Intellectual Curiosities and Provocations

Beat News: February 7 1996

By Levi Asher on Wednesday, February 7, 1996 12:48 pm
1. If anybody can make it to downtown New York on February 14 (Valentine's Day), my wife Meg and I are arranging a fiction/poetry reading featuring writers who write on the Web. It's at Biblio's, a bookstore/cafe at 317 Church St. (just south of Canal) from 8 to 10 pm. Here's the full list of participants:

Please come! It's free, Biblio's has good coffee, and it should all be a lot of fun.

2. Here are two brief excursions into the meaning of Allen Ginsberg in the universe. One is a fairly angry parody of 'Howl' written by Karney Hatch that expresses how many people (myself included, sometimes) feel when Beat poets try too hard to succeed in the world of mainstream literary academia and commercial publishing. The other link is a small positive note, a few wise words by Ginsberg that are a part of Deadhead-chronicler-extraordinaire (and HotWired editor) Steve Silberman's Digaland web page.

3. Voyager is releasing a new CD-Rom, "The Beat Experience." Unlike the informative, no-nonsense recent Kerouac CD-Rom (which I wrote about below), this is a totally experimental freeform production. It's laid out in the form of a "Beat Pad" where everything is clickable. The best news is that one of the contributing artists is Gary Panter, who was responsible for the excellent visuals on the horribly unappreciated "Pee Wee Herman Show" several years back. Yes, a direct connection now exists between Pee Wee Herman and the Beats -- I'd always felt there had to be one.

The project will benefit the Red Hot Organization, which has previously made several good compilation CD's (like NO ALTERNATIVE) to fund their AIDS relief work. However, I doubt they'll earn as much from this CD-ROM, since it sticks to the archaic practice of charging an unrealistic price -- $39.99 -- for a product that should cost no more than a music CD. Why do companies like Voyager make their products so expensive? I don't wanna hear any bullshit about "recouping huge multimedia costs" -- hey, playing with a Mac is fun, and it's not that hard. Until literary/artsy CD-Rom's are available at humane prices, they will remain what they are now -- not works for the people, but trinkets for the wealthy.

Enough editorializing. See you at Biblio's?


This article is part of the Beat News series. The next post in the series is Beat News: March 15 1996. The previous post in the series is Beat News: January 16 1996.


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