A selection of videos are now up from Jan 16th’s NYC Housing Works Ginsberg Recordings First Blues launch. Hettie Jones (filmed here by Norman Savitt), after a little autobiographical reflection, reads “Broken Bone Blues”, Ambrose Bye (accompanied by Devon Waldman – and Aliah Rosenthal on cello) performs Allen’s immortal “Gospel Noble Truths”, Andy Clausen gives a rousing (as ever) reading of the “Capitol Air” lyrics, David Amram (recalls Allen and Bob Dylan and Allen’s first forays into music – he also performs his own “My Buddha Angel of Cheng Du”, accompanying himself on guitar, pennywhistles, and Chinese hulusi – (not to mention scat-singing, yodelling and, the center-piece, a Mandarin Chinese sing-along!) – Kevin Twigg is on glockenspiel and drums). C.A.Conrad reads “No Reason” (rendered on First Blues by it’s author, the absent-for-that-particular-night Steven Taylor), as well as the heartbreaking late lyric, “Gone Gone Gone“.
Please note that videos in the First Blues feature that say “clairedelune49” were filmed by Thelma Blitz, not Norman Savitt. This includes the Andy Clausen, Ambrose Bye, CA Conrad, and Ann Waldman videos. The David Amram and Hettie Jones videos are by Norman Savitt.
[Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings]
As has been reported some years back, (for example here), Daniel has his own poetic background , and, in answer to a question in Logan Hill’s recent Esquire interview – (“I’m sometimes haunted by that Ginsberg line [from “America”] – “Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time magazine?/ I’m obsessed by Time magazine./ I read it every week.” – Do you have a favorite line?) – His reply: “I don’t have a favorite line, but I have a favorite poem (of Allen ‘s) – “Kaddish”, because of the way your knowledge of his life and his mother informs the way you read his poetry. It’s a real heart-breaker”.
Michael Polish’s Big Sur also debuted (this past Wednesday) at Sundance (to slightly less fanfare!). Here are a few of the initial reviews –
Tim Grierson for Screen Daily – “Big Sur achieves one of the trickier challenges in cinema, dramatising the inner demons of a character awash in melancholy and addiction. This unapologetic mood piece…does a fine job of making inertia and self-doubt palpable while keeping pretentiousness and self-indulgence at bay…(It) is simply too small and idiosyncratic a film to attract a large audience, but the author’s fans should be suitably intrigued by this impresionistic portrait”.
Allison Loring for Film School Rejects – “Breath-taking visuals of Big Sur and the Californian coast make you feel that you are there, which, when paired with the beautiful score…feels like true escapism and make the juxtaposition against Kerouac’s break-down all the more tragic. (On the downside), while all the actors are clearly committed to their performances, (Jean-Marc) Barr (the Kerouac figure)’s lack of interaction with them, particularly when the story revolved around him, caused the ensemble to feel like an under-rehearsed stage-play rather than a tight-knit group of friends”.
Glen Warchol for Salt Lake Magazine is glibly dismissive – The movie, he declares, suffers from “too much polish (sic) and too little motion”.
[William Blake (1757-1827)]
A whole slew of “lost” William Blake etchings have been (re)discovered in Manchester, England by resourceful University art students – a major event! More on that story here.
Michalis Limnios on his Blues@Greece site continues to astound with his remarkable collection of interviews. The most recent? – with George Laughead, curator/creator of, “an on-line history of Beats in the Heartland”, “Beats in Kansas” – “I put up Beats in Kansas at KU (Kansas University) because of the odd fact that 80 percent of the living Beats were from Kansas”.
Actually, blink, and here’s another one! – Cliff Anderson talks about his experience and friendship with Jack Kerouac.