Category Archives: Howl DVD

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 7

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Beat Hagiography

Hagiography – lives of the saints – Bill Morris’ provocative and challenging essay, published just before the New Year, has had a lot of us (including us here at The Allen Ginsberg Project) thinking. Creativity and biography, creation and mythography, what exactly is the relationship? Joe Woodward, an ex-student of Allen’s, writing in The Huffington Post, has an interesting take, remembering Allen’s “student potlucks” -(and for those further interested in Allen’s culinary and entertaining skills, we suggest you click here!)
“Ginsberg”, Woodward writes,” beyond the fireworks of his crazed life, was actually a driven, even ambitious, writer. This drive…allowed him to sidestep oblivion; his devotion to his art-making was his ladder over the crevice.” “I’ve haven’t viewed writers, or writing, or art-making”, he declares, “the same since.”

Allen in Vancouver

[Jerry Heiserman (later Sufi “Hassan”), the late “Red” a poet, Allen Ginsberg, Bobbie Louise Hawkins Creeley, Warren Tallman, Robert Creeley above Charles Olson, left to right top rows; seated left Thomas Jackrell then student poet, Philip Whalen & Don Allen anthologist & Postmodern Poetics editor, last days of Vancouver Poetry Conference late July 1963, car parked in front of host professor Tallman’s house — he’d sent me a ticket to come back from a year and half in India for the assembly — which included Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov. (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)]

Memories of Allen continue to be evoked by the film release (and now the DVD/BlueRay release) of Howl. Canadian poets, George Bowering and Stan Persky are quoted in Tom Hawthorn’s article, “Remembering Ginsberg and the Summer of Poetry,” (that summer being 1963, date of the famous Vancouver Poetry Festival, organized by Warren Tallman –digitalized recordings by Fred Wah from that Conference are available online at the Slought Foundation)


Some Recent Reviews

Paul Buhle’s review of the recently-expanded City Lights edition of Kaddish, in Zeek, A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture is worth catching. And, speaking of Ginsberg City Lights reviews, Peter Conners’ dual Ginsberg-Leary biography continues to get good reviews, here’s another one that comes via Popmatters.

And here’s one on the new Howl DVD:

Howl has quite an excellent collection of extras. A making-of featurette titled, “Holy! Holy! Holy! The Making of Howl,” is a full 40 minutes, but also viewable as individual shorts. The topics range from Ginsberg and his story to cinematography and locations to set design, production & costume design to the animation used in the film and its dual directors. Using interviews with cast, crew, and Ginsberg collaborators, it provides an in-depth overview of the movie and its many facets. It’s also a nice departure from the typical, fluffy promotional piece.

Ginsberg Figurine

People have been asking where’s the least expensive place to buy the Archer Prewitt designed Ginsberg figurine. We’ve seen it for as high as $60 (ouch!) So far it looks like Movie Replica Direct has the best deal at $39.95, but they’re backordered.



Mind Breaths

We’ll leave you with this beautiful recording of Allen’s 1977 reading of “Mind Breaths” at the 92nd St Y. (the entire evening is also available, and listed in our links under ‘streaming audio’)



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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Bill Morris, George Bowering, Howl DVD, Joe Woodward, Kaddish, Mind Breaths, Paul Buhle, Peter Conners, Soup, Stan Persky, Steve Silberman, Timothy Leary

>Happy New Year Catching Up

>Things got a little crazy over the holidays and among many other things we forgot to mention Patti Smith’s 64th birthday on December 30th, same day as Paul Bowles! Happy Birthday Patti! The New York Times have also given Janine Pommy Vega a decent obituary – that appeared in yesterday’s edition – we’re happy they deem her important enough to report on! The Woodstock Times however has a much better, more thorough, one. Certainly the big news on the Ginsberg front is the US January 4th (that’s tomorrow!) release of the HOWL Blu-Ray/DVD release, with heaps of extras including interviews with Peter Orlovksy, Tuli Kupferberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Steven Taylor, as well as discussions between directors Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman and cast including James Franco, Treat Williams, Bob Balaban and Jon Hamm. To order copies, click the image below. It should also be widely available in video shops around the US.

