The Allen Ginsberg Project is a pretty hyper-rich hyper-link site (as I’m sure all those who’ve been following us would agree). So it’s in the nature of the beast that links occasionally go dead (we try to keep on top of this, but, please (an appeal to our community) report and send in notice of any particularly frustrating broken links that you find – yes, we know about “Good Morning, Mr Orwell” and Renaldo and Clara! ).
That said, the most egregious (and frustrating) “downed link” of late has been this one (initially provided by our good friend Derek Fenner at Bootstrap Press, in May of 2011), the extraordinary last reading by the phenomenal poète maudit, John Wieners.
We were astonished to see it taken down – the ominous blank screen and the notice – “This video contains content from UMG who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds” – UMG? (Universal Music Group)? and John Wieners? – we couldn’t quite see the connection. Turns out that there was 30 seconds, (literally, 30 seconds!), of Thelonious Monk playing “Round Midnight” in the cafe, in the background, right at the beginning, sufficient for UMG, or more precisely, their lawyers, to sniff it out and shut it down.
Happy to report it’s now up again (sans the copyright-disputed 30 seconds) – and with a bonus vid,to boot (thank you, Derek). While we’re on the subject of Wieners material, we’ve on priceless video (on PennSound) of John reading, in San Francisco in 1990, (not to mention, vintage audio (on the same site) and recordings (recorded a decade later) available on-line from Harvard University’s Woodberry Poetry Room
Howard Brookner’s 1983 movie, Burroughs (another focus of a previous Ginsberg Project post – and another one with, notably, some links down) is about to get a new lease of life, along with the rest of Brookner’s oeuvre, courtesy his nephew, Aaron. A campaign to restore the film will officially be launched on Kickstarter on World Aid’s Day, December 1st, and will run for 30 days. A rare screening of the film (pre-restoration) will take place at the October Gallery in London on December 11th at 7 o’clock (this will be in the context of a wider event, “William S Burroughs – All out of Time and into Space”, opening on December 6th). More information about that exhibition (and some images from the exhibition) may be had here.
“A party at Richard Howard‘s in the ‘sixties, where I wore a flaming red chiffon dress that was much too dressy for the occasion, and Allen, literally, fell at my feet. Peter Orlovsky took off his cap and his hair fell down to his butt and he danced with Allen (which was a big deal in those days). I remember that Peter asked a stuffy Columbia professor named Eric Bentley if he was getting any..”
and, again –
“Whenever we [Allen & I] got high at a party, we always sang “O Moon of Alabama” from Kurt Weill’s “Threepenny Opera” at the top of our lungs. Once we did this while lying down on the street waiting for a bus.. “
The two quotes above are from the redoubtable exuberant Helen Weaver on Michael Limnios’ consistently-informative Blues and Greece site. (see here and here for earlier appearances of Helen on The Allen Ginsberg Project).
For the rest of her lively interview (gossip about Kerouac and Corso and Lenny Bruce also) see here
Photographer Alec Soth (in conversation with curator, Leslie A Martin): “(Allen) Ginsberg saved the day for me. “A Supermarket In California” clearly illustrates (Walt) Whitman‘s profound influence on Ginsberg, but Ginsberg’s voice rises above it. He sings with Whitmanesque bravado, but it’s still Ginsberg’s world..”
and then this, (speaking of the Paris Review interview)
In this interview, Ginsberg talks about a vision he had after masturbating while reading Blake. I found this kind of exuberance refreshing. It helped me shake loose from some of the somber reverence I sometimes feel when engaging with (my particular hero) Robert Adams world.”