Tag Archives | Beat Generation

Say You Want A Revolution

movementFrom Rebel News

For a movement to have integrity, everyone must be true to themselves, yet for that to come about, it needs solidarity of purpose. This is a dilemma. We need one another for critique, for diversity, for sustainability. We need each other to build the myth of a movement.

Without an alignment of collective and mutual best interest, a movement cannot survive. It will collapse in on itself before it attains any sort of critical mass. This seeming paradox is part of what keeps many creative individuals disenfranchised, biting at each other’s ankles. They’re arguing about the wrong things, and focusing their energy and attention in the wrong place. Movements only occur when people learn to work together towards common goals, to hell with the labels.

Living movements require no closed manifestos, no party lines, no armbands, tattoos or uniforms. What is needed is space to meet up and share ideas and collaborate, a means of making the relevancy of our work evident outside the insular and seemingly elitist circles that form around such groups and the ability to eat and pay rent without completely shilling the underlying premise; space, resources, an understanding of mutual benefit, and a determination that goes far beyond any benefit that aesthetic posturing could possibly provide.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Counterculture: The Rebel Commodity

Digital painting by James Curcio based on street art by Trondheim

Digital painting by James Curcio based on street art by Trondheim

An editorial over at Rebel News asks if it’s actually possible to work against the Man if you are also working for him?

Let’s talk about being a rebel.

Everyone seems to want to be one. But it’s not entirely clear what it means. Does it take camo- pants? A Che T-shirt? A guitar? Is it just doing the opposite of whatever your parents did? “Be an individual, a rebel, innovate,” so many advertisements whisper. They’d have us believe that True Revolutionaries think different. They use Apple, or drink Coke. We signal our dissent to one another with the music we listen to and the cars we drive.

There’s something very peculiar going on here, something elusive and deeply contentious.

In the 1997 book, Commodify Your Dissent, Thomas Frank laid out a thesis that may appear common sense to those that have watched or lived in the commodified subcultures of the 90s, 00s, and beyond.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

City Lights Celebrates 60

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

When Gutenberg created the printing press, humanity took a massive leap in literacy, social equality, and political democracy. It’s hard to imagine in this day of tablet phones and digital literature, but after World War II the American paperback created a revolution of its own: it made books available for cheap and made publishing possible for all kinds of niche writing including that always-highly-touted, but-often-most-all-but-ignored object: the contemporary poetry collection. It wasn’t exactly the Gutenberg revolution, but the effect was impactful, widespread and, in the case of City Lights, sustained.

This year, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights paperback publisher and bookstore is 60. Here’s the Los Angeles Review of Books on the birthday and the publisher’s latest release…

Major cultural changes often result from individual vocation and choices. Ferlinghetti’s life story seems so characteristically American. He had a rocky beginning in life: his Italian father died six months before his birth and his French mother was sent to an asylum a few months after.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Project Bring Me to Life Podcast Interviews Nick Meador

On episode #5 of the Project Bring Me to Life Podcast, host Selomon and co-host Nick Mielnicki interview Nick Meador about his work as a facilitator and writer. Throughout the 90 minute discussion they touch on Process Work (or process-oriented psychology), Meador’s book project about the life and work of “Beat Generation” author Jack Kerouac, body awareness, ecstatic dance, dream interpretation, transformational festivals, and more.

Nick Meador facilitates self-development training on communication and awareness within a supportive community-building space.

He uses a type of psychology called Process Work plus Nonviolent Communication. Check out his group Dreaming Feeling Background for more information.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

William S. Burroughs: Paint it Blacker

As many readers of these here illuminated letters surely know, the great author/Beat ghost/junky/exterminator William S. Burroughs also added the title of “painter” to his resume before his death in 1997. He began painting in his later years while living in Lawrence Kansas, but his relationship with painting and painters began much earlier.

I like to trace Burroughs’ origins as a painter back to his 1959 meeting with Brion Gysin. Gysin was also a polymath and his written work is as underrated as his paintings were during his lifetime. Gysin died in 1986 and while his sometimes-stunning prose has yet to be reconsidered, the publication of a few great books and the organizing of gallery retrospectives have seen his visual art getting the respect it deserves all these years later. Of course, Burroughs was way ahead of the curve: “I don’t think I’d seen painting until I saw the painting of Brion Gysin,” he once snarled.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Letters of Note: Jack Kerouac ‘Burroughs Has Gone Insane’

William S. BurroughsOn the always fascinating site Letters of Note:
Early 1957, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg travelled to Tangier to join William Burroughs; their mission to assemble and edit Burroughs' many fragments of work to form a 'readable' Naked Lunch manuscript. Kerouac arrived early and, during a break from socialising with Burroughs, the 'old familiar lunatic', wrote to Lucien Carr and his wife Francesca in order to update them on the project's progress. That handwritten letter — essentially a fascinating account of Burroughs' behaviour in his prime — can be seen [here]. For related material — including other correspondence, manuscript pages and photographs — I very highly recommend visiting Columbia University's online exhibition, "Naked Lunch": The First Fifty Years.
Transcript here: Dear Lucien & Cessa — Writing to you by candlelight from the mysterious Casbah — have a magnificent room overlooking the beach & the bay & the sea & can see Gibraltar — patio to sun on, room maid, $20 a month — feel great but Burroughs has gone insane as, — he keeps saying he's going to erupt into some unspeakable atrocity such as waving his dingdong at an Embassy part & such or slaughtering an Arab boy to see what his beautiful insides look like ...
Continue Reading

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (Documentary)

Via www.burroughsthemovie.com:
The film investigates the life of legendary beat author and American icon, William S. Burroughs. Born the heir of the Burroughs’ adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned their decision in 1966, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century. William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. However, his friends were left wondering, did William ever find happiness? This extremely personal documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.
Continue Reading