We should also mention that HOWL has received the NBR’s (National Board of Review) Freedom of Expression Award, alongside films Fair Game and Conviction. Huge congrats to everyone who worked so hard to make this film a reality!



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Filed under Freedom of Expression Award, Howl, Howl DVD, Janine Pommy Vega, NBR

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 6

>Here’s for the holiday season our now-regular miscellaneous Ginsberg round-up, the last round-up for 2010

More Arthur Russell/Allen Ginsberg

You all know Arthur Russell’s appearance playing cello on “Do The Meditation Rock” from Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984) but here the two are again, Allen intoning this time on Arthur’s “Soon To Be Innocent Fun”, featuring John Moran with Allen Ginsberg, from the 1993 Meet The Locusts, produced by Philip Glass. Vocals are by John Moran, Joyce Bowden and Allen Ginsberg. Arrangement is by John Moran. Allen’s recorded voice also featured as “a patriarchal commentator named Justinius” in “Mathew in the School of Life”, Moran’s 1995 “science fiction techno opera”.

Ezra Pound and Allen Ginsberg

We’ve been meaning to get to this. Rodger Kamentz’s powerful verse essay, Allen Ginsberg Forgives Ezra Pound on Behalf of the Jews” appeared recently in the Jewish Daily Forward. A verse essay, Kamentz explains is “a form that allows the exploration of ideas and associations as well as the use of documentary material” .The stepping off point of the poem was a 1992 interview. Read more of Kamentz’s introduction and the “essay” here. Here’s some more on Ginsberg and Pound (a 1967 poem from Allen that he dedicates to Pound) from the Winter 2008 issue of Flash Point magazine, and a photo taken by Ettore Sottsass.

Howl DVD and Blueray

January 4 2011 is the date of the release of the DVD and the Blueray versions of Howl, the movie, not too long to go now. Oscilloscope have informed us that these new Howl releases will feature the following bonus materials:

“Commentary by James Franco and the Directors”; Holy! Holy! Holy! Making of Howl”; “Original interviews with Allen Ginsberg’s friends and collaborators”; “James Franco Reads “Howl”” – (An) “Audio Excerpt Performance: Ginsberg in 1995 at NYC’s Knitting Factory” (with additional BD-only clips); (A) “Q&A Session with the Filmmakers, as moderated by John Cameron Mitchell “(BD-only)

Harold Chapman’s Photos

January 4 also marks the date of the Harold Chapman Paris and the Beat Hotel sale at Bonham’s in London. A collection of Chapman’s prints titled “Peter Golding’s Harold Chapman Archive” is going up for sale. See our recent note on his last show this past summer at London’s Proud Galleries. The Archive consists of 108 photographs, approximately half of which were reproduced in Chapman’s 1984 The Beat Hotel book (which featured introductory texts by William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin – see also Harold Chapman, Beats A Paris: Und Die Dichter Der Beat Generation 1957-1963). A selection of prints are up for viewing now, and the entire set be viewed upon request. A recent BBC film report on Chapman’s work can be found here.

Dylan and Ginsberg

Sean Wilentz, whose book on Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan in America, is another book we’ve profiled, was recently interviewed in American Songwriter.com about the Dylan-Ginsberg link “The two of them had a profound impact on each other in terms of cultural imagery”, Wilentz declares, ”Dylan helped inspire some of his greater (sic) poems, including “Wichita Vortex Sutra.” Ginsberg helped legitimize Dylan’s lyric writing as serious poetry, and Dylan helped render Ginsberg into a kind of pop figure which he had not been before.”

On The Road Film

We told you last month that we’d keep you posted about the filming of On The Road. You know the one where Tom Sturridge plays Carlo Marx/Allen Ginsberg? Well, shooting’s wrapped up, apparently. Here’s a photo-essay from our good friends in San Francisco at the Beat Museum. And here’s a note from the local paper in the very final stop, the very final location, Locke, Louisiana.




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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Russell, Beat Hotel, Beats, Bob Dylan, Ezra Pound, Harold Chapman, Howl DVD, John Moran, Philip Glass, Rodger Kamentz, Sean Wilentz, Tom Sturridge