We mentioned last week the upcoming Beat & Beyond gathering, scheduled for June 3 to June 8 in New York. Here are the details.
The six-day festival kicks off with a Happy Birthday Allen evening – “The celebration includes readings, music and remembrances of the times and its continuing influence by such important figures as Michael McClure, Ed Sanders, Bob Rosenthal and Peter Hale (from the Ginsberg Estate), Len Chandler, and Bob Holman“. The evening will include a round-table discussion led by producer Pat Thomas on the recently-released (official release-date’s today!) Ginsberg box-set, The Last Word on First Blues, with participation by some of the musicians who were on the original record (among them David Mansfield, Steven Taylor and David Amram) and a one-off jam/reunion
(followed by a full set by Amram).
“Beginning Friday and continuing through the course of the week, painter Mark Turgeon will create a time-line installation at the Howl! Happening Gallery highlighting “An Incomplete History of Beat”.
And a jukebox of Beat Poetry will be installed in Extra Place, the alley next to the Gallery.
Saturday June 4 is headlined “A Day of Remembrance” – including Ed Sanders on Beat poetry in Cleveland (d.a.levy, and Jim Lowell’s Asphodel Bookshop), shout-outs to City Lights and other “hubs of the movement”, a recreation of the historic 1956 Six Gallery reading, orchestrated by Michael McClure (“joined by contemporary poets to present the work and atmosphere of that seminal event”), and a reading by John Giorno of “The Death of William Burroughs“, plus “(a) gathering of the Beat poets and other to share poetry, stories, memories, and personal anecdotes of the times”.
Pete Stampfel (ex-Holy Modal Rounders), Ed Sanders (with The Fugs) and The Last Poets (Umar bin Hassan, Obiodun Oyewole, and Don Babatunde) perform in concert that evening.
On Sunday (the 5th), Bob Holman hosts “Curriculum of the Soul“, “readings, conversation and discussion with key figures in the movement” – starting off with a focus on Women and the Beats – (“Ann Charters, Joyce Johnson, Margaret Randall and Hettie Jones talk about experiences of women associated with the Beat Generation”). “Key figures” performing (and interrogated on the hour) include, (alongside several previously mentioned), Steve Cannon, David Henderson, and, (concluding the evening), Anne Waldman. For the full listing – see here
Simultaneously on Sunday (starting at 12 o’clock), there’s a publication and panel discussion regarding Wait Till I’m Dead featuring Bill Morgan, Bob Rosenthal, Peter Hale, Eliot Katz and Andy Clausen, a Jack Kerouac panel discussion (featuring Joyce Johnson, John Tytell, and others), a publication party and reading by John Tytell, a performance by Len Chandler, discussion led by Chandler and David Henderson and a showing of Billy Woodberry‘s “And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead” (his feature-film on the late great Bob Kaufman)
Monday’s activities feature a distinctively theatrical slant, including, (5 o’clock) a Judith Malina Birthday Celebration with the Living Theatre. Michael McClure and host Bob Holman follow this with “Appaloosa Deck” (an improvised performance). There’s staged readings (JoAnne Akalaitis – A Staged Reading of Works by Jane Bowles, A Staged Reading of A New Play by Alvin Eng), and also a film program (“In the afternoon, Howl showcases a selection of short films, created by, for, and about Allen and the Beats. Rarely, or never-before-seen videos and films from archives around the country transmit the electricity and impact of the poets in the unfolding moment”)
“& Beyond” – Monday also features “Slam Bang!” at the Bowery Poetry Club, a day of readings – “A day-long event showcasing the Beats influence on modern spoken-word, slam poetry and other contemporary literary forms. It includes “Open Mic featuring the festival’s eight original Beat all-stars, as well as several young, up-and-coming performance poets.” More about that event – here
Tuesday, it continues – more “screenings, panels, conversations and remembrances”, and, at (7 o’clock) – “How To Make A Happening’ (“Using the 1956 recording of “Howl” as a jumping-off point, a band of merry pranksters engage the audience in an exploration of the spontaneous and experimental antics of performance’). There’s also, in the evening, “A Musical/Poetry Hybrid” (“Special guests throughout the night” – emphasis here is on the neglected African-American Beat connection – “with readings by Len Chandler, David Henderson, Steve Cannon, and a presentation by “Lost and Found” editor, Ammiel Alcalay“)
Not quite so ambitious, but coming sooner, New Directions will be celebrating their 80th at the Greenlight Bookstore on May 20th (that’s tonight!). Among those reading, Anne Carson. László Krasznahorkai, Rivka Galchen, John Keene, Bernadette Mayer, and Eliot Weinberger – Introduction by Mieke Chew. A “champagne reception”, we’re promised, will follow.
We reported a few months back on the sale of Bob Dylan’s archive – Tonight in Tulsa, (getting a jump-start on Dylan’s 75th) – “On A Night Like This – (A) Celebration of All Things Bob Dylan”.
More (much more) Dylan on The Allen Ginsberg Project in the coming days.
Allen in Canada – Daniel Collins has a delightful memoir of accompanying Allen in Canada –
“We don’t have any books by Allen Ginsberg”, she (the book clerk) says, just as Ginsberg comes to the counter. I look at him. He looks at me, then looks away. I look back at the woman. “Well, that’s too bad because Mr Ginsberg is right here and might have autographed some books – had there been any”..”
Jack Kerouac in Lowell – (this one almost passed us by) – Police Chief Ray McKeon (recently passed on) hada poignant story (reported here) about Jack’s drinking
and speaking of Kerouac – the San Francisco Chronicle reports, just this past couple of days, a crucial development – the settling of the court case and the immanent (June 16) auction in New York of the legendary (Neal Cassady-to-Jack Kerouac) “Joan Anderson Letter” – “The (Cassady) family holds claim to the words on the manuscript (and) plans to publish it in some fashion” – “In advance of the auction…the yellowing pages, with typing on both sides, pencil and pen edits and an illustration, will make a national tour”.
Tom Lecky, “specialist and department head of books and manuscripts at Christie’s auction house”, is quoted in the article, estimating the value of the letter as being “between $400,000 and $600,000”, but expecting “an international bidding war to drive the price skyward” – Asked to describe its contents, Lecky declares, “It’s like trying to describe the contents of a John Coltrane sax solo. You have to read it to appreciate its magnitude”.”
Christie’s announcement of the sale (posted yesterday) may be found here