Film Friday -Remember Daniel Radcliffe‘s portrayal of Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas‘ 2013 film, Kill Your Darlings – Krokidas’ revelations about Radcliffe’s Allen and playing a “sex scene” have been getting a bit of traction.
“Growing up with queer films, there was always some sort of stigma attached to gay characters or gay sexuality, and I didn’t want the sex scene to feel like that in any way. I wanted the arc of the scene to go from nervousness to a place of pure enjoyment to a realization that this would ultimately become a formidable part of his identity. Allen Ginsberg was one of the most renowned gay artists of the 20th century, and I felt that not including his sexuality as part of the story would be a crime. He wore it unabashedly on his sleeve and helped establish queer sexuality as something you could even talk about in art and literature, so the scene was incredibly important to capture right.
Dan had no issue with doing the scene whatsoever. His only question was, “Just so I know, how naked do you want me to be … movie-naked, or Equus-naked?” I said, “I hate when people block sex scenes in order to play hide-the-genitalia — that feels so forced. So let’s just block it, and if it falls into frame, we’ll shoot it.” But then I remember going, “Oh shit: You’re British, and Allen Ginsberg is one of the most famous Jews of the 20th century. On second thought, I don’t think we’re going to go Equus-naked.” And Dan said, “John, my mother’s Jewish and I’m circumcised. Play the scene any way you want.”
God bless Daniel Radcliffe, he commits to all of his actions.”
‘What happened was, I went to Paterson over twenty years ago as a kind of day trip, because I was interested in William Carlos Williams and the fact that Allen Ginsberg grew up there… And I knew just a little bit about its history as the center of the industrial revolution in America, the first real modern city. So I went there and I just made a few notes, like possibly an idea for a film about a guy named Paterson, in Paterson, who is a poet but also a working-class guy. That’s about it.”
“There was an idea that a real democracy would be more or less in line with what you were suggesting, which is that individuals would change their own cells.That is, the cell of the social body is the individual, and that the individual is cleaning up his own act, beginning where he is, which is his own body and his own mind and his own speech. He could then maybe cumulatively have an effect on the whole scene.
But on the other hand you’ve got to realize it’s not likely that a majority of people will clean up their act. In fact, it gets dirtier and dirtier and more and more violent. It may be a large enough minority to help, but it doesn’t quite cultivate the conditions that you idealize as democracy. Still, the most reliable idea is that people have got to clean themselves up and then they can have some effective relationship with the rest of the world that’s a little less aggressive and disruptive…”
(Allen Ginsberg, interviewed, January 2, 1981 by Lex Hixon – (included in the stellar collection Conversations in the Spirit – Lex Hixon’s WBAI “In The Spirit” Interviews – A Chronicle of the Seventies Spiritual Revolution))
Twenty-five interviews, expertly transcribed and edited, appear here, in this volume, for the first time (along with short biographies and photos). Interviewees include, (alongside Allen), Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Swami Muktananda, Swami Satchidanada, J.Krishnamurti, Dudjom Rinpoche, Daniel Berrigan, Robert Thurman, Bernie Glassman, Rick Fields… (to name just a few of them)….
“The Poetry Project burns like red hot coal in New York snow” (A.G.) – Jennifer Kransinski profiles that august institution on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, this week in the Village Voice (see also Miles Champion’s commisioned history published a few years back)
Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays everyone!