Hubert Selby Jr’s American Dream
Oct26

Hubert Selby Jr’s American Dream

The American Dream is the unifying theme across the work of the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac wrote wondrous love letters while William Burroughs explored its often nightmarish landscape. However, Hubert Selby Jr. was the only writer to identify its failure while also providing an antidote to correct it. Hubert “Cubby” Selby Jr. was born in the dilapidated Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York in 1928.  He spent his formative years...

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Storming the Reality Studio with Uncle Bill:  Some Thoughts on William S. Burroughs and the Movies
Jun18

Storming the Reality Studio with Uncle Bill: Some Thoughts on William S. Burroughs and the Movies

From Beatdom #14   By Matthew Levi Stevens Art by Philip Willey Until really quite recently, of the “big names” that one thinks of in association with the Beat Generation, it was always William S. Burroughs that was easiest or most likely to think of in connection with film – for a variety of reasons, some fairly obvious and others not so. It is something of a cliché that of the Big Three, each had a decade of which they were very...

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American Mutants Spawned in the Bunker
May17

American Mutants Spawned in the Bunker

Originally published in Beatdom #14, and excerpted from the forthcoming memoir/scrapbook, Don’t Hesitate: Knowing Allen Ginsberg ’72 Through ’92.   Allen Ginsberg invited me to see William S. Burroughs in January 1977, when I was visiting NYC. As you may know, Burroughs’ residence at 222 Bowery was nicknamed The Bunker. It was a converted YMCA, with literally no windows and a shiny steel door. The walls were...

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Pulling Our Daisy: The Illusion of Spontaneity
Apr11

Pulling Our Daisy: The Illusion of Spontaneity

1959 was an important year in Beat Generation history. It was the year that William S. Burroughs published Naked Lunch from Paris’ Beat Hotel, that the Beats were first profiled in Life magazine, and the year the MGM released a sensationalist cinematic nightmare called The Beat Generation. In the previous three years, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac had shattered the notion that young people must conform to strict social codes, and...

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William S. Burroughs, C. J. Bradbury Robinson, and Williams Mix
Mar17

William S. Burroughs, C. J. Bradbury Robinson, and Williams Mix

Love or hate him, venerate or revile him, the life and work of William Seward Burroughs continues to inspire and intrigue. In addition to “The Work,” since his death in 1997 we have seen further biographies, celebrations, collections of letters, and critical studies, as well as restored and even previously unpublished texts. There has been reassessment and re-examination of various aspects of the life and work, starting with Burroughs...

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Why Can’t They Get It?
Feb23

Why Can’t They Get It?

By Neil Reddy Originally published in Beatdom #14   There are two questions that have to be asked about Beat movies. What do we want and why can’t they get it right? If we’re looking for Beat movies as in expressions of the flow and rhythm of Beat poetry and Jazz Bebop, then you have to go to the source material: Pull My Daisy (1959), or The Flower Thief (1960), or Howl (2010). If you want to get derivative, try any college arts...

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Exiled on Beat Street
Feb17

Exiled on Beat Street

In 1957 Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky were in the midst of the obscenity trials in the US surrounding the publication of Ginsberg’s poem Howl. After being shunned by the clean-cut conservative American public, (who despised homosexuality and Ginsberg’s outspoken nature in the radicalised work) the pair went left to seek refuge in more liberal and artistic France. Eventually the couple sought exile with fellow Beat poet Gregory...

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Nude Supper
Jul20

Nude Supper

Nude Supper i   Desolation Angels, p.341 [Kerouac about Burroughs] “…rejecting him completely from their interior decorated living rooms in retirement Florida because of the mad book he’s written and published in Paris (Nude Supper) –“ Heat wave So hot Summer in the naked city How shall we dine? How shall we sup? Let’s shrimp in the raw Peel the shells Drop in aqua ice Crisp baby artichokes Snip off...

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