The early-to-middle 1970's were good years for alternative culture in America. The antiwar movement of the 60's proved itself wiser and more resilient than the pro-war military establishment, and by 1974 America was fully out of Vietnam and President Nixon was hounded into resignation. This same year, Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman created the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
1. A reliable source just whispered (can you whisper via e-mail?) the name Johnny Depp to me, referring to the casting of the still-mysterious Coppola film of "On The Road" (see below.) I don't know which part Depp is being considered for, Sal Paradise or Dean Moriarty, but I think he'd be a good Sal. He had a sort-of lonely/lost quality in 'Edward Scissorhands' that I think would fit well with the part. I hope they don't do anything dumb like cast him as Dean.
(Tim Bowden (email@example.com) is the founder of Nerdnosh, a really cool storytelling community that meets in various places along the side roads of cyberspace. He met Carolyn Cassady a few years after the death of Carolyn's husband, the legendary Neal. I asked Tim to put his memories into words, and here's what he sent me. -- Levi Asher)
"I can look at the knot in a piece of wood until it frightens me"
-- William Blake
Anne Waldman, born in Millville, New Jersey on April 2, 1945, became a part of the East Village poetry scene in the late 60's. She ran the St. Mark's Church Poetry Project, and gave exuberant, highly physical readings of her own work.
She became a Buddhist, worshiping with the Tibetan Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who would also become Allen Ginsberg's guru. She and Ginsberg worked together to create a poetry school, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, at Trungpa's Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
Anne Waldman is one of the most distinctive and confident poets among the latter-day Beat community. Her confluence of Buddhist concerns and thought-paths with sources of physicality and anger is particularly impressive.
Diane di Prima was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 6, 1934, a second generation American of Italian descent. She began writing at the age of seven, and made the decision to live her life as a poet at the age of fourteen.
Ben Gallitz (firstname.lastname@example.org) has sent me info about a new Ginsberg film biography, "The Life And Times of Allen Ginsberg." The director is Jerry Aronson, and I'm not clear on whether this is a straight-to-video release or not. A review in the Washington Post criticized the film as too tame. I'll let you know more after I either see it or hear from someone who has.