A Poet On the Lower East Side: A Docu-Diary – (ASV #27)

Istvan Eorsi has already been profiled on The Allen Ginsberg Project – here. In 1995 he brought a Hungarian film crew (lead by director Gyula Gazdag) over to New York to film Allen in his downtown environment. “A Poet On The Lower East Side: A Docu-diary” was the result, “a free-wheeling cinéma vérité documentary”, in the words of one reviewer. To continue (and providing for us a useful synopsis): “Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg, host(s) radical maverick Hungarian writer, poet and translator, Istvan Eorsi, on his one-week visit in May 1995 to the Lower East Side. The(se) soul-mates talk about various subjects, that range from Buddhism to the meaning of “first thought”, (‘first thought, best thought’), and stroll together around Allen’s neighborhood, where they are followed by a camera crew, as they encounter Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky and Jonas Mekas, visit a Korean grocery, reminisce about a poets’ hang-out coffee house long gone on MacDougal Street (the San Remo), visit several bookshops, St Mark’s Church (Poetry Project), and chat with sincere protesting squatters about to be evicted in Alphabet City. There’s also time for a visit to Ginsberg’s hometown of Paterson, N(ew)J(ersey), a chance to hear Allen record “Howl” at the Looking Glass Studios, and hear (him) sing “Father Death Blues” in his humble old-fashioned kitchen [it’s the bedroom, actually]. If you’ve ever wanted to catch the legendary poet…in some spontaneous moments on camera, here’s your chance in this heartwarming no-frills doc..”

Yes, “Father Death Blues”, there’s filmed recordings of it here and here, but this late version (against a backdrop of books, Tibetan statue and thangka painting – Allen in crisp white shirt, Allen at home) is surely one of the most beautiful

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