All things Beat
August 4, 2005 9:22 AM   Subscribe

The American Museum of Beat Art has a website with bios of some important figures of the Beat Generation and some interesting art. I liked the Joseph Ferris works. [Sadly, some of the interesting looking links do not appear to be working.]
posted by caddis (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, er -- yeah. I have doubts about that site, as much as I love the Beats. (I was Allen Ginsberg's teaching assistant at Naropa, for the record.)

For one thing, several of the links have been cannibalized -- apparently with permission -- from Levi Asher's Literary Kicks, which was not only the first Beat site on the Web, it was one of the first literary sites period. Asher deserves the kudos and the click-throughs, not this latter-day Beat Museum.

For another thing, while Jackson Pollock may have been a cool rebel and all in Beat fashion, to call him a "Beat artist" makes about as much sense as calling Pete Townshend one of the Beatles. They were alive in the same era, but the Beats were a specific group of specific people, and while Jay DeFeo and Wallace Berman were certainly in this group, Pollock was only tangentially related (i.e., he may have bent his elbow at the Cedar Bar on the same night as a Beat, but probably at different tables). Marcel Duchamp, "Beat artist"? Well OK -- but then so were William Blake and Harpo Marx.

That site also uses "Beat" and "beatnik" interchangeably, which is a little like using "gay" and "fag" interchangeably -- as I explained here on MeFi, in detail, with links. The actual Beats didn't use the term and hated it.

In other words, "all things beatnik" seems like a more accurate description, and for the real deal, go to Asher's site, or official sites like
posted by digaman at 1:21 PM on August 4, 2005

Woo-hoo, a Beat post. I've been waiting months for one so I could sneak in a project plug. See how subtle I am? This is me, sneakin'.

An associate is building a musicircus (a John Cage invention where simultaneous performances of music, poetry, theatre, dance and other arts are performed in a single space) around "On the Road" and to that end is collecting ambient sound from an extensive list of locations mentioned in the book.

I admit to not understanding this very well, but The Road Online may be of some interest to others.
posted by cedar at 2:25 PM on August 4, 2005

Wow, I didn't know Allen Ginsburg was a member of NAMBLA. Free thinking paedo. Cool.
posted by snoktruix at 6:35 PM on August 4, 2005

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