Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sleepless Film Festival Presents - Close Your Eyes: The William S. Burroughs Film Archive Part I

Hustlers of the world,
there is one Mark you cannot beat:
the Mark inside.

-William S. Burroughs

Hola Chicas y Muchachos,

I have always enjoyed being able to include photos and other images in this blog. Along with hyper-links, these features take this publication passed the limits of cyber-doc to multi-media sinsation (not misspelled >:) ).

In addition to other new features coming to this site - in celebration of the pending release of the new CD Blue Turns Black - I am happy to announce the first of several upcoming film festivals that will be taking place right here at Insomnia.

Sleepless Film Festival

Internet video hosting sites make it possible for the discerning cinephage (eater of images, see Godard)
to curate any number of interesting collections, creating unique viewing experiences for weary travelers, horny monks, spent lovers and snipers suffering through a bad season of pink-eye.

I have plans for many such moving explorations of moving images in the near future, and am happy to present Close Your Eyes: The William S. Burroughs Film Archive Part I.

These films and documentary programs have been scavenged at various online locations including YouTube, Google Video and Altertube among others. I thank the users on these sites for their good taste and generosity. Their efforts have made this presentation possible.

Due to the plethora of WSB material available online, I plan for L'Hombre Invisible to be making several appearances as we progress through these festivals, hence the titular numerical reference.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Patch (CC)

From Wikipedia:

William Seward Burroughs II (February 5, 1914(1914-02-05) — August 2, 1997; pronounced /ˈbʌroʊz/), more commonly known as William Burroughs or as William S. Burroughs from the late 1980s was an American novelist, philosopher, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer. Much of Burroughs' work is semi-autobiographical, drawn from his experiences as an opiate addict, a condition that marked the last fifty years of his life. A primary member of the Beat Generation, he was an avant-garde author who affected popular culture as well as literature. In 1984, he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Burroughs is arguably the best satirical writer America has produced (his good pal Terry Southern not withstanding). He is also the most important post-Beat aesthetic philosopher, pioneering numerous explorations at the crossroads of occult ritual and artistic expression, arguing for magical utility at the bedrock of creative work.

Arena: William S.Burroughs

This BBC doc was produced for the Arena program in 1983. It features many of the usual Beat subjects. Although it is an earlier film, the Arena program is a very good one: funny and entertaining, erudite and engaging.

Highlights include WSB's appearance on SNL, a walking tour of the St. Louis of his childhood, and an awkward conversation between Burroughs and his brother, Mortimer, who bailed Burroughs out of a Mexican jail after William shot and killed his wife, playing a William Tell game at a cocktail party.

Naked Lunch

I gave up writing when I was ten,
too dangerous...

- Peter Weller as WSB in Naked Lunch

David Cronenberg's superb adaptation of the "unfilmable" novel triumphs not by preserving Lunch's content, but by honoring its structure: a tightrope walk between a personal diary and a heroin addict's hallucinatory netherworld.

Listen for Ornette Coleman's saxophone in Howard Shore's suberb score, and keep your eyes peeled for the late, great Roy Scheider as the infamous Dr. Benway!

Bill and Tony

Part of a collaboration that added filmmaker Anthony Balch to the dynamic duo of WSB and Brion Gysin, Bill and Tony was made in '72 after the trio had completed the other Cut Ups and Towers Open Fire.

These films will be included in future installments of Close Your Eyes.

A humorous collage of image and audio, listen for the reference to "the Pre-Clear." This seems to be a Scientology reference (WSB was exploring it at the time) that is followed by what may be detailed - if obtuse - instructions for traveling out-of -body, a la L. Ron Hubbard.

Be humble in your sleepy hands on this world.
Be a killer in Heaven.

Joe Nolan

Listen to Joe's music here!

Help to support this site! Buy Joe's Music! ...

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Anonymous GBarr said...

don't you feel like you are your own "sleepless film festival"?

6:19 AM  

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