Ginsberg-Corso continuing – 9 (Photography – 2)

Allen’s 1010 Montgomery Street apartment, San Francisco, 1955. Photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University / Allen Ginsberg Estate.


GC: Where was this picture, Allen this one of you on the wall?  This is where you wrote “Howl”, right?  Montgomery Street is where you wrote Howl?

AG: 1010 Montgomery, San Francisco.

GC: 1010 Montgonery.

AG: So I had this room and I was looking out of the window and I  looked out on Montgomery Street, which is just up the corner from Broadway, just two blocks away from City Lights.

GC: Yeah I lived up there with Kaye (McDonough), you know, up, about three houses up, you came to visit us.

AG: Yeah, yeah up on the hill.

GC: Allen, see this nice picture of you (on the wall)? – (Robert) LaVigne did that.

AG: Yeah. I still have that.

GC: That’s a great picture. Where is that?

AG: It’s up.. it’s in my house.

GC: Oh my god, you never had a photograph of it, in other words, in a book or something

AG: No, I never did.

GC: Do, get a picture, it’s a great one.

AG I have to actually ask…

GC: If you like Bob LaVigne so much, show him what he’s done.
Oh, look at this,  this one’s an excellent one of you, here’s Cezanne right?, Cezanne?

AG: No that’s LaVigne! – it’s LaVigne’s experiment with Cezanne”s (optics)

GC: Ok  LaVigne doing a Cezanne

AG: And there’s the Bach B Minor Mass

GC: That’s where I heard that first, with you

AG: Really

GC: Yes

AG:  (Those are some)    A few Bollingen books over there

GC: The Bollingen books, right?  – Magister Ludi right?  Tell me who is that? Thomas Mann? no..

AG: Herman Hesse

GC: Herman Hesse

AG:  I never did finish it it was so porous.

GC: And that there? what’s that?

AG: That was a.. lamp.

GC: And who was that photograph (of)?

AG:  What photograph?  That’s a Japanese lamp above the bed there.

Lafcadio & Peter Orlovsky, San Francsico, 1955. photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University / Allen Ginsberg Estate

GC: Okay look how beautiful the young Lafcadio looks with Peter his brother they’re both so handsome

AG: I have an even nicer one in the book, where he’s kind of lifting his hands

GC: But this is really nice tho’.  He was so classy Peter here, see?  That’s the Peter I know.

AG: You know how old Lafcadio was there? I think fifteen.

GC: Fifteen!

AG:  You know what his idea was when he came out there with us? (Peter brought him out).He was reading all the back page of the Strength & Health magazines [Editorial note – Health & Strength?] (you know with Charles Atlas?) – and with the advertisement it said you can become rich selling fish-lure!  You can make three hundred dollars a day selling fish-lure drops door to door.

GC: Right

AG: So he answered all those ads, (maybe twenty, thirty, forty, of them), thinking that it was automatic that you became…. that you got rich and you got three hundred dollars a day

GC: Right

AG: ..and the more you answer, the more ads you answer. He didn’t realize you had to go out and work for them! And also that you had to send them twenty dollars to buy the fish-lure to begin with (which you could hardly sell to anybody!)

GC: [taking out another photo] Jesus, he really loved this guy!- this is a big picture of him.

AG Yeah, that’s a big LaVigne painting..of  Peter … in the Hotel Wentley, I believe that was…

AG: [taking out another photo] …and there’s [pointing to the figure on the far leftBob Donlin

Bob Donlin, Neal Cassady, Peter Orlovsky, Lawrence Ferlinghetti,  City Lights Books, San Francisco, Fall, 1955. Photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University / Allen Ginsberg Estate

GC: Now Bob Donlin ended up owning a place called Passim’s in Cambridge –

AG: Cambridge, in Harvard Square – right across the street from…

GC: Yeah, right across the street from the Poets Theatre, (where it used to be the Poets Theatre). Alright, now this is [points to second figure] Bob LaVigne next to him, isn’t it? – No, Neal (Cassady), there‘s Bob LaVigne

AG: And there’s me, there’s Bob LaVigne, and (Lawrernce) Ferlinghetti. And Peter was probably stepping off the curb to take the picture…

GC: Ok

AG: …in front of City Lights bookshop.

GC: Ok

GC:  That’s a nice one, huh?

AG: Yeah I like that one.

GC: Yeah  – these were nice days, you know.

Neal Cassady, San Francisco, Spring 1955. Photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University / Allen Ginsberg Estate

AG: There’s Neal looking for a car. He was at the used-car lot, looking  around to see if he could buy something that was cheap enough and would work.

to be continued

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