Filmmaker Stan Brakhage died nine years ago on this day. Here’s Brakhage’s [fittingly on film – the source is his commentary, included as an extra in the Jerry Aronson DVD set] – generous words, thoughtful words, he speaks fondly of Allen, and of Allen’s ethical standards (quoting the words of Tennessee Williams) – “Nothing human disgusts me, except deliberate cruelty”.
“My first formal poetry lesson came from Allen Ginsberg, when I was about nine years old. Allen studied with the same Buddhist teacher as my parents. He invited a handful of kids from the community to his East Village apartment and led us through some writing exercises and songs. Of course I had no idea who he was, except for a sweet old dude named “Allen.” I don’t remember much of what he taught; I hadn’t read a word of his writing. I remember his kind demeanor, his fearlessly bad singing voice, his soft gaze of a wild uncle at his kitchen table, and the old-style overhead-chain toilet in his bathroom. Later, in high school and college, when I actually started to fancy myself a “wannabe” Poet, I finally read Ginsberg’s work in depth, appreciating the ways his lyrics churned, the way he painted with words, the way his thoughts effervesced out onto the page. But mostly I remembered our few interactions before his death in 1997, and his figure in his apartment, a portrait etch-a-sketched in my mind.”
There’s an interview with Ethan (and its well worth perusing) in Reality Sandwiches, here.
Nat Hentoff, famed civil libertarian, on Allen: “I (actually) got to know Allen fairly well (and) I must say (he) was such a strong free-speech guy. And, of course, his famous poem “Howl” did a lot to alert people to what was going on in this country. He was a remarkable guy. He was himself. He was an original.”
There’s a remarkable multi-dimensional web-site, Passing Stranger, that’s just gone on line (a long-time-in-the-making project by award-winning radio producer Pejk Malinovski). Narrated by film-maker, Jim Jarmusch (and produced by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation), it is, to quote its own description, “a sound-rich chronicle of poets and poetry associated with the East Village (in New York City)”, containing “site-specific poetry, interviews with poets, archival recordings, and music” (music by composer, John Zorn). Allen is, of course, the star (tho’ only one of many) and the focus here is on his old apartment at 437 East 12th Street. Erstwhile secretary, and head of the Ginsberg Trust, Bob Rosenthal, gives all the details (Allen tossing the keys in a sock down to the street from his upstairs room!). Don’t miss the slide show (which includes several rarely-seen Ginsberg images) – and, indeed, don’t miss the whole “walk” itself, a surprisingly rich and informative “living history” presentation.
Kerouac (90th!) birthday celebrations coming up, starting with the annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac bash this weekend in Jack’s home-town. A full weekend of events have been planned (including the “Reading of the “Jack Kerouac Day in Massachusetts” Proclamation by Mayor Patrick Murphy”(!), readings, panels, discussions, real walking tours).
Further celebrations are planned, across the country – in Gloucester, Boulder, Los Angeles, San Francisco – not to mention, internationally. We send you to our friends at Kerouac.com for more information – indeed, (hosts of North Beach’s Beat Museum), they are the enthusiastic source for “all-things Kerouac”.
It’s they who inform us of the latest hot news – the “On The Road” trailer (trailer for Walter Salles’ film adaptation of “On The Road“) is going to be released..today! – “MK2 Productions will be releasing the movie trailer..(and it) will be available exclusively on the official On The Road Facebook page, starting on March 9th, for the first 24 hours…Go to the Facebook page and “Like” the page. That will allow you access to the exclusive content…””If you don’t have a Facebook account”, they inform us, “you’ll get to see the trailer very soon after.”