Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hey Film Buffs! Look What Turner Classic Movies Is Offering!

My colleague Catherine Tynes pointed out this terrific site offered by the cable station Turner Classic Movies . Basically, TCM has a collection of downloadable film clips and original "coming attraction" trailers of most of the classic movies they carry in their catalogue. You can "pick your video" and watch on your email, blog, etc. (Please note: As Catherine pointed out to me, there's a hidden code that allows you to embed the video clips on the link. If you hover your mouse on the right side of the screen, you can see how to copy or embed the link you want to watch and/or share.)

The site also carries a widget where you can download clips and photos. It can be found here.

Now, in honor of TCM's upcoming "48 Hours Of Horror" marathon, beginning Thursday, October 30 and continuing through Halloween(the posted schedule of films to be shown those days can be seen here ), and because I'm a perverse son-of-a-gun, here's an embedded trailer for 1963's The Haunted Palace , starring Vincent Price and directed by Roger Corman . It's supposedly based on a work by Edgar Allan Poe , but takes only its' title (and a few lines) from one of the author's poems. (The film is actually based on H.P.Lovecraft's novella, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", a neat little shocker.) But the film, while not quite up to its source material, is still entertaining. (Price's outrageously hammy performance carries the film, especially when he's required to play two different characters!) Anyway, here's the trailer:

Happy Halloween! -Ed

The Single By R.E.M. That Came Out This Year & Should've Been A Hit!

'Nuff said! -Ed

Friday, October 24, 2008

The "New" Novel By Burroughs and Kerouac!

In August, 1944, Lucien Carr, a young Columbia University student, murdered David Kammerer, a older man who had been stalking him, due to circumstances still being debated. (Self-defense? Premeditated murder?) Somehow, as recounted here, Carr managed to involve both Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs in helping him try (unsuccessfully) to cover up the killing. (More details here .) (It should be noted that Carr was instrumental in introducing Kerouac, Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, the three principal figures of the "Beat Movement", to each other.)

(Burroughs and Kerouac.)

A year later, Burroughs & Kerouac, having (barely) escaped prison for their part in the killing, decided to collaborate on a mystery novel loosely based on the Carr-Kemmerer incident. For various reasons, the book was never published during the principals' lifetimes. Now however, as noted in this article, the novel, And The Hippos Were Broiled In Their Tanks will finally be published on November 1st. An excerpt of it can be read here . Should be interesting. -Ed

(And how did Burroughs & Kerouac come up with that bizarre title? Wikipedia explains all.)

Reading (Braille) Is Fundamental!

Some well meaning advocates for the disabled recently informed me that seeing-impaired persons really don't need to read braille books since they can just listen to them on audiocassette and/or compact disc. They meant well, but, as I'm looking into getting some braille books (novels & non-fiction)for the collection, I don't agree. And neither does William M. Raeder, former president of the National Braille Press :

Braille is the only means by which blind people can truly read the written language. It is certainly true that for easy reading materials such as novels, audio intake using the recorded human voice, or the electronically synthesized mimicking of the human voice, is not only satisfactory but sometimes preferred by blind people, just as it is by sighted people. By the same token, just as sighted people have by no means given up the written language in favor of audio only, so blind people should not be expected to give up their written language.

You can read Mr. Raeder's compelling arguement (which can also be cited for recommending reading to sighted people) further here . The NBR makes a good case too.

(A student using Braille.)


Related links: How Useful is Braille? ; Why Is Braille Important?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Ginsberg & Beat Fellows" & Gordon Ball

(Gordon Ball at the library's Meeting Room on Tuesday, October 7th.)

Beat historian, underground filmmaker and author Gordon Ball came to speak at the Greenwich Library on Tuesday night, October 7th, in the Meeting Room. Mr. Ball, who currently teaches English at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, read from his memoirs '66 Frames (1999), Dark Hill (2006) and Scenes From East Hill Farm: Seasons With Allen Ginsberg (2007), and showed a slide presentation of his program on the Beats, Ginsberg & Beat Fellows: Writings & Photographs by Gordon Ball , coincidentally the title of that night's program.

Mr. Ball read from his books about his first meeting with Ginsberg, how the poet talked him into overseeing his farm in upstate New York and how he met such Beat (and Beat-related figures) as Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Creeley , Peter Oslosky and Anne Waldman . Ginsberg had hoped the farm he bought in 1968 would be a haven for his fellow artists to "cleanse" themselves (like Corso and Oslosky, who had major chemical dependence problems) and held out the ultimately futile dream that old friend Jack Kerouac (already a full-blown alcoholic by that time)would come by for that purpose. Needless to say, that never happened.

(Gordon Ball and friends at Ginsberg's East Hill Farm, appx. 1969.)

Below is a picture from Mr. Ball's Beat Fellows presentation: a picture he took of Ginsberg and fellow Beat (and all-around scary guy) Herbert Huncke :

More of Mr. Ball's pictures can be found on his web site here . If you click on a photo, you'll see both a larger image and a description of the picture and what led up to that particular moment. (Lots of good stuff!) This picture below taken by Mr. Ball is a favorite of mine:

Mr. Ball graciously gave us a copy of his '66 Frames memoir and expressed hope that a longer version of Scenes From East Hill Farm (which he's completed) will see the light of day soon. -Ed

See also: Bill Morgan's I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg (which can be found here and Mr. Morgan's collection, The Letters of Allen Ginsberg .