Time Capsule: Algren, Burroughs, Mailer, et al . . .

'The Z Collection' by Jan Herman [AC Books / NY], 2015

UPDATED: Aug. 25 -- The Z Collection is available for ordering on line. My staff of thousands insisted on a plug for me: The Z Collection: Portraits & Sketches -- my reflections on many of the writers and artists I have known, worked with, or written about -- is being published by AC Books in New York in time for the fall book season and is now listed for sale in the U.S. by Los Angeles-based RAM Books and Distribution. The title seems like a reference to “The X Files,” but I had something else in mind: the hidden “Z closet” at Harvard’s … [Read more...]

Cody Maher: ‘Another Day at the Office’

'Score' © by Norman 0. Mustill, from 'Twinpak' [Nova Broadcast Press, 1969)

So it's back to the grind, which is absurd but apparently necessary for the GDP. Here's something to chew on besides the turkey leftovers: Subject I He appeared in our office dressed in uniform. He was asking us to believe that he had ever fought for anything in his life. The uniform didn't go with the face. The jaw seemed too weak to support his pants. His chest was puffed up at expense of his shoulders. He claimed the bullet went right through him without even wrinkling his shirt. We threw him out of the office. Subject 2 She … [Read more...]

‘Killing Kit’ to Be Staged in London Try Out

First Staging: 'Killing Kit' at The Cockpit, in London, Sept. 21, 2014

Heathcote Williams's first new play in many years is to open Sept. 21 at The Cockpit, where it received a reading last February. The company advertises itself as a radical fringe "theatre of disruptive panache, angry critique and useful, progressive ideas for the future." "Killing Kit" traces "the volcanic life and mysterious death of Christopher Marlowe -- poet, playwright, and proto-punk; sworn enemy of Queen Elizabeth’s court and of her Church; a gay spy ensnared by the Tudors’s secret state, and William Shakespeare’s greatest influence." … [Read more...]

Touring ‘Poetry Army’ Charts History of Radical Verse

A Poster for 'The Poetry Army' Tour in the U.K.

A posting by the Stop the War Coalition: From The Peasants’ Revolt to recent events at Tahrir Square, this incendiary performance celebrates radical verse in all its glory down through the centuries. The longstanding collaboration between poet Heathcote Williams and performer Roy Hutchins, encompassing such hits as Whale Nation and Autogeddon, continues as Hutchins combines forces with local actors, poets, and musicians to give voice to a host of radical writers, such as Shakespeare, Shelley, Ginsberg, Blake and Pussy Riot. Here's a … [Read more...]

They Made Rabelais Look Like a Church Picnic

Otto Peterson and George Dudley

Otto Petersen and George Dudley have died. The NYT has an obit for the ventriloquist, calling him "the Voice of Vulgarity." But there is no separate obit for George, the foul-mouthed dummy who delivered all the tasteless lines that made audiences laugh or walk out. Margalit Fox, whose great lede I stole for my headline, notes: No subject was sacred, and George’s myriad observations could range over matters sexual, scatological, urological, gastroenterological, racial, bestial, theological and homicidal. None will be quoted here." So … [Read more...]

In NYC: Catching Up With Peter Schumann
and the Bread and Puppet Theater

Celebrating 50 Years of the Bread and Puppet Theater. (Click for slide show.)

Peter Schumann: The Shatterer is the first solo museum exhibition of Bread and Puppet Theater founder and director Peter Schumann. The exhibition opened in November 2013 as part of the first season in the museum’s newly expanded galleries. It marks the 50th anniversary of the theater company and introduces New York audiences to a largely unseen body of work by one of the most independent, prolific, and complex artists of our time. -- Queens Museum … [Read more...]

‘Aletheia,’ a Work-in-Progress

'Aletheia,' a chamber music theater work performed by Abbie Conant, with a score by William Osborne.

Abbie Conant performs as Aletheia. The score is by William Osborne. "Aletheia" is chamber music theater work about a musician in a dressing room preparing to perform for a gala benefit for an opera house that is taking place in the courtyard below her window. Though excited at first, she can't bring herself to go down and perform. As her sense of isolation increases, she becomes, in a sense, her own choir. Her voice splits into the harmonies of several voices that accompany her into a new level of being. -- William Osborne … [Read more...]

Gay ‘Kit’ Marlowe: Poet, Spy, Elizabethan Proto-punk

'Killing Kit,' a new play by Heathcote Williams, is about the short life and murder of Christopher Marlowe.

LATEST UPDATE: Sept. 1 -- "Killing Kit" is to be staged in a London try out. The production opens at The Cockpit on Sept. 21. FURTHER UPDATE: Feb. 15 -- The reading came off well, I'm told. Somebody in The Cockpit audience tweeted: "Beautiful, meaty, dangerous Elizabethan play for today's Elizabethans. Real writing. Great night." I've heard that Mike Figgis did some filming, and he's cooking up a video. Am awaiting further word. UPDATE BELOW: Jan. 10 -- “Killing Kit” will get a “first rehearsed reading” next month, on Feb. 12, in London … [Read more...]

From Ralph Richardson to Alan Cox in ‘Cornelius’


Any actor taking on what the savvy, longtime drama critic of The Guardian calls "a monumental leading role" expressly written for the great Ralph Richardson, is either crazy or brave -- possibly both. Which partly explains why the role hadn't been done in more than 70 years until Alan Cox brought it back to life in London last September. And now he is about to do it again Off Broadway in New York. To judge from the London reviews -- raves across the board -- the actor is both brave and sane. More than that in the revival of J.B. … [Read more...]

Playwright Sends a Letter: Tenenbom vs. The Times

First he took on the Polish government, which claims he's he denies. Now he's taking on a bigger fish -- The New York Times, which has declined to review his play. open letter to news media, Tuvia Tenenbom accuses The Times of doing "the Polish government's bidding ... by refusing to allow Times critics to review Jan T. Gross, the author of "Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland," will participate in a post-show panel discussion with the author The Triad Theater, where "Last Jew in Europe" is being produced. … [Read more...]