Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 227

[Pat Sebold with Linda Forgosh, executive director of the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey]

Family heirlooms –  Pat Sebold, Allen’s first cousin (Allen’s father, Louis, was the brother of her mother, Clara), earlier this month, donated “a voluminous collection of Ginsberg memorabilia to the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey – “The trove”, The New Jersey Jewish News reports, “includes signed copies of hardbound and paperback versions of her cousin’s poetry, as well as personal letters, postcards, family photographs, and yellowed newspaper-clippings…”
From one of the postcards (Allen, writing from Amsterdam): “Cheese, canals, windows, bridges, dog shit, Indonesian restaurants, red light district, youth clubs with rock n roll and earth dope, friendliness on street and in newspaper stories, tiny cars on tiny alleys, salty soup, good clean toilets, pancake desserts, tramcars, bricks, love, I think of you fondly, Allen G.”  
“Whenever we had a Jewish holiday he would come”, Sebold recalls, “The whole family would get together and the discussion was always about politics. Although I’m the only one who ever ran for office [she is a veteran local politician, an Essex County Freeholder], they were all very much involved in politics.”
“My uncle, Leo Litzky and Allen got into a vicious fight about (Fidel) Castro. Allen’s attitude was that (Fulgencio) Batista, the right-wing dictator Castro’s forces overthrew, was horrible, and Castro was going to be better for Cuba… I  can still remember – my cousin Larry and I were kids and we sat on the steps listening to the argument.” 
“Everyone in the family knew that Allen was gay, but they didn’t care”
“Allen was very comfortable with the Jewish side of him. He was a very spiritual guy and he never rejected Judaism.”
Sebold recalls Allen and his father reading their poems together “at the JCC in West Orange and the library in Paterson” – “They used to fight over poetry. With my Uncle Lou, everything rhymed. Everything had an order. But Allen was freewheeling. Lou would say, “You’re wrong”, Allen would say,”You’re wrong”. But there was a lot of love between them. absolutely. His father and the rest of the family were very proud of him.” 


 [Pat Sebold and Allen Ginsberg]

Thurston Moore (on Colorado Public Radio): “I’m interested in looking at (Allen) Ginsberg as a writer who had a passion for activism and going up against oppression in societies, constantly going around the world, to India, Europe and South America, and learning about those cultures and wanting to see where the love is and where the oppression is and exposing it. It was not until I got into studying his life and work in my late forties and fifties that I realized how significant he is not only to American culture but global culture. He single-handed funded a lot of the counterculture through his success…He was everywhere. If there was a movement going on in the counterculture he wanted to be there. He wanted to be where the action was. I don’t blame him, it’s better than sitting at home and watching TV.”


[Thurston Moore]

and his recollection – “My favorite is when he would come up at the CBGB’s stage in the 1970’s. He would go up there with his harmonium and Peter Orlovsky with his banjo, and they would do Tibetan mantra or hillbilly songs to an audience wanting to see The Dead Boys or something. It was completely unapologetic. This was their neighborhood, they were there first!  I remember being a nineteen-year-old sitting in the audience at CBGB’s thinking: “The nerve of this guy! He just comes in and does this in a punk rock club!.”  He  thought punk was amazing. He wrote a poem about it called “Punk Rock Your My Big Crybaby

Debi Rotmil – another Ginsberg sighting – “I once saw Allen Ginsberg leaning on a wall in front of Lincoln Center watching legendary xylophonist Lionel Hampton‘s apartment go up in flames…” – (Read more about that here)



Snap your fingers. The Beat Shindig of last month was, by all accounts, a great success. Here’s North Beach photographer Dennis Hearne’s snaps from the occasion. More photographs here and here    


[ruth weiss and Gerd Stern at The Beat Museum, June 2015 – Photograph by Levi Asher]

Izzy Young Talking Folklore Center seems a movie worth catching.  Here’s Izzy reading Allen’s “Father Death Blues” in Stockholm back in 2010 (“Allen was very conscious’). 

Here’s a trailer for the movie:

[Steven Taylor and Allen Ginsberg from “Izzy Young Talking Folklore Center]

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