Tag: New York

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

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

Mambista – August 2015

Our Mambista nights are an awesome way to spend the evening – and we continue to have loads planned for the fourth Friday of each month in the warm embrace of the Portico Gallery.

We’re back on Fri 28th August and the evening kicks off again with Newton’s Salsa dance class at 7pm.

Newton BrownAt 8pm Gerry Lyseight picks up the mood with DJ duties on either side of live music from  Dorance Lorza and Sexteto Cafe – led by Columbian vibes player Dorance Lorza, Sexteto Cafe bring forward the “salsa con vibes” style of 60s New York with Colombian sabor – through until midnight.Dorance Lorza-Aug2015-1Doors: 19.00- midnight.  Salsa class 19.00-20.00hrs.  Mambista from 20.00 til midnight.Click on the PayPal button above to pay just £6, in advance or £8 on the door (both prices include the salsa dance class).FB: Mambista   Twitter: mambista1The Portico Gallery, 23a Knight’s Hill, West Norwood, SE27 0HS.  Tel: 020 8761 7612