At left you see an exclusive photo of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. It was taken by affable filmmaker Jerry Aronson, who brought us the wonderful movie, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg. Jerry, in his kindness, allowed us to use five rare photos (four previously unseen in print) to illustrate the review of his DVD re-release of the work, which include an extra DVD with tons of great material – a review of which will be found in Beatdom Issue Nine, The Drugs Issue. Look for Issue Nine and the review next month. Also see www.allenginsbergmovie.com
If you have been on the Beatdom website, you will know that we are celebrating the Fourth Anniversary of Beatdom, the world’s most popular Beat-themed literary journal. We are also celebrating the birth of Beatdom Books, a new publishing concern which will be publishing books by literary gadflies Spencer Kansa and David S. Wills, who will both publish novels on Beatdom Books this year.
Kansa’s offering, Zoning, will be a welcome addition to the book collections of fans of William S. Burroughs. Burroughs, in fact, praised the work by Kansa and even provided him with a photo for the cover, which we will be using. Kansa’s voice, though new and original, channels some of the old, guttural Burroughs panache in it’s own way.
When we say “we” in this case, we are not referring to the ‘editorial we’ (as used in The Big Lebowski) but the “we” as in David S. Wills and myself, Your Humble Narrator.
Mr. Wills has spent three years in Asia, literally sweating over his long-awaited ‘asian rum diary,’ The Dog Farm, which is sure to win him a whole new cadre of Korean critics. Mr. Wills and myself will be partners in Beatdom Books. Having spent a drunken fortnight in discussion of all things written and worldly with Mr. Wills last August, we found him to be a most agreeable and far-sighted man, and we are happy to form this new company with him. He even gave me a hot tip on an asian casino stock which has taken care of my real estate taxes for this year and the next. That is a good partner. Cheers, David!
Now we get to the ironic part. In digging around the grey matter, looking for a snappy title for this blog, we hit upon the word ‘beat’ and thought we would use a line from Edgar Alllen Poe’s great story of terror, The Telltale Heart. From the bookcase, we plucked a copy of The Assignation and Other Tales by Poe. The book is a Claxton Edition, printed (perhaps) in the 1800s by Belford, Clarke & Company. There is no year of publication in the book anywhere. Belford, Clarke was a Chicago-based company but a tiny note in print says the volume was printed by Trow’s Printing and Bookbinding Company of New York. It may be valuable – perhaps for it’s place in print history. Though not having exhausted the internet with a search as yet, this brings back memories of last Spring, when we tried to find the value of a couple copies of The Outsider, a hand-printed literary journal published in New Orleans in the early 1960s.
Google led me to an article on a film, The Outsiders of New Orleans: The Loujon Press, made by Wayne Ewing in 2007. The article led us to write an email to the author, who happened to be David S. Wills. While the value of The Outsider (Issues 2 and 3), has yet to be determined, the idea was to sell them and clear some shelf space. As it happened, we were invited to write an essay for Beatdom and have been a regular there ever since, becoming Assistant Editor while working on Issue Eight – The Sex Issue. When the book collection started, we never considered what trouble it would be to get it out of the house. Now it is growing organically, with books holding our own work taking up even more space!
Irony is the way of the world and it always is amazing to see how one thing can lead to another. A year ago, serious writing was a thing of the past. Within the last year, we have published in three issues of Beatdom, wrote requested material for a live, naked performance celebrating women Beats, Lit Undressed, held in Omaha, NE, and have embarked upon a new endeavor in the world of publishing. This being our 54th year on this sphere, we are happy with ourselves and with you, Kind Readers, for your continued support!