hidden in relatively plain view".. "always (and still) vital"
And don't miss Stacey Anderson's extended piece in The Guardian (quoting both Taylor and Amram) - Amram: "Allen, like 90% of America, was enthralled with the image of rock 'n roll stardom" - Anderson goes on: ""..First Blues" reflects that abundance of ambition; it's unapologetically ramshackle and hectic with ideas, ricocheting from confrontational folk screeds to droll faux tropicalia and jaunty ragtime, united loosely in the sort of colorful imagery Ginsberg had already penned in abundance"
- The "reunion" concert this evening promises to be a whole lot of fun.
And this year, as always, (something of a tradition here at Ginsberg Central), a glimpse of the flowering kousa dogwood, planted in his honor, in the churchyard of his beloved St. Mark's Church, home (continuing home) to the Poetry Project (getting ready to celebrate, next season, remarkably, its 50th anniversary!)
Previous dogwood images - here, here, here and here)
On the occasion of his birthday, a profusion of blooms - Happy Birthday, Allen!
[Kousa Dogwood, St Mark's Church, NYC, Summer 2016 - Photograph by Peter Hale]