For film buffs and lovers of Beat Culture, this release of legendary American independent filmmaker, Alfred Leslie’s work is long overdue. I was first switched on to Leslie’s work, through the Kerouac narrated, Pull My Daisy, which features Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky. Pull My Daisy is a ramshackled retelling of an incident in the lives of Neal and Carolyn Cassady, and charts the weirdness that ensues when a Bishop is invited over for dinner, crashed by a bunch of bohemians. The film captures the heady Beat life and has the same improvised feel that much of the great literature from this time embraced.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s a few links to the making of the film (interviews with David Amram & Alfred Leslie) including excerpts from the original.
Alongside Pull My Daisy this release also features, Birth of a Nation, A Stranger Calls at Midnight and Leslie’s visionary collaboration with Frank O’Hara, The Last Clean Shirt. Olivier Brossard has written a stunning essay (published in Jacket) on The Last Clean Shirt that is well worth the read.
The final film included as part of the release is USA: Poetry – Frank O’Hara. USA Poetry was a 12-part series produced in 1965-66, showcasing the works of Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Philip Whalen, Ed Sanders and many others. You can view clips from Frank O’Hara’s segment of the release on his website.
And if that’s not quite enough to peak your interest, head on over to Alfred Leslie’s homepage where you can read his textual exploration of Cool Man in a Golden Age.
Painter, Filmmaker, Photographer, Writer… most definitely a Cool Man in any age.