Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Feast Film — Howl & open mic poetry , Sat 21th November

November 21, 2015 @ 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm


Dir­ec­ted by: Rob Epstein & Jef­frey Fried­man
Graph­ics: award win­ning New York designer Eric Drooker
Star­ring: James Franco & Jon Hamm
Offi­cial Selec­tion at Sund­ance and Lon­don Film Festivals.

The poem that rocked a gen­er­a­tion
The obscen­ity trial that star­ted a revolution”

Dir­ec­ted by lead­ing film­makers Rob Epstein and Jef­frey Fried­man – and bril­liantly part-animated by Eric Drooker, the vis­ion­ary former street artist respons­ible for some of the most bril­liant New Yorker cov­ers of recent dec­ades – Howl (released in 2010, thir­teen years after Allen Ginsberg’s death) tells the story of the gen­esis of the Beats in the 1940s; the cre­ation, in the early 1950s, of the most import­ant (and sys­tem­at­ic­ally icon­o­clastic) Amer­ican poem of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury; and the abso­lute cliff-hanger of a land­mark obscen­ity trial that fol­lowed its publication.

With all the fero­city of an Old Test­a­ment prophet, Gins­berg – a per­man­ently thought­ful young man from Pater­son, New Jer­sey, and, in his own way, a bit of a nebbish, as Woody Allen might have said – fought back against an age of anxi­ety and crush­ing con­form­ity, shat­ter­ing almost every poetic con­ven­tion in order to cre­ate the totally new type of verse – sham­an­istic and incantat­ory, jazz-inflected and drug-addicted, unashamedly sexu­ally expli­cit, vis­ibly haunted by mad­ness – with which he wanted to register his pro­found oppos­i­tion to the insti­tu­tional insan­ity and social stul­ti­fic­a­tion he saw all around him in Eisenhower’s Amer­ica – an Amer­ica of polit­ical witch tri­als, racial segreg­a­tion, and mind­less pre­par­a­tion for Armaged­don. Howl, first read in pub­lic at San Francisco’s Six Gal­lery on 7 Octo­ber 1955, turned out in the end to be the lit­er­ary equi­val­ent of a city-busting hydro­gen bomb. It changed the land­scape of poetic lan­guage forever.

This superbly edited and beau­ti­fully paced movie holds three ele­ments in per­fect equi­lib­rium – the lives of the Beats (‘just a bunch of guys,’ in Ginsberg’s words, ‘try­ing to get pub­lished’), the courtroom drama (Ginsberg’s pub­lisher, Lawrence Fer­linghetti, was facing pro­fes­sional and per­sonal ruin), and the anim­a­tion, in which Eric Drooker, backed by a team of tech­nical wiz­ards, gives a sort of ‘second voice’ to the poem, prob­ing a Dantean under­world of wak­ing night­mares and des­ol­ate dreams. It’s one big walk on the wild side in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge and fully deserves every accol­ade – there have been many – that it’s earned.

So … all you ‘skinny legions’ – quot­ing from Part III of Howl here – ‘run out­side’ on 21 Novem­ber, down to the West Nor­wood Feast Films Night at the Por­tico Gal­lery, where local people will be doing a lot of work to bring you not just a cel­eb­ra­tion of a won­der­ful writer from another time and place but also a trib­ute of sorts – a ‘Stand Up & Spout’ open-mic ses­sion, after the screen­ing, where YOU TOO can throw your­self into the deep end of poetry by read­ing a poem of your choice in pub­lic. By read­ing a poem that DOES IT for you. Don’t be shy – Allen was a bit of wall­flower in his youth, but when he had some­thing to say, he really SAID IT!

O vic­tory for­get your under­wear we’re free’

7.30pm Doors
8.00pm Screen­ing
9.30pm Stand Up & Spout – open-mic. spoken word.

The Por­tico Gal­lery
23a Knight’s Hill
West Nor­wood
SE27 0HS


November 21, 2015
7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, , , , , , ,


Portico Gallery
23a Knights Hill
London, SE27 0HS United Kingdom
+ Google Map