Beat Poet, Bohemian, Activist, Founding Fug and self-confessed ‘Worlds Oldest Rock Star’, Tuli Kupferberg passed away on July 12 aged 86, tearing another hole in the Beat Fabric… With the recent deaths of artists such as Peter Orlovsky and Lenore Kandel, members of the sprawling group, immortalised as ‘The Beats’ are getting thin on the ground.
Kupferberg himself was immortalised in Ginsberg’s groundbreaking poem, ‘Howl’ as the man who threw himself off the Brooklyn Bridge and was one of the driving forces behind incendiary underground act The Fugs, alongside Ed Sanders. His work as a poet/artist and with The Fugs was staunchly anti-war. Songs such as Kill For Peace & CIA Man and his legendary publication, 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft published by Grove Press are classic examples.
As a publisher he was also at the cutting edge, releasing 9 issues of Yeah in the early 60’s and contributing to the periodical Birth, Swing.
His work remained vibrant until the very end, railing against the decay of literature (check out Tuli sticking it to the literary elite with his dozen little known anti-literary facts) and recording his daily Perverbs (check out two of Tuli’s Perverbs – They Who Go Down To The Sea & He Who Fights and Runs Away).
Artists like Tuli are once in a lifetime…
So to send you on your Friday night, here’s The Fugs ripping through I Couldn’t Get High. Float on Tuli, float on…
Lenore Kandel, shining light of the San Francisco poetry scene, author of the notorious, The Love Book has died aged 77. The Love Book, a small pamphlett made up of four poems, was seized by police in 1966 as hard-core pornography and book sellers were arrested for its sale. It was often said, Kandel saw the world with ‘peyote-visioned eyes’ and her work sought to translate these visions. A student of Zen, immortalised as Romana Schwarz in Kerouac’s Big Sur, her words continue to light up the minds of all who read them.
Here’s an excerpt from God/Love Poem:
there are no ways of love but / beautiful /
I love you all of them
I love you / your cock in my hands
stirs like a bird
in my fingers
as you swell and grow hard in my hand
forcing my fingers open
with your rigid strength
you are beautiful / you are beautiful
you are a hundred times beautiful
I stroke you with my loving hands
pink-nailed long fingers
I caress you
I adore you
my finger-tips… my palms…
your cock rises and throbs in my hands
a revelation / as Aphrodite knew it
(read the complete poem and other poems by Lenore Kandel)
There are many new films being made charting the life of The Beats at present (Ferlinghetti & Ginsberg’s Karma are two I have blogged about before). This latest film, One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur is one that I am eagerly anticipating.
One Fast Move takes us back to Ferlinghetti’s cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur as well as many of Kerouac’s San Franciscan and New York City haunts. Written in the aftermath of On the Road, Big Sur is a haunting epic, charting Kerouac’s own slide into tortured self-doubt, depression and alcoloholism. Big Sur is compelling in it’s ravaged beauty.
One Fast Move is told in voice over by actor and Kerouac interpreter, John Ventimiglia (The Sopranos) as well as through the refelections and musings of Beat originals, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Joyce Johnson & Carolyn Cassady as well as many of the writers, artists and musicians who have been transformed by Kerouac’s lyrical gift: Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Robert Hunter & Aram Saroyan.
And to top it all off, the soundtrack has been composed byJay Farrar (Son Volt) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), with all of the lyrics taken directly from the pages of the orignial novel.
You can watch a trailer and listen to sample of the soundtrack on the website. So for all you Kerouac devotees and Beat followers, this film is bound to put a smile on your face.