Tag Archives: Beat

Lion for Reel

I got back to Nashville late on Monday night after a week at the Sedona Summer Colony in Arizona. I spent last week writing songs, jamming with musicians and talking about movies, art and writing with artists and thinkers from around the country. It was an illuminating, immersive experience in a singularly beautiful setting and [...]

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Black Rimbaud

Bob Kaufman was a Beat poet who might be thought of as the Anti-Ginsberg: The Howl author’s legendary hustling made sure that the world new his name along with those of contemporaries like William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, and it’s not overstatement to say that Ginsberg was every bit the carny-huckster-PR man that he [...]

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The James Dean Story

Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre kicks off its massive Robert Altman retrospective this weekend. The series includes 19 features and 3 short films, but completists might notice that one of the director’s earliest projects didn’t make the cut. For me, the most important period in American culture is that window during the 1940′s and 1950′s when European [...]

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Straight, No Chaser at 25

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser is one of my most important movies. The documentary was released 25 years ago in 1989. I saw it when I was a junior in college in the early 1990′s. The film assembles German television footage from the late 1960′s, ties it together with contemporaneous interviews and even includes a [...]

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Beat. Bad. Baraka!

Writer Amiri Baraka was born Everett Leroi Jones in 1934, but changed his name in 1961. Baraka’s poetry included insightful and incendiary critiques of social mores and politics during a time when the American way of life at home and at work, in the bedroom and the boardroom and at the ballot box was being [...]

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Celebrating Frank O'Hara

Frank O’Hara would’ve turned 87 in March if he hadn’t been hit by a dune buggy on Fire Island in 1966. O’Hara was a category straddling artist who wouldn’t be boxed-in by the preconceived boundaries that separated – and continue to separate – artists and the people who organize and comment on their work. O’Hara [...]

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RE/Searching Brion Gysin

RE/Search Publishing was founded in 1980 by V. Vale and Andrea Juno. According to the Wiki, the San Fransisco-based company was originally funded by $100 they were given by Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. This is an interesting fact as RE/Search becomes known as a magazine – eventually in book form – that celebrated Western [...]

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William Burroughs Paints Without a Gun

As many readers of these here illuminated letters surely know, the great author/Beat ghost/junky/exterminator William S. Burroughs also added the title of “painter” to his resume before his death in 1997. He began painting in his later years while living in Lawrence Kansas, but his relationship with painting and painters began much earlier. I like [...]

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Wallace Berman: Aleph to Z

Wallace Berman was born in Staten Island, New York in 1926. While he was still a child, he correctly predicted that he would die on his 50th birthday. He was hit by a car in 1976. During those five decades, Berman became a pioneering assemblage artist as well as one of the cornerstones of the [...]

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Michael McClure and The Maze

The San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive is full of gold. There is tons of material here from the ’60′s including lots of great footage of the Black Panthers and plenty of Haight Street hippies to be had. The Maze is a television news documentary that was made in 1967. It features 2nd generation Beat [...]

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