Steven Watson on Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Howl – A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich

Steven Watson lays it down for us in the current issue of Art Forum. He is  the author of The Birth of the Beat Generation, Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties, and  Strange Bedfellows: The First American Avant-Garde among other titles.

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Howl, 2010, still from a black-and-white and color film in 35 mm and Super 16 mm, 90 minutes. Allen Ginsberg (James Franco)

“Probably no work of American literature of the mid-twentieth century has taken on so many identities as Allen Ginsberg’s 1955 poem “Howl”: Beat anthem, First Amendment cause célèbre, Lower East Side fringe festival. It’s safe to say that even those who have never read the poem would recognize its haunting opening lines: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, / dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.” It’s even safer to say that few of its admirers would have considered “Howl” a likely subject for a motion picture. Who would make a poem into a movie anyway? That’s even more unlikely than Ginsberg appearing in a Gap ad!….”  Watson goes on..     Read the  complete commentary – here 

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