Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dining with Bill Burroughs at the Circle Nine Cafe

The Boys in the Band

Well, today we might as well party like it's 2099: it's the anniversary of Beat prophet, poet, huckster and general gad-about-town, big Bill Burroughs. For those looking for the gory details, The Biography Project is happy to oblige.

For the real, nitty-gritty goods, check out this fantastic full length documentary (129 minutes), entitled simply Burroughs, directed by Howard Brookner in 1983. Worth your time, you ask? The NY Times review would be a big fat yessir. Simply put, it's great.

Burroughs (1983)

In line with all this magnanimous goodness (well, ok, badness, for the Crowley inclined), there is more to explore in the nest of sites around the Burroughs-themed Interzone.

And, finally, though it might be a chilling, Tibetan Book of the Dead full-bore fear method of dying, you could do worse than listen to the dulcet hypnogogic droning of William Burroughs audio at the Internet Archive on your stroll down that white light tunnel to a rebirth of decidedly questionable resonance.

Or not. But, really, ya gotta love a huckster, especially when the stakes of that shell game are a might steeper than a cup-a-joe at Dante's Circle Nine Cafe and Entomologic Parlor of Elusive Delight.



Charles Gramlich said...

I've read some Burroughs and found it interesting, if not exactly compelling. But I've got some more stuff at home. I should read more

Ed Baker said...

wanna get "into" Burroughs"

go also to and read some Huncke! William S. "Bill" Burroughs' friend..

W.S.B. wrote a neat, short forward to

The Herbert Huncke

and, Burroughs' JUNKY

Anonymous said...


There were six phrases from Burrough's novels I always remembered - but tonight I can only remember five! They are "Cold Shot", "Canned Heat", "White Lightning", "Steely Dan" and "Heavy Metal". There are others that wound there way into our linguistic culture . . . but people seldom remember they came from Burroughs. An interesting writer, though not for everyone. The books I go back to more than others are "Junky", "The Yage Letters" and of course "Naked Lunch", though it's been a few seasons since I've visited them. The movie "Naked Lunch" is quite interesting, particularly if one is familiar with "Exterminator". I'll have to check out your links - thanks!


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles and Ed, I'm loving this full length documentary, lots of interesting stuff ... Huncke I haven't gotten into yet ...

Jeffrey, when I think about Burroughs besides "cut-ups" I think of "word virus", though I don't think it's original with him. I am a fan of the movie of Naked Lunch also ... Buckaroo Banzai/Robocop as "Bull" ... that's about right.


Anonymous said...

The Herbert Huncke IS a good place to start;

lots of HH's short pieces

he was the "heart and soul" of BEAT... he coined the term.

here is opening of his


SITTING IN THE Forty-second Street Bickford's restaurant drinking coffee and talking with a character known as Johnie Pimples - a young cat- (etc)"

notice not "talking to" but, rather "with"

and, ohhh, his writing styl use of the dash

do read his "Song of Self"

and, if you can find it "Elsie John"

I seem to recall that Charlie and Pam Plymell
published some of Huncke


Anonymous said...

The Herbert Huncke Reader

(I forgot the "Reader")

Quill, 1997 published this..

a neat John Wieners poem (1066) opens 'things"

OHHH and there is something out of Irving Rosenthal's "Sheeper"

which is (also) in among my "BEAT" 'stash')

-K- said...

It's really amazing to be able to watch the whole thing (as I just did) on the Internet.

I've just never understood the appeal to his writing however. It's a little humorous and a little shocking and I certainly don't disagree with his politics but after less than twn minutes of reading or listening to him, I'm bored.