Born on this day, Allen Ginsberg was a highly influential American poet, writer, and activist. Leader of The Beats, he lived at the Chelsea Hotel during the 50’s along with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, and was good friends with Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Virgil Thomson, Shirley Clarke, and Arthur Miller.
While doing research for my book, I came across a fun Ginsberg anecdote:
Ginsberg attended a showing of Barbara Rubin’s film ‘Christmas on Earth’, (a title she changed from ‘Cocks and Cunts’ to broaden its commercial appeal). Called a ‘performance art film about genital worship’, the movie was made up of 2 separate black and white reels projected simultaneously, with one inside the other. Colour filters were manually placed over the projector lenses. The soundtrack was the radio which she tuned live, turning the dial, tuning in and out. Then masked performers engaged in sex acts in front of the screen.
Sat in the front row, Allen was utterly riveted by the shocking turpitude. As soon as it finished, Ginsberg, who usually preferred the company of men, asked Barbara to go out with him!
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