Readers, Speeders and Bottomfeeders, welcome All to another day in the Land of the Blog. Today, we are fortunate in that we do not have to think of a subject for the blog. It arrived by post yesterday, courtesy of Academy Award Nominated Director Jerry Aronson. It is the new release, rather the new incarnation, of his 2006 documentary, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, now released on DVD as a director’s cut with newly updated, unseen footage. It is an excellent package!
We are psyched!
Mr. Aronson spent over 25 years collecting and creating 120 hours of film on Mr. Ginsberg, which was distilled into this great flick. It begins 60 years ago with the forming of the firmament of the Beat movement/era of writing, following the Beats from the last century to the influence still wielded by their words in this, still new, 21st Century. Writing that was sort of like thinking of the mission statement of Beatdom, the international Beat journal, published by David S. Wills, who was kind enough to introduce me to Mr. Aronson.
Along with the biographical and historical material, the film is chockful of treats, like Ginsberg reading selected poems, the film record of Bob Dylan and Ginsberg’s famed visit to the grave of Jack Kerouac, Ginsberg interacting with Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs, the making of the music video The Ballad of the Skeletons and many other wonderful features.
The exclusive interviews are one part we especially look forward to…interviews with Joan Baez, Beck, Bono, William Burroughs, Johnny Depp, Philip Glass, Abbie Hoffman, Jack Johnson, Ken Kesy, Timothy Leary, Paul McCartney (?), Thurston Moore, Yoko Ono, Ed Sanders, Patti Smith, Hunter S. Thompson and more!!! That is enough to make anybody want to go out and buy it right there.
The work of Allen Ginsberg is especially important in today’s shadowy, spy world of Amerika. His investigations into the drug trafficking by the CIA under the auspices of our own government should have woken more people up back when he was doing his research but it is especially important today, that we keep an eye on the creeps (as opposed to the CREEP of Nixon) who are sabotaging the integrity of our very way of life through dirty tricks and nasty treatment of good people.
This film should be of important interest to anyone who considers themself to be an activist or is involved in trying to change some archaic laws which are hobbling this country into last place on the list of free countries. Those who are trying to legalize marijuana should learn a lesson from the Poet, as well as gain insight into just how screwed up the government has gotten our collective states of affairs.
Howl, the seminal work he is best known for, opened a crack, a schism in the the collective consciousness which led to repeal of laws barring publications dealing with sex, drugs and other fun, but sordid, topics. If not for Howl, Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs and the trials of Lenny Bruce, we would not enjoy things we have today, things which we do not always consider when thinking about freedom of speech…like the burdgeoning comedy scene of the past four decades and current truthtellers like Lewis Black, Sarah Silverman, the late George Carlin and anybody else, from Lisa Simpson to Tony Soprano, who never would have seen the light of day before theesse draconian laws were changed.
As draconian as the pot laws are today, free speech was even a bigger hurdle and the bravery and selflessness of the Americans who fought for that right, against their own government, deserves a monument just as large as the one which celebrates our ‘taking’ of Iwo Jima.
This is a must-see for anybody who is interested in poetics, history and getting the heavy foot of Uncle Sam off of our backs!!!
Go buy it on Amazon!