Tag Archives: burroughs

William S. Burroughs and Gus Van Sant: The Discipline Of DE



The Discipline Of DE, a 9 minute adaptation of the short story by William S. Burroughs, was Gus Van Sant’s first film outside of film school. It was filmed around 1977. The story first appeared in Exterminator! in 1973.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

DE is a way of doing. DE simply means doing whatever you do in the easiest most relaxed way you can manage which is also the quickest and most efficient way, as you will find as you advance in DE.You can start right now tidying up your flat, moving furniture or books, washing dishes, making tea, sorting papers. Don’t fumble, jerk, grab an object. Drop cool possessive fingers onto it like a gentle old cop making a soft arrest.

(via Dangerous Minds + Technoccult)

IMDB (The Discipline of Do Easy)

More via Short of the Week


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Poet Anne Waldman and Jack Kerouac’s America

Poet Anne Waldman

April 18, 2008

via Harry Ransom Center, humanities research library and museum, UT Austin



Jack Kerouac’s America by Douglas Brinkley

April 24, 2008

via Harry Ransom Center, humanities research library and museum, UT Austin






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Cronenberg on Naked Lunch

to make a metaphor in which you compare imagination to disease is to illuminate some aspect of human imagination that perhaps has not been seen or perceived that way before. i think that imagination and creativity are completely natural and also, under certain circumstances, quite dangerous. the fact that they’re dangerous doesn’t mean they are not necessary and should be repressed.
this is something that’s very straightforwardly perceived by tyrants of every kind. the very existence of imagination means that you can posit an existence different from the one you’re living. if you are trying to create a repressive society in which people will submit to whatever you give them, then the very fact of them being able to imagine something else – not necessarily better, just different – is a threat. so even on that very simple level, imagination is dangerous. if you accept, at least to some extent, the freudian dictum that civilization is repression, then imagination – and an unrepressed creativity – is dangerous to civilization. but it’s a complex formula; imagination is also an innate part of civilization. if you destroy it, you might also destroy civilization.
we’ve become very blasé in the west about the freedom, the invulnerability of writers. we take it for granted, particularly on the level of physical safety. but look what happened to salman rushdie. and now we find that under their dictatorship, romanians had to register their typewriters as dangerous weapons! they couldn’t own photocopiers. every year you had to supply two pages of typing using all the keys so anything typed on your machine could be traced back to you. that is true fear of the power of the written word.
but even in the west, writing can be perilous. taking his cue from jean genet, burroughs says that you must allow yourself to create characters and situations that could be a danger to you in every way. even physically. he in fact insists that writing be recognized and accepted as a dangerous act. a writer must not be tempted to avoid writing the truth just because he knows that what he creates might come back to haunt him. that’s the nature of the bargain you make with your writing machine.
— david cronenberg during an interview about his film adaptation of naked lunch by william s. burroughs 


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Rock Magic by William S. Burroughs


Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page & Rock Magic by William S. Burroughs, Crawdaddy Magazine, June 1975.  Dig.

Since the word “magic” tends to cause confused thinking, I would like to say exactly what I mean by “magic” and the magical interpretation of so-called reality. 


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Brion Gysin: The Unknown Loved by the Knowns (NYT)


The artist Brion Gysin with his Dreamachine.


from The Unknown Loved by the Knowns:

“IF you want to disappear … come around for private lessons,” the artist Brion Gysin once offered in a prose poem. And during a period in Paris in the late 1950s, when he and the novelist William S. Burroughs were experimenting with crystal balls, mirrors and other contraptions of the occult, a mutual friend swore that he saw Gysin exercise the powers of dematerialization, perhaps with help from the various narcotics that always seemed to be lying around for the taking.

“Brion disappeared before my eyes, for periods of 10 or 15 or 20 minutes,” the friend, Roger Knoebber, told an interviewer.

But during a ferociously productive, wildly eclectic career in painting, writing and performance that lasted half a century, it often seemed as if Gysin, who died in poverty in 1986, had too great a facility for disappearance, at least as far as his reputation in the art world was concerned.Despite a longing for recognition, he was generally known less for his own work than for his associations with a prodigious number of more famous artists for whom he was, by turns, a teacher, friend and all-around guru: Burroughs, Paul Bowles, Max Ernst, Alice B. Toklas, Keith HaringDavid Bowie and Iggy Pop, among others.

As death approached, Gysin feared that his peripatetic life had been only an adventure, “leading nowhere” except through a procession of illustrious homes like Tangier, the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan and the poet’s bunkhouse in Paris known as the Beat Hotel,where he spent several of his most productive years. “You should hammer one nail all your life, and I didn’t do that,” he wrote in a lament cited by his biographer, John Geiger. “I hammered on a lot of nails like a xylophone.”

But now the New Museum of Contemporary Art has gathered the widely scattered pieces of Gysin’s strange, necromantic career and is working to haul him up from the underground once and for all with “Dream Machine,” the first retrospective of his art in the United States. The show, which opens July 7, will include more than 300 paintings, drawings, photo-collages and films, along with an original version of the Dreamachine, the spinning, light-emitting, trance-inducing kinetic sculpture that Gysin helped design with a computer programmer, Ian Sommerville, in 1960 that has become his most famous work. (The exhibition’s catalog includes a paper foldout and instructions to build your own Dreamachine, provided you can locate your old turntable.)

The show is the first devoted to a dead artist by the New Museum since it moved into its sleek new home on the Bowery in 2007. The institution’s programming there has generally reflected its name, showcasing recent art by those still working, many of them young. But Laura Hoptman, the museum’s senior curator and the organizer of the show, said the departure in Gysin’s case made perfect sense because his work remains largely unknown to the American public and his influence — the kind that eluded him during his lifetime — now seems to be everywhere in the contemporary art world.

“I knew about him, and then six or seven years ago it felt like I started hearing his name from everyone,” Ms. Hoptman said. “I kept trying to figure out all the ways they had arrived at Gysin.”

(Continue Reading  | via New York Times)

Brion Gysin


via my film blog by Elizabeth Sheldon



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MORE by Wayne Propst


Located in the toilet of a Lawrence bar called The Bourgeois Pig (6 E 9th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044)

Created by Wayne Propst.  Wayne was a close friend of WSB and hosted a bonfire ritual in October 1997 upon his death:


Photo by sarmoung

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I shut my eyes in order to see. – Paul Gauguin

“I’m just an artist now,” she said.

Chapman thought it might be helpful if my body were more relaxed, so I lay down on a sofa, and she put on soothing music. She flicked the machine back on as I shut my eyes. A moment later there they were, the same flashing patterns as before. After a while I became bored and my mind began to drift.

That’s when it happened.


From the article Decor by Timothy Leary, Dreams by You 

 by Mark Allen | NYT

Photo:  curtcorp | curtcorp.com

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FLicKeR (Dreamachine)

Dreamachine (installation view) via here gallery, bristol

In 1960, poet, artist, and beatnik Brion Gysin invented the Dreammachine, a hypnotic light device with the power to induce hallucinations. The Dreammachine enthralled mystics and freethinkers everywhere, with William Burroughs claiming that it could, “storm the citadels of enlightenment.”

Nik Sheehan’s riveting documentary explores the life of Brion Gysin and his quest to transform human consciousness. With interviews from some of the counter-culture’s most eccentric icons- from Iggy Pop to singer Marianne Faithfull- FLicKeR is a fascinating exploration of the age-old search for the boundaries of reality.

Watch the film via Snag Films (2008) 68 min

Watch more free documentaries

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