Category Archives: Jerry Aronson

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 25


Natalie Goldberg’s “Talk When You Talk, Cry When You Cry: Thoughts On My Teacher” is old news (it was written in 2006) but, in that felicitous phrase of Ezra Pound’s, it’s “news that stays news”. “He’s been dead for nine years”, she writes (it’s fourteen now) “and I miss him..”..All over again I want to honor him..” Well, honor him we will/honor him we do. His 85th birthday is coming up. The Bob Holman-inspired “Ginsberg Turn On‘s” have begun (an initiative we noted here earlier) – Sophia Holman dons glasses to read, flawlessly, Allen’s poem, “The End”, Hettie Jones, earlier in the week, kicked off the series. There will be regular Tuesday-night Ginsberg promotions at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club – and on the weekend of Allen’s birthday (June 3,4,5), in New York’s East Village, not unintentionally timed – the annual HOWL! Festival (the recently-launched HOWL! Festival blog can be accessed here).

Meanwhile, as an adjunct to this, CA Conrad continues to build up his video side-show – Jupiter 88 – Allen Ginsberg Edition. David Wolach, Frank Sherlock, Trisha Low, Dorothea Lasky, Jason Zuzga, Julia Bloch and Sarah Dowling, are the most recent contributors. Stay tuned for more.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Boulder, Colorado, this weekend, don’t miss two important screenings of a special double-feature at the recently-opened Boedecker Theater – Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s “Howl” and Jerry Aronson’s “The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg“. This will mark the first time these two films have been shown together, as well as the first time that the Boedecker has hosted a filmmaker to discuss his work (Aronson will be on hand to answer questions after both the Sunday the 15th, and Monday the 16th, 6 o’clock showings)

and next Tuesday (the 17th) if you’re in New York, don’t miss Bill Morgan and Hettie Jones in conversation at the St Marks Bookshop (31 Third Avenue (at 9th Street). The two will be discussing Beat Atlas, Bill’s most recent book.

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Filed under Bob Holman, CA Conrad, David Wolach, Dorothea Lasky, Frank Sherlock, Howl Festival, Jason Zuzga, Jerry Aronson, Julia Bloch, Natalie Goldberg, Sarah Dowling Howl, Sophie Holman, Trisha Low

>Jerry Aronson, Johanna Demetrakas and Alex Gibney

>All of this talk about Howl (and rightly so) but let us not forget, arguably, the film on Allen, Jerry Aronson’s 1994 award-winning documentary, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg just re-issued a few years back as a deluxe two-disc set that includes loads of goodies, interviews, with the likes of Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Bono, rare footage, out-takes etc., 6 hours of newly updated and previously-unseen footage. Here’s a recent interview with Jerry talking about the making of that film, along with with some curious insights into how he finally decided on the film’s format. It’s bookended by Allen reading the poem “Song” and the complete “Howl” part 1. The interview was conducted and filmed by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, on the occasion of their screening of the film at the Beat Memories photo-exhibit last summer.

Crazy Wisdom, Johanna Demetrakas’ documentary on Chogyam Trungpa, is finally out. It just had its world premiere this past weekend at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. There will be an encore “best of fest” screening there (at the Riviera Theater) on Sunday Feb 13. On Friday February 18, the film will have a screening as part of the Boulder film festival.

[Discussion of Tibetan Buddhism at Allen Ginsberg’s apartement, Boulder Colorado, August, 1976. (left to right) Jerome Rothenberg, Anne Waldman, Peter Orlovsky, Allen Ginsberg, Diane Di Prima, Chogyam Trungpa, student, William Burroughs. c. Allen De Loach.]

Here’s Johanna Demetrakas on the genesis of the film:

“It took a long time to put this film together. In 1983, Chogyam Trungpa asked me to make a Shambhala film. The teachings of Shambhala, the path, were still very new and I wasn’t sure what that meant. What would a Shambhala film be about? certain principles? A way of life? And for several years after Chogyam Trungpa’s death, nothing happened, and I didn’t think about that conversation.

In maybe the early nineties I started tracing my own past, and took up the idea again. In ’95 I got initial approval from Trungpa’s son and Shambhala heir, Sakyong Mipham to make a film about his father. I started pulling footage from my archives; my ex-husband Baird Bryant and I had shot several films with Trungpa. And in ’02 I began to record some of the interviews that appear in the film. Then things fell apart, as they often do in the long life of a documentary; it took two more years just to get full formal approval. Now, here we are in 2011 and the film is finally out.

My goal has been to use the ideas, the questions, the moments in the film to create an open mindedness in the viewer about Trungpa, to film without bias and let him confront the world directly. And let the audience have their own journey. Making a documentary is like starting a painting with a blank canvas. Documentaries are wide open, and a filmmaker learns to sense when one is unfolding correctly. This film is a portrait, and I’ve tried not to impose my own ideas on it, or on the viewer.”

A further film interview with Johanna Demetrakas is available here and a print interview here. The trailer (including an interesting brief appearance by Allen, asking a question about Buddhism and rock music) can be viewed here.

Crazy Wisdom Trailer from Matthew Mecer on Vimeo.

Documentarians on documentary. Finally, Alex Gibney’s documentary film Magic Trip, about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, which we reported on a couple of weeks ago, is profiled with a 15 minute video interview with Gibney via the Indiewire website here.

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Filed under Alex Gibney, Crazy Wisdom, Jerry Aronson, Johanna Demetrakas, Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg

>Kral Majales

>Allen reading “Kral Majales” at City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, probably early 1966. Neal Cassady sitting by his side. Jerry Aronson had compiled sections of this film for inclusion on his Life & Times of Allen Ginsberg documentary, unfortunately now out of circulation since it’s distributor went belly up earlier this year.

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Filed under City Lights, Jerry Aronson, Kral Majales, Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady

>Snag Films Hosting Life & Times of Allen Ginsberg

Snag Films just introduced Jerry Aronson’s Ginsberg documentary The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg to their online catalog, which means you can watch it for free! (after sitting through a few ads that is, but we figure that’s a small & relatively painless price to pay)

Also worth checking is Life & Times webiste, with clips & outtakes, photos and more..

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Jerry Aronson, Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, Snag