Daily Archives: January 9, 2010

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within


William S. Burroughs:  A Man Within


Trailer for the film William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, a feature-length independent documentary by Chicago Director Yony Leyser, in collaboration with BulletProof Film, Inc.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Dr. William Ayers, Diane DiPrima, Donovan, Dean Ripa (the world’s largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth.

The film investigates the life of legendary beat author and American icon, William S. Burroughs. Born the heir of the Burroughs adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned their decision in 1966, ruling that the book had important social
value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. However, his friends were left wondering, did William ever find happiness? This extremely personal documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within is the first and only posthumous documentary about this legendary figure.



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Just Kids | Patti Smith


Patti Smith’s New York Love Affair:  An Excerpt From Her Memoir Just Kids


Smith looks back on her years of lean living – and artistic revolution – with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe


On July 3rd, 1967, Patti Smith — then 20 years old, a teachers-college dropout from New Jersey with shotgun passions for rock & roll and the French poet Arthur Rimbaud — boarded a bus in Philadelphia and, a couple of hours later, got off in New York to start life anew. “No one expected me,” she says in a new memoir, “Just Kids.” “Everything awaited me.” That included Robert Mapplethorpe, also 20, a former altar boy and an aspiring artist from Long Island. Smith met him that first day in New York, at an apartment in Brooklyn, and again later at a bookstore where she worked. Those encounters bloomed into one of New York’s great love stories, a romantic, spiritual and creative bond that Smith recounts in vivid detail for the first time in “Just Kids.” For five years, Smith and Mapplethorpe lived together, supported each other in illness and discovery (including his emerging homosexuality) and urged each other to new adventures in expression: Smith in her poetry, visual art and songwriting; Mapplethorpe in his stark, exquisite photography and sexually provocative portraiture. Their combined ambitions and ideals would culminate in Mapplethorpe’s iconic cover photo for Smith’s 1975 debut album, “Horses.” Smith recalls a conversation shortly before his death from AIDS in 1989: “We never had any children,” he said ruefully. Smith, by then the mother of two, replied, “Our work was our children.”
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