Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 26

[Cannes publicity poster for upcoming Walter Salles’ movie, On The Road, 2011]
Allen’s birthday is getting closer, and the various birthday-celebration projects are hotting up. We’ve been reporting these past weeks on CA Conrad’s Jupiter 88 – Allen Ginsberg initiative – brief taped video-portraits – memories, stories, poems – sending the shout-out to Allen. Several additional participants have been added to the roster just this past week – Marc Nasdor, Stephen Boyer, Elinor Nauen, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Filip Marinovich, Erica Kaufman, Ariana Reines, Dan Machlin, Sharon Mesmer, Vincent Katz, Edwin Torres, Paolo Javier, Douglas A Martin, Nathaniel Siegel, Stacy Szymaszek (with … Read More

Allen Ginsberg In The Sixties

Bob Dylan’s unsolicited remarks about not being censored, but, rather, retrospectively, contained, over-simplified as mere “sixties icon” (speaking of his recent Chinese experience) gave us, here at the Allen Ginsberg Project, some food for thought.

“The Chinese press…tout(ed) me as a sixties icon…posted my picture all over the place with Joan Baez, Che Guevara, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg”, Dylan complains.
Pausing momentarily to enjoy the symmetry of that list (Che’s personality-poster face staring out at us, at the center of a “gang of five” (sic)), we wondered – is Allen, still, typically, regarded in this way in the West?… Read More

More Pop Cultural Dalliance

[Allen with Tony Bennett, September 1985. Photo. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]
¬†Following yesterday’s Michael C Hall and Dustin Hofmann “sightings”, here’s another unusual cross-cultural pairing – Allen Ginsberg and… vintage crooner, Tony Bennett!
Some years back, writing in Time magazine, Robert Sullivan made the unlikely connection:
“Allen Ginsberg, Allen Ginsberg,” Bennett said, that voice of his full of sand, his narrow eyes all but closed. “Allen.. Very interesting cat, Allen. I like him very much. Met him long ago at a party in the Village for Franz Kline. We hit it off. I had been looking for this
Read More

Zeitgeist Miscellanea

[Dustin Hoffman reading Ginsberg’s Spontaneous Mind Photo by Lawrence Schwartzwald via]

Is that Dustin Hoffman clutching a copy of Spontaneous Mind – Selected Interviews 1956-1998? Why, we do believe it is. There is, of course, a back story.

And is that Allen and that loveable psycho-killer, Dexter (otherwise known as our good friend, the talented actor, Michael C Hall)? – also in the snapshot is Ben Schafer, Michael’s friend (and, subsequently, Allen’s editor at Da Capo) and Ben’s father, Michael Schafer). Back in 1994 when Ben’s mother took this shot, we don’t think any of them could … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on Charlie Rose 1995

Lisa Phillips’ 1995 Beat Culture and the New America show at the Whitney Museum in New York has already been spotlighted here but it was an important show and a significant moment – “the scroll” (on display to the public for the first time), Jay Defeo’s “The Rose” (in all its immensity) – an important contextualizing of both a West Coast and an East Coast cultural explosion and avant-garde.
Allen was alive then and more than happy to participate in the publicity surrounding the event, guesting on Charlie Rose’s PBS talk show. His appearance is announced thus:
“(Tonight), a … Read More

Weekend Mantras (East Village Other)

Sit back and enjoy ten minutes of Allen and Peter’s haunting chants from the legendary ESP record, “The East Village Other’s Electric Newspaper It was released in the summer of 1966, “an electric newspaper collage”

(this record also featured contributions by various members of The Fugs (Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg, Steve Weber), alongside contributions by various “Factory” denizens (Andy Warhol, Gerard Malanga, Ingrid Superstar), not to mention, poet and novelist Ishmael Reed (reading from his novel), jazz saxophonist/instrumentalist, Marion Brown, and – the very first “noise” recordings of The Velvet Underground (featuring Angus MacLise)).… Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 25

Natalie Goldberg’s “Talk When You Talk, Cry When You Cry: Thoughts On My Teacher” is old news (it was written in 2006) but, in that felicitous phrase of Ezra Pound’s, it’s “news that stays news”. “He’s been dead for nine years”, she writes (it’s fourteen now) “and I miss him..”..All over again I want to honor him..” Well, honor him we will/honor him we do. His 85th birthday is coming up. The Bob Holman-inspired “Ginsberg Turn On’s” have begun (an initiative we noted here earlier) – Sophia Holman dons glasses to read, flawlessly, Allen’s poem, “The End”

Read More

Angus MacLise

[Angus MacLise in Katmandu, Nepal c.1978 – photo by Ira Cohen]
Angus MacLise (1938-1979) was, as cultural historian/curator, Johan Kugelberg puts it, in an informative interactive feature, last week in the New York Times, on the occasion of a pioneering exhibition and series of events that he and Will Swofford Cameron have co-curated,
¬†“a major poet, (a) major visual artist, legendary drummer, (a) composer, and one of those odd human-link documents who link different eras and different streams of thought and streams of art”.
Often remembered solely on the grounds of being the original drummer for The Velvet Underground, … Read More

Lew Welch Speaks From Beyond The Grave

[Lew Welch and Allen Ginsberg outside City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, October 30, 1963, (the day of the Madame Nhu protest) – photo c. John Doss]
The recordings of the San Francisco State University Poetry Archives are, as we have dubbed them, “More Beat Treasures“. We’ve been featuring them this week. Here’s another – from that seemingly-inexhaustible trove – their 1959 recording of the legendary Lew Welch, reading and commenting on his work.
He reads “Chicago Poem” (speaks about his time spent in Chicago), and reads his famous “Wobbly Rock”, and his virtuoso musical engagement, “A … Read More

Not Forgetting Gregory Corso

            [Gregory Corso, Tangier, June 1961. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Yesterday’s posting of a reading by the young John Wieners from the San Francisco Poetry Center Archives (The Poetry Center Digital Archive) inspires us to post another from the same source – Gregory Corso – a relatively subdued Gregory Corso, it has to be said, but then he’s only 26, it’s 1956, the world is still about to open, he’s yet to publish his ground-breaking City Lights book, Gasoline. He has published his first book, The Vestal Lady on Brattle (1955), where … Read More