Harry Smith‘s monumental and eccentric archives, (tape-recordings, papers, books – but also, “a great range of (miscellaneous) objects, such as tarot cards, gourds, pop-up books, folk crafts, toys…egg-shells mounted on stands..(etc, etc)..” – not to mention, his fabled string-figure collection and “an entire box of paper airplanes” collected from the streets of New York City) – long-time languishing, when we last heard, at the Anthology Film Archives), has now been acquired by the Getty Research Institute, it was officially announced this week.
For select Smith postings on the Allen Ginsberg Project see here, here and here.
Jerry Aronson’s definitive documentary portrait, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg is profiled here (on Network Q) with an interview with Aronson (and a surprise walk-on by Allen!) and significant clips from Aronson’s eight hours (eight hours!) of footage. Our earlier postings about Jerry and this essential source/ primary video-documentation may be found here and here.
Some of the out-takes from the 1994 Network Q presentation have also been made available – including this (“Allen Ginsberg on Right-Wing Gay Obsession”) – Allen (speaking as the credits roll): “The theo-politicians [sic], (along with Jesse Helms and their political arm) seem to be obsessively preoccupied with gay matters, and that indicates some kind of over-concern (as if it’s like a personal problem for them), and that indicates a kind of perverse interest, tending toward S & M, I would say, the desire to humiliate gay people seems to be characteristic of the theo-politicians, (that (need)) to be on the top side of the gay equation, to be putting down and humiliating and forcing the gay people to their knees in front of them – which is an old familiar erotic pattern – they’re probably not aware that they’re playing that role.”
David Biespiel further addresses Allen role as an arbiter of cultural sanity here
Walter Salles’ On The Road (see our earlier posts – here, here and here) has finally made it to widespread American distribution. Mick LaSalle reviews it for the San Francisco Chronicle – “a movie that, like the book, is episodic and has dips in energy but has more than its share of glory and illumination”, he declares. Ann Hornaday, in the Washington Post, disagrees – “Salles’ On The Road takes Kerouac’s breathless Beat Generation prose-poetry – created in a Benzedrine rush in front of a typewriter loaded with a 120-foot scroll of teletype paper – and reduces into the conventional elements of plot, character and setting, resulting in an episodic picaresque that all but obliterates the crazy, brazen, axis-shifting energy of the original work.” A more typical “middle-ground” can be seen in Tom Long’s review for the Detroit News – “It’s not a wreck of a movie; it’s not a sleek race car either. But there’s heat to be felt here.” – Colin Covert, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune – “There’s probably no substitute for reading On The Road‘s incandescent prose. But this filmed interpretation is a very fine version all on its own” – and Ty Burr, in the Boston Globe – “Against all odds, (On The Road is), a surprising and effective movie”.
And March 25 was the anniversary of the “Howl” bust (“520 copies… seized by U.S. Customs agents on charges of obscenity”). Quite a week!