Saturday, August 29, 2009
Stagg got a big surprise this week when I suddenly told him we were going to a party to celebrate William Burroughs 50th Anniversary of the publishing of Naked Lunch. Burroughs is our favourite writer and his book Naked Lunch was one of the most recent American books over which an obscenity trial was held. The novel is strangley plotless and presents in a satiric form that politics and political corruption are far more addictive than drugs. The novel seems to predict AIDS, crack pandemic and introduces us to the idea of contesting "control systems".
The party was held at Th!nk Art (sorry I can't find a link online) and featured some of William Burroughs paintings. I don't know if I can describe what an amazing evening with incredible performers and surrounded by Burroughs paintings in terms that will explain how wonderful an evening we had together. The party was also a fundraiser for a new film about Burroughs, called The Man Within. We were able to see a substantial trailer. When I watched about 15 minutes of the trailer...I got pretty choked up. I love Burroughs so much I believe he is my spiritual grandfather. I really do. And some of the footage really got to me. (I met Burroughs in 1987, and it was a huge transformative time for me). There is a lot of film that has never been seen, of Burroughs on shooting trips, making his art work and a lot of interviews with Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, and Anne Waldman. It's going to be an awesome documentary from just what we saw so far.
Guitarist Alejandro Urzagaste and Bassist Maya Jensen. These two played sets between readings and were really fantastic.
I took this pic outside with my cell phone and it's for Josh when he is talking to Peter Weller. Sorry Josh...it's getting dark outside but you can kind of see you two.
John Giorno is performing a piece about preparing William burroughs to journey to the underworld. It was really great about the things Burroughs wore and took with him. Penny Arcade looks on beside him on stage.
John Giorno and Penny Arcade
Anne Waldman and I.
Hal Willner reads across the room from Anne Waldman and Peter Weller lines from Naked Lunch.
Anne Waldman and Peter Weller reading with Hal Willner across the room.
I was like the worst craziest groupie...I couldn't get close enough to the stage of all the performers last night. What a mindblowing experience and priviledge.
As the beautiful Anne Waldman read her scarf slowly slipped off her neck and she didn't seem to notice. Waldman is a goddess, I can't say enough how pleased I was to see her read.
Peter Weller read the introduction by Norman Mailer in the edition he is holding here of Naked Lunch. Weller's readings were awesome and the perfect vehicle for Mailer's excellent essay. Mailer defended Naked Lunch with testimony at the hearing surrounding it's being banned.
Gene and his wife at the after party. We walked between parties with these two...and a performance artist dressed and look alike to Allen Ginsberg while he read us poetry.
Here we are at the after party at Stop Smiling Magazinearound 2:30 this morning.