Monday, October 29, 2007

ADA -Related Article Links

Why I first got into blogs; I wanted to offer links to ADA-related articles that patrons may find interesting. See this link below:,2933,305239,00.html


Twilight Zone Episodes on Greenwich Library!

First, I'm moving away from the Beats & the related programs on them here at the library as this blog's focus. Instead, I'm going to focus not just solely on the Beat programs but also other programs & services the library can carry. To kick things off, here's a little reminder about this Wednesday's "Classic TV" event.

Starting at 7:00 pm October 31st (Halloween!), I'll be airing episodes of The Twilight Zone series, the original one that ran on CBS from 1959-1964, not the various revivals from 1985-88. It'll be shown in the second floor Meeting Room and at the moment I'm still trying to decide which ones to pick. (They're also on VHS and the tape quality is uneven.) I had hoped to show the two hour pilot film of Zone creator/writer/producer/host Rod Serling's Night Gallery from 1969 on DVd but the library copy of that is listed as 'missing'. Sigh.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bill Morgan Returns To Greenwich Library

Author/librarian/editor (and tour guide - I'll explain that shortly) Bill Morgan (pictured on top right) spoke here at the library last May on the life of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg (in the picture on the left; Ginsberg, with beard, is standing next to Gregory Corso). That went pretty well, so I arranged for him to come speak about another Beat Gen figure, poet/author Gregory Corso (1931-2001). Mr. Morgan edited a collection of letters to & from Mr. Corso & published them (via New Directions) as An Accidental Autobiography: The Selected Letters of Gregory Corso (with a foreword by Patti Smith) in 2003. Thanks to Marianne Weil & the RM department we managed to get two copies of this collection.

I won't pretend that Corso's poetry was up there with Browning, Whitman or Ginsberg. His earliest stuff (the Gasoline collection for example) had much more "oomph" & youthful vitality than his later works (for a good overview, check out Mindfield). His one novel American Express, written & published in France in 1961, is scattershot & unfocused (it only just got a domestic publication this year), but does have its moments. Mostly, as Accidental makes clear, Corso was too busy living off patrons (sponsers) and getting loaded/stoned, when he wasn't stealing the personal property of friends & colleagues, to focus on producing literary output on a consistant (or at least artistically valid) basis. His appearences in the documentaries "What Happened to Kerouac?" (1986) and "The Source" (1999) indicate that as he got older, Corso seemed to have gotten more angry & unpleasant, to the point of being personally abusive (verbally & otherwise) to said friends & colleagues. Had his personal demons not consumed him to the point that he depended more on chemical stimuli and less on expressing his stands on things via his poetry, Corso's works may have been as highly regarded during his life as say, Carl Sandburg, who, right up to his death in 1967, still had an audience eager to listen to what he wrote about next. (And no, I don't think Corso & Sandburg were in the same class, talent-wise. Corso at least didn't phone it in on his later poems the way Sandburg did with his. Corso's later work was uneven, but that anger of his I mentioned still gave his best poems an edge lacking in the works of some of his peers.)

So why devote an evening here at the library to Corso? I could go on & on about what his poems "say" or why he has a place in American letters (aside from hanging out with Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs & the other Beats - hence his inclusion here), but I can't quite get that across, especially with a large audience, all that well. I really want people not only to know of Corso, his life, and his work, but also what fired his jets. Why would a guy, who spent half his life in & out of prison, with little if any formal schooling, be able to cite the works of Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Balzac, Poe & others & use those influences to create artistic works of his own?

More importantly, if Corso could seek out these literary influences, then maybe people such as students or even our patrons, upon hearing about Corso's work & what helped form them, could seek out these works and the works of others that stimulate them, and get something rewarding out of it.

Which is why I wanted to start up the Beat program. Not just to discuss the social aspects of the Beats but also the literary aspects as well, and share them with the public.

Down the line, if we continue this program, I hope to move beyond the Beats and focus more on the writers that were influenced by them, such as Charles Bukowski. I'm also looking up info on Hunter S, Thompson (who, like the lives of Corso, Bukowski and others, personifies the meaning of the expression "judge the art, not the artist" - hey, I know none of these guys were altar boys) and hope to set something up about him.
MEANWHILE Mr. Morgan will be talking about Mr. Corso's life & works here in the Meeting Room on November 10 at 2 pm. Maybe I'll ask him for more details about the series of tours he conducts in New York & San Francisco where he shows groups the places & hangouts Corso, Kerouac & the other Beats hang out.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Naked Lunch Book Cover Via My Friend Flickr

The cover of the 2003 restored edition. As the story goes the original 1959 publication was out of order as Burroughs typed his manuscript in Tangiers (or the Beat Hotel in France), tossing the pages on the floor while still in a smack-induced haze. Others (including Kerouac) helped try to put the work together as much
as possible.
I'd love to get Barry Miles (who's in the UK) or Burroughs' former secretary James Grauerhotz (Kansas!) to come down & discuss what process they went through to restore the text, but my resources may not be enough.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

If At First...

Flickr and Explorer aren't seeing eye to eye, so, using the technique discussed on pps 22-23, I'm going to jpeg a picture instead:

William S. Burroughs

Well, I was going to show a picture of William S. Burroughs, but there seems to be a technical problem with Flickr. (Probably also with Explorer. Boy, I wish we had Firefox!) Anyway, I was able to follow the procedure as outlined in last Saturday's class pretty well. I'll give it another shot later.

UPDATE: Blogger is "aware" of the problem & is trying to fix it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

OK The Focus is on Jack Kerouac

Owing to a rushed work schedule today, I won't have too much time to spend here. However, I've decided on a specific focus for my blog for the next two weeks. No, it won't be on spaghetti westerns -that'll be for another time. Rather, I'll be concentrating on the "Beat" period of American Literature, specifically the works of Jack Kerouac, whose seminal work, On the Road was published 50 years ago last month.

Having just gotten back from the University of MA's Lowell campus, where the "Jack Kerouac Conference" was held last week, I've become aware that 2007 is shaping up to be the rebirth of interest in the Beats. In addition to Kerouac, people are now looking into the works of his contemporaries like allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso. This year I began a series of lectures & films concentrating on the Beats here at the library. This Monday, October 15, my old English professor from NYU (and currently teaching at SVA) Regina Weinreich, will be giving a lecture & power point presenatation on the life & work of William S. Burroughs.

Anyway, this site will be specifically devoted to Jack Kerouac for the next two weeks. To kick off this direction, I'm going to list a couple of Kerouac-related site links(and try to practice my hyperlink skills) here:

dharma beat

the beat writers

Now I have to run up to Town Hall. Another post should be up tomorrow.

Our hero:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sartana Video Box

This is me learning to add pictures:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Test Review

After hearing so much about it, I finally broke down & watched the 1968 Italian-French "spaghetti western" Sartana with Gianni Garko & Klaus Kinski. It was worth the wait. The DVD (which has a slight problem with its letterboxing) looks okay. I'll have a more in-depth review later. -Ed

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Second Post

Here's my second post. Just testing.

Welcome to Ed's First Blog

Hi! This is Ed's very first blog, so please be patient. More to come.