An interesting little bit of footage appeared this past summer on You Tube – Allen Ginsberg in 1980, performing at Austin Community College, Texas (at the College’s Rio Grande Campus downtown). (We’ve already presented raw archival footage of Allen in Austin – here – but this is very different.) The context? – “When We Were Live” , a feature-length documentary about the pioneers of Public Access Television in the 80’s and 90’s. The film focuses on five D-I-Y producers from Austin, (the largest and longest running public access station in the nation). Allen performs two pieces, “Punk Rock Your My Big Cry Baby”, followed by “a punk rock song from the eighteenth-century”, by William Blake – “the famous “Tyger” (which you probably studied in grammar school)”, “which” , he explains, “is built on the idea of making a little homunculus human being with a heartbeat (bom-bom, bom-bom) and breath – It’s about plutonium. or the tiger, or the wrath, human wrath”.
The footage is from the Austin History Archive (original footage produced by Stuart Heady). a recording from September 21, 1980.