Hans Walgenbach Has Art Yen for Cold Turkey

From Cold Turkey Press Exhibition [Walgenbach Books & Art, Rotterdam]

Cold Turkey Press is een legendarische Rotterdamse underground uitgeverij die van 1970 tot 1976 actief was. Gerard Bellaart, beeldende kunstenaar en initiatiefnemer, hervatte het fonds in 2006 met publicaties van oa Ira Cohen, William S. Burroughs, Heathcote Williams, Samuel Beckett, Sinclair Beiles, Jean Arp, Antonin Artaud, Kurt Schwitters, Ed Sanders, Ezra Pound en Gerard Bellaart zelf, die tevens verantwoordelijk is voor de beeldende kwaliteit van alle verschenen edities. " … [Read more...]

A Woman’s Point of View from a Tough-Guy Novelist

Nelson Algren, 1962 [Photo: Steve Deutch]

There was no chance to note Nelson Algren's birthday two days ago. As Doug Ramsey has pointed out ArtsJournal was taken down by hacker bots. But now that we're back, herewith a belated blogpost to celebrate a novelist who had a reputation as a tough guy but who wrote with deep sensitivity about women. Show me a passage equal to the one about Sophie, who is doing "tenement time," which he recorded for a 1963 release on vinyl by Lynne and Harry Schwartz, beautifully produced I should add. It is part of their Calliope Author Readings (Great … [Read more...]

In a Light Mood: ‘No Severed Bodies or Bloody Stumps’

'The Condition,' a new postcard from Cold Turkey Press [2014]

The front of this hallucinatory postcard, published by Cold Turkey Press in a limited edition of 36 copies, shows a collage by the late Norman Ogue Mustill. It is "Mustill in a light sorta mood, or so he thought," I wrote Ben Schot, Cold Turkey's distributor. "Light for him, anyway: no severed bodies or bloody stumps. He did not always ream out the human race. He had a feel for the vulnerability of pop culture, which he liked to satirize." When Cold Turkey's artist-publisher Gerard Bellaart asked for a paragraph to go with Mustill's collage, I … [Read more...]

‘Eating the Rich and Famous, or Celebrity Roadkill’

'Eating the Rich' by Heathcote Williams [Cold Turkey Press, 2014]

"Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor." -- Thomas Jefferson, from his letters Words by Heathcote Williams. Montage and narration by Alan Cox. "I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that … [Read more...]

‘America: How It Works’ by Heathcote Williams

The fierce dissidence of Williams's polemical poetry is as radical as Shelley’s. "America: How It Works" bears witness to the monster within "the most dangerous country in world history." Words by Heathcote Williams. Narration and montage by Alan Cox. The business of America is business, And it's number one business is war. It uses Hollywood to peddle its values To turn the world into its whore. But few of its citizens have the guts to say boo. Otherwise they'd be refusing to pay taxes. So, like their own media, they back war … [Read more...]

Charley Plymell Tells and Shows in Strings of Emails

Poster for a recent appearance.

Charley Plymell's long, seemingly endless strings of emails are fascinating to read. He has known so many Beat writers and artists and has popped up in so many places with them that I can't help thinking of him -- half in wonder and half in disbelief -- as the Zelig of the Beat Generation. Unlike Zelig, however, he has actual evidence to support his many, many tales. There he is in snowy Cherry Valley, for example, displaying a painting by William Burroughs that Burroughs once gave him and his wife Pam. "We sold it over phone ... 3 grand," he … [Read more...]

SOS: An American Poet Is Waiting to Be Rescued

Somali Piracy Threat Map

Cody Maher, expat American poet and world traveler living in Heidelberg, writes in an email message that he was sitting around "watching countries go to the dogs feeding the people nothing but lies" when it occurred to him that "the only safe place one day might be international waters." This must have been before the Somali pirates stuck their noses in, but his poem makes more sense today than ever. INTERNATIONAL WATERS I wanted to run away to a country Where people weren't running to get out I arrived at one country And I was … [Read more...]

‘Burroughs in London’ by Heathcote Williams

Transatlantic Review 14

Now that the Burroughs centenary has moved into high gear -- marked by a massive new biography, a lecture series, a remastered movie, all kinds of performances, an art exhibition (more than one, actually), and what have you (including a major conference in Indiana, of all places, and an academic gathering planned for April in New York) -- it suddenly dawned on Heathcote Williams that he'd known the man on and off for more than half a century. 
I first met William Burroughs in 1963. I was working for the now-defunct literary magazine … [Read more...]

Two New Poster Cards from Cold Turkey Press

'An Iron Fish Rusts' by Malcolm Ritchie [Cold Turkey Press, 2014]

An Iron Fish Rusts up in the hills at this age now even my stick takes a rest * on a tarmac a single stone like aloneness * in the glen the silence of an echo waiting for sound * in the empty sky a crow crows the empty sound of a crow According to Dr. Philip Masonbar, noted pathologist and jetset raconteur, The Condition was originally described in 1895 by Sir Arthur Blonk. As an afterthought, Blonk said: "Going to decimate San Francisco? Then you must withhold the admission, or prepare to lay aside through strict … [Read more...]

When Excessive Rudeness Pays Off

Illustration by Claire Palmer

Something worth remembering ... The Buddha and the Pork Chop Apparently the Buddha met his end Thanks to an excessive degree of politeness. Though he was vegetarian, someone prepared him a meal And the Buddha felt obliged to eat what he’d been offered. Due to its being a bad pork chop, the Buddha died. Clearly Buddhists keen to follow the Buddha’s example But reluctant to share in his hapless fate Should be ruder – ‘Don’t you know what happens to people Who push shit to aspiring Buddhas? They get reincarnated As used … [Read more...]

Cody Maher: ‘Nightmare Entering the Country’

Border security is so much in the news these days that my staff of thousands was desperate for comic relief. Then this scenario came over the transom from Cody Maher. Bingo! A vaudevillian routine with foreign-born American security agents Passport ... yes I see, you away a long time, where you go? where I go? yes, where you go? you mean where have I been yeah, where you been? I been away away what? no, away where away what away where what's the difference, you back, what you doing back? I was born here you want a medal, Joey, … [Read more...]

You Are There: Where Burroughs Once Lived in Mexico City

Cerrada de Medellin 37 (pan)

Continuing my immersion in Call Me Burroughs: A Life, the new biography by Barry Miles, I'm still marveling at the level of detail it offers. One small example: In a section called "Down Mexico Way," Miles writes that by the summer of 1950, ... Bill and Joan [Vollmer, his common-law wife] were living at Cerrada de Medellin 37, a third-floor flat at the rear of a run-down white apartment building in a small dead-end passage in Colonia Roma, behind the Sears Roebuck building. Jack [Kerouac] and Neal [Cassady] rented a cheap two-bedroom … [Read more...]

Centennial Conference on Life & Myth of William Burroughs

CLICK FOR CONFERENCE DETAILS.

William S. Burroughs was born 100 years ago today. A centennial conference will be held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as part of a month-long WSB@100 Festival in April. The conference, sponsored by The Center for Humanities, "will explore the life and myth of one of the most innovative and influential twentieth-century American writers and artists." [You can expect] a series of talks and roundtables by editors, artists, and scholars on a range of issues from the problem of gender in Burroughs' work to his role in … [Read more...]