As I am sure you will know, Kerouac’s 1951 classic, On the Road is now ‘in the can’… hopefully it makes its way to our shores this coming summer. I am particularly excited about seeing Sam Riley’s portrayal of Sal Paradise (Kerouac) and Viggo Mortensen’s take on Old Bull Lee (Burroughs). They are two actors, who rarely miss for me, so I am hoping they really capture the frenetic, freewheeling spirit of Jack & Bill. I am not as familiar with the work of Garrett Hedlund, but let’s hope he brings the necessary energy to make Dean Moriarty (Cassady) crackle on screen. If you haven’t already seen it, here’s the trailer:
And just as exciting, is the release of two new Beat Documentaries, Beat Hotel and The Poetry Deal: a film with Diane di Prima.
Beat Hotel takes a look at the heady days of the Beats in Paris (1957 – 63); when Ginsberg, Orlovsky & Corso fled the aftermath of the Howl obscenity trial and holed up at 9 Rue Git le Couer where they were joined by the likes of William S. Burroughs, Ian Sommerville, Brion Gysin & Harold Norse. In this no-name hotel, dubbed Beat Hotel, Burroughs would complete his revolutionary book, Naked Lunch, Corso would write some of his greatest poems and Sommerville & Gysin would invent the Dream Machine. It was an experimental sanctuary, where outcasts, oddballs and misfits were welcomed. Here’s the trailer:
And The Poetry Deal, looks at the life of one of the Beat era’s revolutionary women, Diane di Prima. You only need to dip into Memoirs of a Beatnik to know that di Prima, lived as wild as any of the men; her explosive texts bursting with a spirit of rebellion. The film features many intimate interviews with di Prima and is ‘lyrical and energetic’ in its exploration of her life.
The Brisbane International Film Festival program has now been released and it features two of the films I have been hotly anticipating for some time.
Howl, starring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg, which has been receiving rave reviews worldwide and William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, a feature length documentary featuring never before seen footage of Burroughs and interviews with Laurie Anderson, John Waters, David Cronenberg, Amiri Baraka, Anne Waldman, Diane DiPrima and a soundtrack by Patti Smith and Sonci Youth.
Definitely two great reasons to get along to this year’s festival… sadly, I will be away for the duration of the festival, so if like me, you can’t get along and catch these films, here’s a treat for you…
I recently came across the film Wholly Communion, Peter Whitehead’s documentary of the legendary Beat reading at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1965. It was described as an evening of near-hallucinatory revelry and featured readings by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Alexander Trocchi, Adrian Mitchell & many others.
Here are the links to watch (the majority of) the film, so get yourself comfortable (drinks, nibbles, whatever takes you…) and take in a slice of literary history!
Another Sunday, and after the grey, weeping sky that prevailed last weekend, it is so good to feel the last of today’s winter sun streaming through my window.
And while I am getting my fix, you should get yours.
Check out this great short film based on the poem A Fix by Herbert Huncke. For many Huncke is better known as ‘Herman’ in Burroughs’ classic novel, Junky or as ‘Elmer Hassel’ in Kerouac’s On the Road, but Huncke was certainly no bit player. In fact it was Huncke who intoduced Kerouac to the term ‘beat’.
And if this film peaks your interest, check out this reading of Huncke’s classic ‘The Evening Sun Turned Crimson’.
Now that voice is beat.