Allen Ginsberg, goaded on at the beginning there by a typically giddy Simon Vinkenoog, reads “Mafkees” (a.k.a. “Birdbrain“) (from a reading in 1983, from Allen’s European tour, recorded that year in Amsterdam) – (for earlier (alternative) versions of this “Ginsberg minor classic”, see our previous postings – here and here) .
This recording includes, also, a brief segment from a Dutch interview – wherein Allen, bemused and non-plussed, sweetly chastises the hapless interviewer
[2014 update – the video of this interview is, unfortunately no longer available but we have maintained the transcript]
Interviewer: In the last years, I think, the idea of young poets to make music and read poetry at the same time is being not only successful, but accepted in a certain way..
AG: Yeah. I’ve done that. I did.. tried that myself with this, with “Birdbrain” [Allen displays the cover of the 45 rpm recording that he made of the song “Birdbrain” with The Glu-ons] This is a little record of a poem originally written as a poem and then set to new-wave music by a local garage band in Denver, Colorado, where I work at Naropa Institute [now Naropa University]. So there’s a band that’s around Naropa Instiute sometimes. So I worked with them. You wanna hear that? sometime? ok – We’ll put it on. It’s on here [points to small portable tape-recorder] – same thing, [shows record-sleeve again] – “Birdbrain” on here – can you listen..? with your little machinery?
[Interviewer puts on head-phones and starts listening]
AG: You’re not going to sit there and listen while we’re rolling the camera are you? ..Are you going to waste all that film? – [incredulous] – Are you gonna waste all that film? – Well, Mafkees!
Jack Kerouac Letters For Sale – A significant trove of (Jack) Kerouac correspondence – “59 letters and postcards” (stretching from 1947 to 1969), part (only part?) of his correspondence with Columbia college-buddy, Ed White, is going on sale at the high-end Manhattan book-dealer, ” Glenn Horowitz – asking-price $1.25 million dollars!
– Yes, you heard that right, $1.25 million dollars!
(If you had any lingering doubts about the commodification of “the Beats”, by the “baby boomers” – see the ironically-named Robert Frank (sic) discussing it on CNBC (business television) here!) – “The number of Kerouac-loving millionaires in America is probably a very small demographic” – Sheesh!)
From private collections to public collections – Archival News – Peter Orlovsky’s Archive, it has just been announced, has been officially acquired by the repository of repositories, the Harry Ransom Center in Austin at the University of Texas – “More than 1,600 letters written to Orlovsky and/or Ginsberg, including 165 letters written by Ginsberg himself..”, also “more than 2,650 photos taken by or of Orlovsky, documenting the years between 1970 and 2010”. “Also included are eight reel-to-reel tapes from the 1960’s and more than 120 audiocassettes made by Orlovsky during the 1970’s and the 1980’s, some recording conversations with Ginsberg”. 140 notebooks/journals are also included (see sample pages above). “The materials will be available once processed and cataloged”.
HRC Humanities Coordinator, Gregory Curtis has already published (in The Daily Beast) research arising from these papers – “The Mystery of the Allen Ginsberg-Diana Trilling Feud” (Peter’s blithe invite to his book-launch for Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs, eliciting a chiding for Allen – “one short note… reveals over 30 years of animosity” – Allen felt moved to write an exasperated 2,000-word letter in response!)
The official trailer for the movie is now available and may be viewed here
(an additional review (by Alan Mattli) may be read here)
And to end on a positive note (not that the Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia isn’t an exceedingly positive note!) – “Naropa graduate and Shambhala Mountain Center staffer, Jennifer Lang remembers a moment of clarity in the life of Allen Ginsberg” – “Allen Ginsberg’s Greatest Deed” (You might be surprised to discover what she thought that was). For more on that see also here, here and here.