Bob Rosenthal, “poet and writer, long-time secretary for Allen, and Trustee of the Allen Ginsberg Trust”, leads off this Friday’s weekly Round-Up, reading Allen’s remarkable 1965 poem, “Who Be Kind To”. Allen’s own reading of the poem can be accessed here. Harry Fainlight, dedicatee of the poem, can be seen, in sweet confusion, here. The poem itself may be read here (just scroll down, it’s right below another lively Ginsberg text, “Come All Ye Brave Boys”). There was also a classic Wes Wilson poster of the poem published in that same year by San Francisco’s Cranium Press (a reproduction of that image is available here)
The Ginsberg Turn On (GTO) continues. Bob’s reading is number 7 – and number 8, “Queens (New York)’s Poet Laureate”, Paolo Javier, reading “Song” (mis-labeled here as “Psalm”). GTO is the brain-child of Bob Holman – “Allen evoked..his energy acknowledged..the continuance of his work engaged” – the project is open-ended.
Our absolutely number one post, most popular post so far, is April 1st (sic) 2010’s Buddha’s Footprint. Another popular post was our tattoo feature. So, combining them together, 18-year-old “cosmicbrownie” from Texas, just recently, came up with this
“Allen Ginsberg is my favorite poet, so of course I would get this tattooed on myself! It’s the first tattoo I’ve gotten. (On my eighteenth birthday which was June 19th!) It was a fantastic experience. I thought it would hurt a lot more than it did, but it was pretty much painless. I got it done at True Love, which is in Kemah, TX. The artist who did it was a fantastic guy and talked to me about poets and books pretty much half the time I was being tattooed. All in all, this will not be my last tattoo!”
The Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco is presently showing “The Art of Howl”, through till September 11 – “This multimedia exhibit”, the Museum reports, “includes character design drawings, animation keyframes & concept art [relating to the recent movie], photos by Allen, storyboards, animatics, and images from (Eric) Drooker’s graphic novel..” On Thursday July 14 (they’ve just announced), they will be hosting a special reading/benefit – “an unusual reading”, they declare – “this is not your usual poetry reading, prepare yourself for an inspired presentation”. The evening will be hosted by Anna Conda and feature such local luminaries as Ben McCoy, James Tracy, Sunny Angulo and Dean Disaster. Local comic artists Justin Hall and Jon Macy Hunter will also be in attendance. More information on the event can be found here.
..and while you’re in San Francisco, perhaps you might want to stay in “the Allen Ginsberg room” (thought we might just remind you) – Hotel Boheme, Room 204 ( – for a more expansive view of the city’s “literary landmarks”, go, of course, to Bill Morgan’s The Beat Generation in San Francisco – Bill also has Beat guide-books to New York City and, now, a, cross-country, Beat Atlas).
San Francisco’s poet-laureate, Diane di Prima, is the subject of a new “impressionistic” documentary – Melanie LaRosa’s “The Poetry Deal” (which played. this past Wednesday, in Manhattan (at the 86th Street, uptown, Barnes & Noble, alongside a reading by her old friend, Maria Mazziotti Gillan). More on the film, in the coming months, here. The poem, from which the film takes its title may be read here
also, don’t miss the recording of Diane’s extraordinary recent New York (CUNY Grad Center) reading. That can be accessed, in its entirety, here.
More movie-news, James Franco’s Hart Crane biopic, The Broken Tower, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival a couple of weeks ago, and was met, it has to be said, with less-than-enthusiastic critical response. Here’s the Variety review and here’s The Hollywood Reporter. Even the usually sympathetic Indiewire, which led off with a Franco quote, “This is a slow film, on purpose”, was moved to add, “Regardless of what Franco thinks, it’s not slowness that holds it down, but rather its overly ponderous nature, a trait only appealing to those with the same existing appreciation for Crane that Franco has” (that would be readers of The Allen Ginsberg Project, yes?). Francisco Ricardo presents a spirited defence of the movie here [ (sic) –2018 update – unfortunately this link is no longer available] -” “The Broken Tower operates in the medium of film”, he writes, “but it is not primarily a motion picture, nor can one fairly place it in the convenient classification of “character study” – those objectivist, externalizing terms prevent us from understanding the work that we must perform in order to observe a soul that is deeply poetic, personal, and palladian. The film is not to be viewed as much as navigated, one must be in it, for its method is less that of a visual panegyric than that of the existential problem..” (hmm, that might be criticized as being a little bit ponderous too!)
One group that seem to be acquiring both critical and popular acclaim are “power-pop/punk” Philadelphia band, The Wonder Years, who’s Ginsberg-influenced “Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing” (previously mentioned here) continues to get rave reviews (like this one). Melodicnet notes that it debuted this week at number 65 on the Billboard Top 200. Here‘s the lyrics to one of the songs – “I had dreams of myself/As the Allen Ginsberg of this generation/but without the talent, madness, or vision…I know we’ve got miles to go but I’m putting my shoulder to the wheel”.
Word reaches us of a huge data trove – the recently-released files on the “Yippies” from the FBI – several thousand pages! – something tells us that the name “Allen Ginsberg” is likely to turn up! We’ll keep you posted.