VS: When you first visited me in my home in my birthplace, the old city of Dubrovnik, in October of 1980, you were so delighted by its beauty that you decided to stop and stay for a long four weeks! During that time we spent any happy hours together, talking just about everything, making plans for the first book of my translations of your poems. It was there in Dubrovnik that you wrote two of your best later poems – “Birdbrain”. and “Eroica” … Read More
Last weekend it was a triple-X reading, this weekend it’s an interrupted reading. Well, we’ve had those, of course, several times before here on the Ginsberg Project (notably, with the participant, the agency of disruption, being a rambuncious Gregory Corso – see, for example here and here). It’s not Gregory this time, but an oblivious insistent audience-member, who finally has to be escorted from the room, not before causing some considerable mayhem and clearly affecting Allen (he amends his first poem – “Birdbrain is a poet talking … Read More
[Allen Ginsberg throwing out the first ball at the San Francisco Giants game at Candlestick Park, June 2, 1994 – Photo courtesy Steve Silberman]
Our friend, Chris Funkhouser has a must-read piece (part of a 4-part series) in Jacket 2 on his experiences with audio recording (and in this case, in particular, the recording of Allen Ginsberg). “I studied with Allen..at Naropa in 1986”, he writes. “He was my teacher and friend from then onward. There’s no question my sense that poetry could (if not should) be an electrified-multimedia performance came from (him). With so many years of practice … Read More
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]
Two of our more popular postings – on the great Japanese poet, Nanao Sakaki – and on Allen’s poem, “Birdbrain” – coalesce here with this lively recording of the two of them reading it (that poem) together, (Allen, the English, Nanao, the Japanese), tweaking it with contemporaneous Japanese references. The occasion is, October 30, 1988, a major anti-nuclear protest march on Kansai Electric‘s head office in Osaka. Allen was visiting Japan.
The reading took place at Nakanoshima Koen, behind Osaka City Hall, and was filmed, edited, and (we thank him for it!) uploaded by Ken Rodgers.
“Birdbrain runs the World!/ Birdbrain is the ultimate product of Capitalism”.
Never inappropriate to the times – it seems fitting to, once again, place a little spotlight on this song, this classic polemical lyric – “Birdbrain” – Above, the recorded version, with the Denver-based band, The Glu-ons, (first released on a 7-inch and subsequently included on Holy Soul Jelly Roll) – and here’s a very different version (from Marc Olmsted’s San Francisco band, The Job) – both versions are from 1981
See here Allen in Japan in 1988 performing the song
“Birdbrain runs the Pentagon, his brother … Read More
“I told Allen Ginsberg on the night he came to the Fab Mab to see Jim Carroll that I thought punk rock was today’s poetry. Two weeks after, Ginsberg showed up with his band and we put them in for a couple of nights!”.Allen was already familiar with the New York punk scene – “I like The Nuns“, he wrote referring to … Read More