Walt Whitman’s Birthday (Suit)

[Walt Whitman (1819-1892) ? – photographed by Thomas Eakins c. 1885]


That the above images (from Eakins’ studio) of a nude elderly man are authentic images of the “good grey bard”, poet Walt Whitman, was first argued by Ed Folsom in the Spring 1994 issue of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review.

Since then, there have been some fairly convincing refutations (see William Innes Homer – “Whitman, Eakins and the Naked Truth” in the Summer 1997 edition of the same journal), but, well, look again – we do know he (Walt) was a friend of Eakins (even sat for

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Peter Orlovsky – One Year On

[Peter Orlovsky grave marker at Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO. Poem excerpt on marker reads: Train will tug my grave, my breath hueing gentil vapor bewteen weel & track (Snail Poem, from Clean Asshole Poems & Smiling Vegetable Songs) Peter Orlovsky – Ocean of Generosity 1933-2010]

[Peter Orlovksy, 1010 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, Spring 1955. Photo. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Seems strange to note, today, one year since his passing. Gone but not forgotten. Dear Peter.

If you’d not seen it before, here is Steve Silberman’s Shambhala Sun article, “ Impossible Happiness: An Elegy for Peter Orlovsky
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Harry Smith

[Allen Ginsberg – Harry Smith’s Birthday Party, 1996-7. 2 color lithograph and screenprint, 32 1/4 x 24 1/2]

Harry Everett Smith (1923-1991), Harry Smith was born on this day.
Here‘s the footage of Harry accepting his Grammy, it’s a touching moment. Here‘s more typical Harry – “Boy, Am I In Trouble! “. Here are some of the masterpieces he’s justly famous for – Mirror Animations 1957 (from Early Abstractions 1946-57) and this excerpt from his Heaven and Earth Magic. Heck, why not watch the whole thing (and his remarkable Late Superimpositions too) over here on the Read More

George Condo – Condo Painting

[George Condo in his Paris apartment, December 1994, portrait of Ginsberg in the background was used as the cover to Ginsberg’s Selected Poems 1947-1995. Photo: c. The Allen Ginsberg Estate]
[George Condo cover for Allen Ginsberg – Selected Poems 1947-1995, HarperCollins, 1996]
Mental States, George Condo‘s first retrospective exhibition (which took place at the New Museum in New York City) closed earlier this month. Holland Carter, writing in the New York Times, gave it a “thumbs-up”, describing it as simply “sensational”.
Condo, is of course the artist who drew and painted Allen on a number of occasions … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 27

Some up-dates and commentary.
More Lew Welch – Passing quietly, a few days back, the anniversary of Lew Welch’s disappearance. Here’s a thoughtful piece from the local papers.
More Ira Cohen – Here’s Indra Tamang, Romy Ashby, and Nina Zivancevic, on their friend, Ira. Nina: “Ira had never liked Allen Ginsberg, whom I adored, because he acquired more fame than he (Ira) did, in many ways. Allen had fame but he had no children. The last time I saw the latter he said how much he envied Ira for having sons; I was on the verge … Read More

More Zeitgeist Miscellanea (Beckham, Big Bird and the Bard)

Zeitgeist-time again. Following last week‘s notes (on Dustin Hoffman and Michael C Hall), here’s another unlikely duo – soccer ace, David Beckham and Sesame Street hero, Big Bird.
First off, “Becks”, as he’s affectionately known, (one half of “Posh and Becks“). English tabloids are aghast at his recent Milanese shenanigans! Paparazzi follow him (more than ever, it seems, these days). And of late, he’s been wowing them with his Nat Finkelstein 2K Allen Ginsberg t-shirt!
Would it be crass to suggest that there are other t shirts available?
There’s also this (and, to give City Lights … Read More

Allen and Bob part 2

[Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco, 1965, photo c. Larry Keenan]
In 1965 Allen arranged for and fellow student photographer Dale Smith to photograph him and Michael McClure and Robbie Robertson and Bob Dylan in the alleyway behind City Lights Bookstore (originally for possible use on the Blonde on Blonde album cover). The images were never used (tho’ some have turned up in subsequent Dylan projects).
As Keenan, on the Empty Mirror website, recalls:

[Michael McClure, Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco, 1965, photo c. Larry Keenan]

“This session was arranged the night before at a party
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Bob Dylan’s birthday

“Allen came to sanctify us”, D.A.Pennebaker and Bob Neuwirth joke (no, they’re serious!) in this DVD commentary on the famous opening segment of Don’t Look Back, Pennebaker’s 1967cinema verite documentary of Bob Dylan’s first tour through England in 1965. Shot in a nondescript alley behind the Savoy Hotel in London, Subterranean Homesick Blues is the soundtrack. Allen is far left (that figures!) on the screen, conversing (conversing about what?) with the mostly-out-of-the-frame Neuwirth.
Allen and Dylan visit Kerouac’s grave in Lowell in 1975 and muse upon mortality. “Is this what’s going to happen to you?, Allen asks, gazing at
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Robbie Robertson reads Allen Ginsberg

Clare Ann Matz has put together an interesting tape – “Poetry of the Western World Read By Celebrities and Collected by Clare Ann Matz”, a miscellaneous collection of poetry reading (and attempted poetry reading!) by an odd mix of artists, among them filmmaker Wim Wenders, The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and footage of Allen himself (“Father Death Blues”, mis-captioned here as “Blues For A Dead Father” – that particular reading starts about eight and a quarter minutes in – but the whole tape is worth watching).
It begins with Kiowa singer and educator, Ralph Zotigh (of the … Read More