Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 76

On The Road buzz continues. Here’s Kerouac scholar, Regina Weinreich (on the, of necessity, differences between the film and the book). And here’s Gerald Nicosia‘s response, and his assessment of Tom Sturridge‘s portrayal of Allen – “He showed the anger and vulnerability in the young Allen, as well as the power of his poetic mind”, he writes – and goes on – “He even reflected many of Allen’s facial mannerisms, which immediately made me remember Allen when I watched him on screen (I knew Allen well for many years). Afterward I asked Sturridge about that and he said he had watched as many films of (his) as he could find, to learn his facial expressions and his gestures before he began to act the part”.
Roger Friedman in his Forbes review agrees – “Tom Sturridge…puts on the heavy black glasses and does a fine turn”

The other, upcoming, Allen-impersonator, Daniel Radcliffe, has also had his say. Speaking to Jeremy Kinser in an interview in The Advocate: “I feel I am incredibly lucky to be playing him. Despite the damage from his upbringing and from his mother and what he went through, he really emerged into the most fully-formed open compassionate human being out of all of the Beats. He’s certainly the one you’d be most comfortable spending time around, I think. When you watch footage of him and William Burroughs together and see how much they care about each other and how close they were and the love between all those guys and the incredible sadness that brought them all together that they were all carrying in some degree.. It’s great”.

Sunday’s Allen’s birthday. Today in New York, the annual Howl Festival in Tompkins Square Park kicks off, with the traditional “Howl” group-reading, led and orchestrated by, the Bowery Poets Club’s Bob Holman. The reading of the poem this year features a veritable “Greek chorus” of voices, Jon Sands and Samantha Thornhill (from the Popup Poets/Poets in Unexpected Places), Stephanie Berger and Nick Adamski (from the Poetry Brothel) and Nikhil Melnechuk (from the Bowery Poets Club’s BowWow), and others, 4.30 – 7 for those of you who happen to be reading this in New York.

And tomorrow (Saturday), in Columbia City, Seattle, another (now firmly-established) Ginsberg tradition, SPLAB’s annual Allen Ginsberg marathon. Hosts Greg Bem and Aaron Kokorowski explain: “We’ll be going (once again) ALL NIGHT LONG. We’re planning on getting a projector and a screen to play a couple of Ginsberg films, get a sound-system to listen to some of the wilder Ginsberg readings and songs, have space for organic poetry, a mic for performance art of all kinds, live tweeting and blogging, scheduled “(exquisite) corpses” and other writing exercises, food, beer, coffee, snus (snus?) – we’ll have it all”.

The English “indie” band Being There have just released their first album, (just in time for the birthday?), “Breaking Away”, which features the stand-out track, “To Allen Ginsberg” – “Allen Ginsberg may clock in at less than three minutes but it’s an impeccable tribute to a great man”, writes one critic. The lyrics “mirror the Beat sensibility”, writes another, it’s a “gorgeous” song.

And lest we have any doubts about Allen’s “indie-rock” credentials, The Wonder Years, continue to garner considerable enthusiastic response to their 2011 Ginsberg-inspired, “Suburbia – I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing.

Also from last year, Shannon McNally’s “Western Ballad
“When I died, love, when I died”.

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