Sunday May 24th – Bob Dylan’s Birthday


Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): I’ve heard through the grapevine that you have certain powers Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Oh no, that’s not me but I know who you mean  Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): You’re not the alchemist? Alchemist (Bob Dylan): No, but I’ve seen him come through here, carrying his bags full of bottles. We talk now and then. Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): What’s he tell you? Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Nothing special. I’ve seen him perform certain mysterious gestures though. I never say nothing’ about it. I just watch. Emperor (Allen Ginsberg):  What does he do? Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Sometimes very … Read More

Joni Mitchell

[Joni Mitchell and Allen Ginsberg on Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, 1975 (from Sam Shepherd’s Rolling Thunder Logbook (1977)]

It was Allen, of course, who introduced Joni Mitchell to his “friend of spirit”, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. 

She came late to the rolling cavalcade

but stayed to the end.

As she candidly confesses (in Readers Digest of all places!):

[Chogyam Trungpa – painted by Joni Mitchell]

“… I went on Rolling Thunder and they asked me how I wanted to be paid, and I ran away to join the circus: Clowns used to get paid in wine — pay me … Read More

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan

Main Photograph

[Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, Edson Cemetery,  Lowell, Massachusetts, 1975, at the site of Jack Kerouac‘s grave – Photograph by Ken Regan]

January 27 1978
Dear Bob

Saw your movie [Renaldo and Clara] twice at (the) Waverly Theatre (New York City)…and you have no idea how breathlessly great your movie is, nor have you had a rare glimpse of how the packed theater was bursting with applause from their hands and mouths … Read More

Allen Ginsberg & Bob Dylan at the Grave of Jack Kerouac

This little excerpt, this classic excerpt, from Bob Dylan’s lost epic, “Renaldo and Clara” (courtesy of the essential “The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg“, Jerry Aronson‘s deluxe two-disc DVD set).  Bob and Allen, in 1975, in Lowell cemetery (Edson cemetery), on the occasion of a stop-over on the legendary Rolling Thunder tour, famously standing together, beside Jack Kerouac’s grave, musing, (Allen’s certainly taking the lead), in memento mori.  Allen (gesticulating towards the grave):”So that’s what’s gonna happen to you?”  Dylan: “No, I want to be in an unmarked grave.” The clip begins with … Read More

Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Chogyam Trungpa & William Burroughs Reading, Boulder, 1976

Last weekend’s 1976 Ginsberg-McClure reading was warmly received. Here’s another one, again recorded at Naropa in 1976, (a couple of months later), and featuring, in addition to Allen, Anne Waldman, Chogyam Trungpa (English translations read by David Rome) and – William S Burroughs! Philip Whalen provides the spare but informative introductions. The tape begins with him introducing Allen (some amusement from the audience – it’s early days -when he announces Allen’s been singing)

PW: Mr Allen Ginsberg’s latest book is called First Blues, a lot of which is in the process right now of being recorded with … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 55

[Anne Waldman, Václav Havel, Nanao Sakaki, Prague, April 199o. Photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]
Kral Majales, 1965 – Allen’s intimate relationship with Prague Spring has been detailed by us previously here and here. This past week saw the passing of Vaclav Havel, post-Communist Czechoslovakia’s first president, and, after the country split, in January 1993, president of the Czech Republic. Artist-Politician, Politician-Artist – the links between the two men run deep. Here is Havel’s introduction to Allen’s 2001 (posthumously-published) volume, Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews 1958-1996 (his willingness to write it, an indication of the depth and the importance of their … Read More

Allen and Bob in Renaldo and Clara (ASV # 13)

[Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, 1976, on the Rolling Thunder tour]

[2012 update – Renaldo and Clara, Bob Dylan’s “classic subterranean film”, despite these notes, remains strictly under copyright, unreleased, and (the many “bootlegs” circulating, notwithstanding), strictly unavailable. The video-clip that first appeared on this post was from an unauthorized source and has been taken down. Likewise, our somewhat forward presentation (via the Dangerous Minds blog) of the whole movie (in this post of February 2012). A brief clip (Allen and Dylan famously at Jack Kerouac’s grave in Lowell) can be glimpsed here (it’s one of the “extras” on Jerry … Read More

Bob Dylan’s Birthday

“Allen came to sanctify us”, D.A.Pennebaker and Bob Neuwirth joke (no, they’re serious!) in this DVD commentary on the famous opening segment of Don’t Look Back, Pennebaker’s 1967 cinema verite documentary of Bob Dylan’s first tour through England in 1965. Shot in a nondescript alley behind the Savoy Hotel in London, Subterranean Homesick Blues is the soundtrack. Allen is far left (that figures!) on the screen, conversing (conversing about what?) with the mostly-out-of-the-frame Neuwirth.

Allen and Dylan visit Kerouac’s grave in Lowell in 1975 and muse upon mortality. “Is this what’s going to happen to you?, Allen asks, gazing
Read More