Category Archives: LA Times

>LA Times: Reading Howl and Howl

>Quite the reaction at Hollywood’s Sunset 5…

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–> Howl_oct1_1

By the time they got to the Holy-Holy-Holy part, the 50 poets and fans who’d assembled for a group reading of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” had worked up lots of momentum. Voices raised together, arms thrust in the air, people stamped. The event was scheduled but unscripted, appropriately chaotic; the sound guy got caught in traffic so there were no mics. No problem: a rough circle formed and people raised their voices one by one, sometimes doubling or overlapping. Read full story at LA Times >>

While we’re on HOWL group readings, here’s one from this year’s Howl Festival, conducted by Bob Holman, with Anne Waldman among others reading sections.


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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Bob Holman, Howl, LA Times

>Bay Area Writers React to the Movie HOWL

>Great roundtable discussion on Howl after a Berkeley screening last weekend, with Brenda Knight, Suzi Olmsted, Marc Olmsted, Gerald Nicosia, Nick Mamatas, Seth Harwood, and hosted by East Bay Literary Examiner’s Tony R. Rodriguez. A lively conversation with fantastic insights all in all but we do have to note that we’re a bit perplexed with Nicosia’s allegation that Peter was ‘locked up in Vermont by some lawyer.’ It’s a little unclear how he’s so certain that that’s the case, since, as far as we know, he himself never spent any time up there in St.Johnsbury with Peter. So it goes…

Original 1955 Book Cover. Photo: City Lights Books

We all came from different parts of the Bay Area, each of us a writer with a keen interest in seeing the premiere of Howl, a film addressing the “obscenity trial” surrounding the controversial poetic offerings of Allen Ginsberg, one of the architects who helped launch what would later be called Beat Literature. Our rendezvous point was the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley, just near the lively corner of College and Ashby. At just about 4:15 on this recent Friday afternoon our small band of Bay Area writers snuggled ourselves inside this hospitable theater that many regard to be Berkeley’s finest cinematic venue. Gathered with eager smiles were: Seth Harwood, action writer of impressive talent, who authored Jack Wakes Up; Brenda Knight, poetry scholar and author of the exceptional book Women of the Beat Generation; Nick Mamatas, gifted neo-Beat writer of You Might Sleep …; Gerald Nicosia, Beat historian and acclaimed biographer of Jack Kerouac, who penned the most important life history on Kerouac with his book Memory Babe; Marc Olmsted, student of Allen Ginsberg and writer of What Use Am I a Hungry Ghost?, which contains an introduction by Ginsberg himself; and Marc’s wife, writer and artist Suzi Olmsted. Read full story >>

And, a glowing review in LA Times. Just the kind we like >>

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Filed under Brenda Knight, Eric Drooker, Gerald Nicosia, Howl, James Franco, Jeffrey Friedman, LA Times, Marc Olmsted, Nick Mamatas, Rob Epstein, Seth Harwood, Suzi Olmsted, Tony R. Rodriguez

>New York Magazine & The Advocate

Since the Sundance opening of James Franco’s take on Allen Ginsberg in Howl, I’d heard the movie was howlingly bad — which makes me think that some of the best critical minds of my generation have been destroyed by cynicism. The film, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, is an exhilarating tribute from one form (cinema) to another (poetry). Read full story >>

While your at New York Magazine, check out Franco’s favorite poems list >>

And then there’s James Franco in the October issue of The Advocate. (a few more day’s of HOWL press and we’ll stop, we promise. We realize it’s been a bit non-stop, but this kinda film only comes around once in a life time we figure, so why not lay it on thick!)

The Beat Goes On

James Franco isn’t a gay man, he just plays one—frequently. The busiest guy in show business takes a break to discuss how he came to play Allen Ginsberg in Howl. Watch a behind the scenes video with Franco here. Full story >>

And whether you’ve gone on to read the above or not, here’s an illuminating behind-the-scenes during the advocate interview youtube clip with Franco talking about the process of learning his Ginsberg role.

And over at LA Times Book Blog Carolyn Kellogg gives good props >>

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Howl, James Franco, LA Times, New York Magazine, The Advocate

>Sundance Overview

[illustration: Eric Drooker]

[John Hamm left as defense attorney Jake Ehrlich and David Strathairn for the prosecution in Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman’s Howl]

The reviews have been flooding in since Howl’s premiere last Thursday at Sundance. For better or for worse, the information age allows for instant reviews virtually posted minutes after the house lights come up. Varietys Todd McCarthy probably one of the the first, praises it with an incredibly lukewarm touch, but we here at Ginzy Central seem to think Filmjunk have pretty well nailed it line for line for both the film and answering the critics. They saw the same film we did, we think. Heartening too is Betsy Sharkey’s LA Times review published on Saturday, which ends ““Howl” is not easy, and not commercial, but is it necessary? Absolutely. It is a tiny tributary of a movie, far from those churning mainstream waters, and quintessentially so, which seems exactly the creative stream that Sundance in its 26th year is supposed to be fording.”’s Laremy Legel sees it as “a pursuit of honesty through poetic excellence,” and seems to really get the writing angle more than the others. And last but not least, MTV’s blog, though short and sweet, adds a nice helping of euphoria. And a bit more sobering take from’s Andrew O’Hehir >>

We’re still sifting through these as they come through, and soon as the dust settles should have a few more up for you to peruse for your amusement.

The film’s editor Jake Pushinksy has launched a facebook page that he’s been adding to and keeping current, so pop on over to his Howl facebook fan page if you really wanna stay current. >>

Here are a couple youtube clips meanwhile:

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Filed under Andrew O'Hehir, Betsy Sharkey, Eric Drooker, Filmjunk, Howl, Jake Pushinsky Variety, James Franco, Jeffrey Friedman, John Hamm, LA Times, Laremy Legel, MTV, Rob Epstein, Sundance, Todd McCarthy