Gentle Readers, a new morsel of the good stuff showed up in the Beat cookie jar today, an advance copy of a PBS Independent Lens series episode, which will air across the USA starting February 22 – William S. Burroughs: A Man Within.
Even before it arrived, we liked it for the title, which brings to mind one of our most favorite books by Burroughs, The Cat Inside. It is a work of straight writing, like his novels Junky and Queer, and we prefer his traditional style moreso than his lunatic-fringed works, which are always the target of imitators and penny-ante enthusiasts, a fad which seem to recur every ten years or so since we first ‘discovered’ Beat writing in the 1970s. We consider ourselves, here at CFYSA, lucky to have read most of the Beats at a tender age. It allowed many details to be forgotten in the thirty years hence – which makes those same works a joy to rediscover and reread now, in what we assume to be adulthood.
We have not viewed the new DVD yet, since it still has cookie crumbs clinging to the wrapper. It will be reviewed in the next issue of Beatdom Issue 9 – The Drugs Issue. It will appear on your own tv sets in about two or three weeks, however, so we thought it prudent to give you all a heads-up on this marvelous bit of programming.
With a soundtrack by our hero and Burroughs compatriot, Patti Smith (along with Sonic Youth) and narrated by Naked Lunch star Peter Weller, the film shows previously unreleased footage of The Man, as well as unseen interviews with many others, including Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Anne Waldman, John Waters, Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith and Jello Biafra as part of the diverse array. This is a goldmine for Burroughs fans everywhere!
PBS has also launched a companion website to promote the film at www.pbs.org/independentlens/burroughs where fans can get more detailed information, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker and explore the links and resources. Viewers of the site can even share their ideas and opinions on the Talkback section of the site.
This is a rather short blog but it is only here to point you to the film, which was made by a 25-year-old high school dropout – our favorite type of scholar – Yony Leyser. Actually, some websites say he dropped out of college, some say film school and others say high school…we just admire him as an Outsider who dropped out to follow his vision. Shouldn’t everybody?