Tag Archives: jerry aronson

Beatdom Books, Exclusive Pics, Edgar Allen Poe and Other Things

     Readers, Tweeters and Brain-Feeders,

     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!

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The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg

     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!

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