Sunday, January 30, 2005

Lucien Carr, RIP

Sometimes history is made simply by making the right introductions at the right time. And so it was for Lucien Carr boy whatzis who ambled off to New York City in the 1940’s accompanied by his tragicaly obsessed tutor Dave Kammerer. Young, handsome, wealthy,blonde, beautiful, and tasteful, Lucien in short order hooked up William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and a young Allen Ginsberg, who were then nothing but a bunch of unconnected loafers at Columbia University.
Ah but somewhere along the line this bunch had magic,louche perhaps, but sufficiently debauched to indicate the seeds of greatness. Truly, even as world war two thundered over the horizon they created the world’s first hippie commune and worked their way through the pharmacist’s desk reference when they weren’t spouting poetry.
Good times never last, Lucien for all his conviviality was desperate to escape the obsessive love of Dave Kammerer...a man who followed him through the streets of Manhattan quite literally like a puppy dog. With Jack Kerouac Carr attempted to enlist in the Merchant Marine hoping somehow to beat the US troops to Paris after D-Day. Alas a “big bastard” of a bosun’s mate ran the two of them off the ship and Carr was left high and dry in New York.
So Lucien ended up stabbing Dave Kammerer to death and enlisted Kerouac’s aid in ditching the murder weapon. Having a poetic disposition and realizing he’d dragged his crowd of sybarites into something serious, Carr confessed and did a long stretch for manslaughter. Burroughs high tailed it for Texas and the life of a gentleman farmer, Kerouac got hitched, and Ginsberg tried fruitlessly to live a straight collegiate life. Their time had not yet struck as the beat pantheon.
Still and all that, the Carr-Kammerer case had it’s artistic reprocussions, Kerouac and Burroughs would fitfull collaboate on a ultimately unfinished novel based on the murder. “And the Hippos were boiled in their tanks” was never actually published but it formed the basis for one of Kerouac’s better novels “The Vanity of Duluoz”.
Carr was eventually paroled, having gone mad like a character out of his beloved Rimbaud, he then chose a respectable life as an editor at U.P.I. And of course, last week, having buried the whole of the Beatnik Leadership, Carr died quietly after a long illness-his work in so many ways being done.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A poetical gem from Julia Moore,

aka "The Sweet Singer of Michigan" and one of America's worst and most enduring lyricists.

Lament on the Death of Willie

Willie had a purple monkey climbing on a yellow stick,
And when he sucked the paint all off it made him deathly sick;
And in his latest hours he clasped that monkey in his hand,
And bade good-bye to earth and went into a better land.

Oh! no more he'll shoot his sister with his little wooden gun;
And no more he'll twist the pussy's tail and make her yowl, for fun.
The pussy's tail now stands out straight; the gun is laid aside;
The monkey doesn't jump around since little Willie died.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Johnny Carson RIP

Never one of my favorites and nowhere near as funny as his eulogists are claiming. A mediocrity with good technique is how I think of him, one whose main competition was the need for sleep and who came along at a propitious time when the big three networks were the be all and end all. He bailed out just in time in 1992, cable was about to run amuck nationally with the internet shooting its cuffs and waiting the wings for it's glorious coup.
Still and all that, he gave plenty of qaulity air-time to secular rationalist James randi (AKA "The Amazing Randi") a magician with a mission to expose frauds and faith healers of all types. And what the hell, Johnny still felt obligated to book writers and authors on a regular basis he was hardly an illiterate.
But his world is gone now and it isn't coming back just as Jack Paar's cozy video salon so warm and solicitous of all has vanished like the wooly mammoth. No mater how hard Jay Leno and David Letterman try, they can never reach Johnny's lonely eminence because the market is fatally atomized beyond hope of repair.
But I laughed every time he did that "Carnac the Magnificent" schtick.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


delivers my morning paper today deserves a Medal of Valor for chucking the damn thing up on my doorstep before 9am this morning. This amidst what has to be the worst snowstorm in eight years. But I suppose that the delivery people are liable in gruesome ways if they falter even during inclement weather. Meanwhile, I'll have to tip a bit more on the next go round.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

A bit of poetry:

The Love Song of J. Roberto Benigni

This is a terrible mistake because I use up all my english!
How can now I express all my gratitude?
My Body is in tumult because it is a Colossal moment of Joy
Everything is in a way I cannot Express.
I would like to be Jupiter and kidnap Everybody
and lie down in the Firmament
and make love to Everybody.
I don't deserve this,
But I Hope to win some other Oscars.

Pick of the Week:

Anyone prepared to brave the snows tonight ought to get over to the Harvard Film Archive where they are screening "Red Squad" (1972) at 9:30pm. Directed by Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher "Red Squad" examines the activities of the NYPD's famous counterintelligence unit The Bureau of Special Services". Supposedly, John Ehrlichman (Richard Nixon's domestic policy czar) used to get an informal weekly briefing from these guys on the latest radical activities. Apparently the Nixon White House couldn't abide the dreck coming out from Hoover's FBI even then.
The HArvard Film Archive
at the
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
24 Quincy Street
Cambridge Ma. 02138

If I can get over to the Kendall Cinema tomorrow or Monday I'll post a review of "Guerilla: The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst" but GEEZUS ! I have got to a find a job!!!

BTW can anyone out there give me the inside scoop on the proposed "Constellation Center" in Kendall Square?
Drop me at note at or post a comment here.