[Allen Ginsberg, 1954 – oil on canvas – painting by Robert LaVigne]
Newspaper reports last year noted a court case involving LaVigne and his former assistant George Chebanyuk – (“Chebanyuk is alleged to have tried to sell off six works created by LaVigne, including a nude presumably depicting Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg”).
A jury deliberated for four hours, on February 4, and returned a not-guilty verdict.
A civil lawsuit remains outstanding (in May, Chebanyuk sued the Seattle Police Department for the return of the artwork).
Over all this in-fighting and bickering sits the sad, dwindling, spectre of the artist (seminal artist of the Beat Generation), “in declining health”.
[sad update – we’ve just heard today (Friday February 21) of the death, yesterday in Seattle, following a stroke and brief hospitalization, of Robert LaVigne – he’d been, as we say, ailing for some time – he was 85 – more news when we get it – he’s, of course, very much in our thoughts]
Vintage Ginsberg audio – Ginsberg reads (Giuseppe) Ungaretti – Thanks to Guilherme Ziggy for putting up on Soundcloud Allen’s July 1967 reading, at the Festival of The Two Worlds in Spoleto, from “Il Taccuino Del Vecchio” ( Ungaretti’s “The Old Man’s Notebook”).
Plenty more Ginsberg on Soundcloud. See, for example here – and here – and, most interestingly and curiously, here.
More Burroughs materials. (Burroughs, of course, is, likewise amply featured on Soundcloud). We don’t think we’ve mentioned the University of Delaware Library’s show – “Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted – William S Burroughs at 100” on view until June 13. We did mention the Lawrence Art Museum’s William S. Burroughs – Creative Observer (up for a week or so more, until March 2nd). Curator Yuri Zupancic can be seen speaking of that show, and of Burroughs’ art work in general, here.
Recommended reading – Chal Ravens’ piece, “The Priest And The Wild Boys – William Burroughs As Musician“, in The Quietus – on “the rise and fall of (his, Burroughs’) musical legacy”.
William, having been commissioned by the magazine Crawdaddy, on attending a Led Zepplin concert in 1975: “I declined ear-plugs. I am used to loud drum and horn music from Morocco, and it always has, if skillfully performed, an exhilarating and energizing effect on me”.
(The rest of that piece (including Burroughs’ interview with Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page) may be read here).
Jaap Van Der Bent‘s judicious review of Hilary Holladay’s American Hipster (Herbert Huncke biography) on the European Beat Studies Network may be found here
Check out also Estíbaliz Encarnación-Pinedo‘s review (both in English and Spanish) 0n Bob Kaufman
and Thomas Antonic’s conversation with the extraordinary ruth weiss, on the same site, is also well worth perusing.
The European Beat Studies Network next conference will be in Tangier, Morocco in November (November 17-19). For more details on that – see here
[Maggie Estep (1963-2014)]
New York East Village stories – Poet/performer Maggie Estep died last week – a little too soon, a little too suddenly. An alumnae of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa (she memorably studied there in the mid 1980’s, taking classes with, amongst others, Allen and Burroughs)
Here’s a little memoir/note she wrote on Allen, on the occasion of last year’s Tompkins Square Park “Howl” Festival:
“His was an excellent spirit. He gave me very useful critiques when I was starting out, and I also had the honor of opening for him at NYU [New York University] not too long before he died. Best part of it was coming off the stage and Allen standing there beaming, then giving me a bear hug and saying, “That was magnificent”. It meant the world to me –
Also, one time, my kid brother Chris was visiting me at my hovel on East 5th Street in the mid 1990’s. He casually asked me for Allen’s street address and then said, “I’m going for a walk”. Chris came back several hours later to report that he had randomly rung Allen Ginsberg’s bell, said, “I just want to shake your hand” into the intercom, then was buzzed up. Allen showed him his library (really, his library) and made him some oatmeal”.