Category Archives: Peter Orlovsky
“The prophecies of Marinetti are coming true some of them, the wilder, more poetic ones”, so, gleefully, declares Allen in this quintessentially 1967 documentary film by Antonello Branca, What’s Happening? What, indeed, is happening? Poets and painters and a brash New York City just for that moment in time and space come together. Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg candidly speak (Andy speaks!). Allen appears first (around six and a half minutes in) being interviewed as he walks along the street and then (circa 3o minutes in) is seen holding forth at a street cafe. Gregory Corso makes a cameo appearance right at the very end (with a baby!). He gets the punch line. “War makes people crazy”.
“We have all come here together. Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, poet Gerard Malanga, over here, if you move your camera, poet Ed Sanders of a rock n roll group called The Fugs [unfortunately mis-translated on the screen by the Italian translator as The Fags!]..over (t)here, Tuli Kuperfberg, a poet and singer in The Fugs, over there, writing at the table. Peter Orlovsky with the long hair, who is a poet and also a singer, behind him, his brother, who was in a madhouse for 14 years. He’s a superstar of the Underground. Oh, and Jonas Mekas, Jonas Mekas, head of the Filmmakers Cooperative. He’s the one who puts together films like Flaming Creatures and The Brig and sends them around Europe and in America, the impresario. He also makes films, which he’s doing now.”
[Allen Ginsberg 25th Anniversary Reading of Howl, 1981 – photo by Marvin Moore]
Marvin Moore’s extraordinary picture of an ecstatic Allen reading from Howl at Columbia University in 1981, on the occasion of the poem’s 25th anniversary, heads up our weekly round-up. Further images (a studio portrait (from 1985), two portraits of Allen in the street (from the same day) and Allen and Peter in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1992) can be accessed here. Check out his website for more indepth look at his work.
Two new Allen biographies that we’re looking forward to – Well, Steve Finbow is just putting finishing touches on his (a critical biography, for Reaktion Books’ “Critical Lives” series). His thoughts on that can be found here. Meanwhile, Bob Rosenthal (Allen’s long-time secretary)’s first-hand account of life at the center of the Ginsberg vortex, Straight Around Allen, is, also. well on its way towards completion, so we hear.
Anne Waldman and her son Ambrose (Bye) recall the generosity of Allen on two shaky but charming You Tube video clips (from a December 2010 date in Cookesville, Tennessee), here and here. More of Anne on that occasion can be seen here. Damion Rogers interviews her for Lemon Hound. The Iovis Trilogy, the complete edition of her epic (720-page!) poem. “a visionary call to poetic arms”, will be published by Coffee House Press early this summer
Bob Holman, recently on tour with her in Montreal, proposes what he calls “a Ginsberg turn-on”. It can, he explains,” take any form, so long as Allen is evoked (probably by reading his poetry), his energy acknowledged,(and) the continuance of his work engaged”. His own Bowery Poetry Club plans to inaugerate a “Ginsberg Turn On”, coming up soon, twenty minutes, each night, every Tuesday evening.
Videoheads, an artist’s video collective, now based in Amsterdam, made several video recordings of Allen over the years, in London, Amsterdam, and Paris. This is a snippet from his performance (with Steven Taylor and Peter Orlovsky) at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 1979. The spirited rendition of “Guru Blues” is introduced by, (unrelated) Allen, en francais, noting that the children of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (Robert and Michael Meeropol) had written a book (We Are Your Sons: The Legacy of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (1975)), about their experience growing up as the children of the famously executed pair. Dark Cold War secrets.
The current presence of Howl the movie has summoned up a few complimentary bibliographic articles. Gilliam Orr in The Independent proposes a reading list that begins, as everybody would suggest, with the poem itself, followed by such titles as, James Campbell’s overview, This Is The Beat Generation, Ronna C Johnson & Nancy M Grace’s Girls Who Wore Black, and Harold Chapman’s photographic documentation, which, as they carefully note, is “currently out of print”
An equally maverick selection was proposed last year by Courtney Crowder in the Chicago Tribune. Taking for granted the poem itself as the starting point, she recommends Bill Morgan’s biography, I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg; the Ginsberg-Kerouac letters; Susan Edwards’ book-length memoir, The Wild West Wind: Remembering Allen Ginsberg; and Chris Felver’s photo book, The Late Great Allen Ginsberg
This, to quote our friend Michael McClure is just “scratching the.. surface”
Another Allen on Film – Ruth Du’s short, Six’55 (featuring Roger Massih as Allen) – “a historical interpretation of the first night Allen Ginsberg recited his famous “Howl” in the Six Gallery in San Francisco in 1955” – just won the prize for “best undergraduate cinematography” at NYU’s Fusion Film Festival.
“David Amram: The First 80 Years!” gets a “sneak preview” this weekend in Lowell
and – didn’t we mention? don’t think we did – footage from last year’s Peter Orlovsky Memorial at St Mark’s Church is now up on The Poetry Project‘s web-site (actually, it’s been there now a good long while!)
Yes, Lowell – don’t forget Jack Kerouac’s birthday tomorrow! (Saturday March 12th) – His home-town is once again celebrating with a birthday-bash. As acknowledgment of the 75th anniversary of the 1936 Lowell Flood, there’ll be readings from Doctor Sax, (wherein he describes the flood,
as he remembered it, still a boy, only 14 years old). There’ll be a showing of the film Whatever Happened to Kerouac?, and an evening of jazz and blues – and poetry – at The Back Pages Jazz and Blues Club,”an evening of words, music and improv”, hosted by, and featuring David Amram