Tag Archives: beats

(Brief) Intro to The Beat Generation #video

A rollicking rapid-fire, mixed-media introduction to The Beat Generation – made especially for youth (specifically, a 11th grade lit class at a DoD base school) – with topics including:

  • what made The Beats, the beats (ergo: time, place, circumstance, intentions, global mindset, searching for “holy”)
  • characteristics of style (freeverse, spontaneous prose, collaboration, diversity, art + craft + integrity)
  • notable writers and characters including: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • roots and branches extending from the Beats like: Merry Pranksters, folkies, hippies, yippies, punks, DIY and even “digital nomads”
  • riffs about censorship, “obscenity” trials, sexuality, religiosity
  • call to action about the importance everyone with something to say “saying it” – including YOU
  • plus more notable writers: Gregory Corso, Richard Brautigan, Ruth Weiss, Diane DiParma & currently working Ron Whitehead and Anne Waldman
  • namechecks and cameos for: The Clash, Tom Waits, Jello Biafra, Ken Kesey, Wang Ping, Masa Uehara, Nanao Sakaki many more…

Presented from a historic barn in provincial Japan with vinyl records, artifacts, ephemera, loads of books, postcards etc – by storymaker Dave Olson who invites you to ask questions via postcard (address included within).

Continue reading (Brief) Intro to The Beat Generation #video

Notes: Ken Babbs’ “Cronies” book + chapbook & Doug Peacock

Ken Babbs’ chapbook “We Were Arrested” a preview of “Cronies”

Here’s a hilarious fresh, sharp interview with Merry Prankster/Marine vet/farmer/writer and *the* Intrepid Traveler Ken Babbs talking about his new book “Cronies, a Burlesque” with basketballer/Deadhead Bill Walton (dialed up to 11 as usual) on a Powell’s (Portland) Book Store show with a cute young host holding on for the ride.

{Sorta continuation from my “hero dossier / meet the beats” video a while back with namechecks & stories with Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Grateful Dead, Merry Pranksters on Furthur bus, Acid Tests etc et al & more#plug #notaplug.}

Note: I bought from Tsunami Books/Press in the “super early support pre-release” to score a signed copy… but the shipping to Japan is rather expensive, so I get stuff sent to a friend in Olympia who is/was planning to visit – I’ve sent so many books to him (I did a lot of support of the Beat Museum and Ken Sanders Rare Books during the pandemic that I’ve amassed a small medium-sized library at his house – so eventually will ask him (and another friend in Pacifica, CA) to send out via M-bag if the borders remain closed for another year or so. This is just a long way of saying “no I haven’t actually read the book but eventually I will“.

Aside: I’m just finishing up a literary critical biography of Hunter Thompson (David S Wills’ “High White Notes”), and a series called “Letters of Note“ which is compiled by Shaun Usher (beautifully in a hardback book) interesting correspondence from throughout history. [more: books recently] and its companion “Lists of Note”.

Update: Tuns out, I have *sort of* read (some of) it as, whilst going through my bookshelf to freshen up the bedside stock, I found an advance copy chapbook called “We Were Arrested” with one of the chapters, printed on hemp paper(!) and signed to me from Mr. Babbs himself along with a doodle of his face.

For Dave {insert face sketch} Ken Babbs – thanks past-Dave for ordering this

Was made by Tsunami Books/Press to generate interest/attention for the now finished book. It’s about Babbs (Intrepid Traveler), Kesey, Cassady, George Walker and others starting the Acid Tests, formation of the Warlocks>Grateful Dead and (obviously) getting arrested. It was really nice little artifact and journey that led me to finding it.

Continue reading Notes: Ken Babbs’ “Cronies” book + chapbook & Doug Peacock

Beat film, narrated by JK, “unadulterated half-hour chunk of Pull My Daisy”

Sure, you could experience the Beat sensibility on film by watching The Beat Generation. But why settle for that high-gloss Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature treatment when you can get an unadulterated half-hour chunk of the real thing above, in Pull My Daisy? Both films came out in 1959, but only the latter comes from the lens of photographer Robert Frank, he of the famous photobook The Americans. And only the latter features the unconventional performing talents of Allen GinsbergDavid Amram,Delphine Seyrig, and Jack Kerouac.

That Kerouac himself provides all the narration assures us we’re watching a movie fully committed to the Beat mindset. “Early morning in the universe,” he says to set the opening scene. “The wife is gettin’ up, openin’ up the windows, in this loft that’s in the Bowery of the Lower East Side of New York. She’s a painter, and her husband’s a railroad brakeman, and he’s comin’ home in a couple hours, about five hours, from the local.”

Kerouac’s ambling words seem at first like one improvisational element of many. In fact, they provided the production’s only element of improvisation: Frank and company took pains to light, shoot, script, and rehearse with great deliberateness, albeit the kind of deliberateness meant to create the impression of thrown-together, ramshackle spontaneity. But if the kind of careful craft that made Pull My Daisy seems not to fit within the anarchic subcultural collective persona of the Beats, surely the premises of its story and the consequences thereof do. The aforementioned brakeman brings a bishop home for dinner, but his exuberantly low-living buddies decide they want in on the fun. Or if there’s no fun to be had, then, in keeping with what we might identify as Beat principles, they’ll create some of their own. Or at least they’ll create a disturbance, and where could a Beat possibly draw the line between disturbance and fun?

Hitch a Thousand Miles to See a Friend – Postcard #56

Pod cover - Postcards - Hitchhike 1000 miles

From Halfmoon Bay on Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island, Dave gives it up for zen poet hero Gary Snyder and recounts beat history from The Old Ways and logging culture from Myths and Texts plus poems about hitchhiking, girls, baths, clear-cuts and the Buddha – then finishes with original freeverse poetry about the transient experience called “Railyards Passing By.”

Hit the road to Hitch a Thousand Miles to See a Friend – Postcard #56 (128k mp3, 29:04, 26MB)

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Banjo Sea Shanties and Beat Train Rambles – Postcard #51

Banjo Sea Shanties and Beat Train Rambles

Starting at the Steamboat Island Woodshed, Dave rambles salty original freeverse with Wm. Lenker on banjo and traces personal poetic lineage winding through French impressionalist/symbolist and Brittany sea-coaster Tristan Corbière (prefaced by Victor Hugo).

Then – as sleet, slush and hail beats down on the Mosquito Creek studio skylight – rolls into the beat American 50s and 60s with John Sinclair‘s chronicle Brilliant Corners, Jack Kerouac riding trains from Atop an Underwood, and Gary Snyder arriving from sea from The Backcountry ~ fortified with jazz, joints and hot sake.

Hunker down for: Banjo Sea Shanties and Beat Train Rambles – Postcard #51 (28:10, 23MB, 112k mp3)

Continue reading Banjo Sea Shanties and Beat Train Rambles – Postcard #51