Allen Ginsberg, James Franco & “Selfies”


The “selfie” (word of the moment), the ubiquitous “selfie” – As Paul Gallagher noted recently, on one of our all-time favorite blogs, Dangerous Minds – “Along with being a poet, Beat writer, radical, teacher, diarist, singer, musician, photographer and Buddhist, Allen Ginsberg was also the pioneer of the selfie. Long before everyone was posting their self-portraits on social media, Ginsberg was out there taking snaps of himself in front of every hotel mirror. He snapped himself cross-legged, naked, half-dressed, fully-dressed, vulnerable, confident, unwashed, washed, smiling, squinting, happy-face, ugly-face, old-man-tired-and-going-to-bed face – the Ginsberg selfie captured it all”. Here’s a … Read More

Some Ginsberg Animation & Illustration

Here’s a graphics-rendering of (the first part of) “Howl” (complete with Spanish sub-titles!) that’s been up there on You Tube for over five years now. That means you may very well have watched it – It also means you may very well might not have. Of all the, often well-meaning but not-necessarily successful “renditions”, we like this.  Of course, it doesn’t compare (surely entirely unfair to compare it) with Eric Drooker‘s “Howl” animations, featured in the 2010 Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman movie (James Franco is, of course, reading the poem):

and, while we’re at it, since … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 155

Kill Your Darlings (we hadn’t actually mentioned it for a couple of weeks!) opens in the UK and Ireland today (It opened in Australia yesterday). We’d draw your attention, if you missed them, to a few of our early postings – here, here and here – but, also, importantly, here and here.   (and, in case you missed it – yesterday’s posting).

Daniel Radcliffe is interviewed (by Simon Mayo on BBC radio) on playing Allen Ginsberg and on working with director, John Krokidas – here. That interview contains the following exchange:

SM: Is it true that you’re a … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 137

[Beat Merchandizing –  Ginsberg is God sweater by Bella Freud]

Comedy Central’s “roasting” of the actor James Franco takes place this month in Los Angeles (and will be aired on that (television) channel on September 2nd. Upcoming Ginsberg mockery? (Boxer, Mike Tyson, it might be recalled, gave Allen a surprising, and curiously-respectful, name-check in an earlier roasting)

Ginsberg and cats. We’ve been wanting to publish this shot forever</s

and now we have an excuse – Liz Acosta’s erudite article (sic) – “Burberry” as Jack Kerouac?, “Dorothy the cat as Allen Ginsberg?

Elvis Costello has some explaining to do … Read More

Patti Smith’s Howl Spells

Dave L Stevens (of Stevens Internet Productions) has generously uploaded to You Tube this stunning performance of “Spell” a.k.a.“Footnote to Howl” by Patti Smith and her band, with Philip Glass on piano, and back-up “vocals” by saffron-robed Buddhist monks (the recitation was in honor of a visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama). As Stevens himself notes, “Not seen for more than a decade. I directed and produced this interactive webcast. When Patti Smith begins “howling” on her clarinet, it’s sublime.”

Contrast for production values, this next rendition, recorded in Florence, Italy, in 2009 (hence the Fernanda PivanoRead More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 31

Bob Rosenthal, “poet and writer, long-time secretary for Allen, and Trustee of the Allen Ginsberg Trust”, leads off this Friday’s weekly Round-Up, reading Allen’s remarkable 1965 poem, “Who Be Kind To”. Allen’s own reading of the poem can be accessed here. Harry Fainlight, dedicatee of the poem, can be seen, in sweet confusion, here. The poem itself may be read here (just scroll down, it’s right below another lively Ginsberg text, “Come All Ye Brave Boys”). There was also a classic Wes Wilson poster of the poem published in that same year by San Francisco’s Cranium Press … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 29

[Allen Ginsberg & Ted Berrigan – Collaborative Postcard, February 11, 1982]
Trawling through E-bay, this past week, we came across this, Ted Berrigan and Allen Ginsberg’s collaborative poem, Reds:
There isn’t much to say to Marxists in Nicaragua
with .45’s
afraid of the U.S. Secretary of State, eating celery.
Back in New York, “we went to see a beautiful movie”,
said Allen Ginsberg. “It made me cry.”
“I hadda loan him my big green handkerchief,
to blow his nose on!” Peter Orlovsky laughed.
Some background. This is clearly an “out-take” from Berrigan’s 500 postcards project (a 1982 commission from … Read More


“Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgement! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!” – “Beat poet Allen Ginsberg had seen it all coming to an America enthralled to the idol of consumerism that he called..Moloch (after Moloch, or Molech, the all-consuming Canaanite fire god)” – The visionary litany (of “Howl part II”) continues to make sense, half a century (and more) on.

Here’s Moloch envisioned by Eric Drooker (the reading is of course by James Franco):

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 19

So, more On The Road movie updates. It seems now almost certain that the movie will have a Fall 2011/early 2012 debut, not a Cannes May 2011 unveiling, as had first been thought. Similarly, director Walter Salles’ original vision of a film solely in black-and-white, something, according to Indiewire, he had “valiantly campaigned for”, seems to have been jettisoned for a full-color movie.

Jose Rivera, the screenwriter, let slip on Canadian television, shortly after the wrap-up in shooting, at the end of last year, that, “there’s a lot of the original book still in the screenplay, still in the

Read More

Allen and m(e)

[Allen Ginsberg, Peter Hale, Chris Ide at Naropa, July 4 picnic, Boulder, CO 1986. photo c. Steve Miles]

Speaking of Allen encounters, and we were. Here’s Peter Hale’s recollection of his first-meeting with Allen:

“I was a student at Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado taking classes at their summer writing program in 1985. I was more a fan of (William) Burroughs at the time and knew very little about Allen. I was stopping by Burroughs’ summer apartment (as one could do, those days at Naropa) and had just missed him, but Allen was there cleaning up the place. We’d met … Read More