Here’s the second in our series of “Annotated Streaming Video(s)” (the first, on “Pull My Daisy”, was posted Monday, and can be accessed here).“Kerouac, Ginsberg and Friends in NYC, 1959” – under such matter-of-fact description lies another rarity and treasure – a true internet treasure (over 230,000 people have viewed it since it was first put up on You Tube in June of 2007! – a particularly remarkable thing, since, all this time, it has remained something of a mystery, and is black-and-white, silent (sic) footage – Who? what? where?). The date is Spring (or early Summer), 1959, and the location? – no question at all about that – is the Harmony Bar and Restaurant, then located on Manhattan’s Third Avenue, on the corner of Third Avenue and East 9th Street. The “featured players”? – well, recognizably, Allen and Jack Kerouac – but also Lucien Carr and his wife Francesca (and their three sons, Simon, Caleb and Ethan), also, Mary Frank (wife of the filmmaker) and their two children, (Pablo and Andrea) – and behind the camera? (well, uncredited, so we’re not one-hundred percent certain, but wouldn’t that be Robert Frank himself?
(update May 4: We’ve contacted the SSC Archives admin and are told things should be back up shortly. They’ve gone through a website revamp and obviously have some kinks to sort out. )
(Note: We’ve been unable to load any of the links from the SSC Archives site, even with the latest real audio player installed, but thought we’d post this per chance someone out there is able to, and could clue everyone else into how to. Not having any luck reaching SSC Archives either)
Following the extraordinary material announced here and here, here’s another archive of “Beat treasures”. An “online exhibit”, featuring material from the April 1973 (Jack) Kerouac Symposium at Salem State College. In short video clips, Allen “describes his feelings upon seeing Kerouac in his coffin”’; “discusses his interview in Gay Sunshine magazine in which he revealed his homosexual encounters with Kerouac”; “discusses a section from On The Road”; “discusses Kerouac’s last meeting with Neal Cassady in June of 1964 in New York City”; and, (with Andrew Latham and Gregory Corso), “discuss(es) “the legend of Kerouac’s “teletype” writing technique”. There is also audio of Allen reading “Memory Gardens”, “Dream Record, June 9, 1955” and Kerouac’s “Scripture of The Golden Eternity (number 64)”. Gregory Corso is also included, reading his poem, “The Mad Yak”.
Today we begin a series – Annotated Streaming Video. Not sure how much, or how avidly, you’ve been making use of our “blogroll” (over there on the right), but “Streaming Video” is what leads it off, and “Streaming Video” is led off by the classic Robert Frank/Al Leslie 1959 production, Pull My Daisy.
“Milo is a railroad brakeman, his wife a painter. They have some poet friends who spend a good bit of time hanging out at their apartment. When Milo and his wife are visited by their bishop, they naturally would like their friends to be on their best behavior. But poets will be poets” (IMDB‘s plot synopsis)
“Pull my daisy/tip my cup/all my doors are open..”
Jack Kerouac’s extraordinary improvised monologue/sound-track, and the freshness and spontaneity of the acting (acting?), not to mention Frank’s/Leslie’s understated but deeply intelligent filmic “eye”, lift this film into a class of its own, the classic Beat film, and one of the acknowledged pioneering works of the so-called “New American Cinema”.
Leslie (and composer David Amram) explain the back-story in this fascinating three-part interview that features extended excerpts from the movie (the full – 30 minute – film, may be viewed, in its entirety, here).
Amram doesn’t actually perform the title-song in the film (that distinction goes to Anita Ellis) but he did compose and arrange it (Allen and Kerouac were responsible for the lyrics). He can be seen performing it here, here, and, most recently, here, (at his “80th Birthday Jam” at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City).
John Cohen’s 2008 review of the Steidl reprint of the Grove Press book of the film is also essential reading – Is Pull My Daisy Holy? – “It is wonderful that Steidl has chosen to republish the Pull My Daisy book now”..”(This) little book..was the authentic statement, document and presentation, done at the time of the film..”
Allen sings robustly here his 1986 poem “Fifth Internationale”(“Arise ye prisoners of your mind-set/Arise Neurotics of the Earth”), a “parasong“, as his friend Tuli Kupferberg might have described it, written to the tune of the original “Fifth Internationale“, and performed, on stage, in 1995, at Megatripolis club-night, at the Heaven night-club, in London’s West End.
May 1 also reminds us that Allen was at one time “King of May”. As something of an annual ritual, we once again post this extraordinary footage – and this, a reading of “Kral Majales” at City Lights, shortly after his expulsion from Czechoslovakia.