Thursday, February 22, 2018

Curation #8 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg

Front cover


Rear cover

Curation item #8 from my Kerouac bookshelf is a 2-DVD set titled, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg. It's a documentary film by Jerry Aronson, Academy Award-nominated director who accumulated over 120 hours of film on Ginsberg over 25 years. This was a birthday present from the California Dales (my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson) a couple of years ago -- I can tell because I wisely taped the gift card to the front of the case.

Disc One contains an 84-minute feature and 13 extras, including a "making of" featurette, interviews, and 2 photo galleries (Ginsberg's and the director's). Disc Two contains 29 interviews (from William S. Burroughs to Patti Smith to Bono to Hunter S. Thompson) and excerpts from the May 19, 1998 memorial at St. John the Divine in NYC.

The kids knew to get me this because it was on my Amazon Wish List. I wanted it primarily to show in my Kerouac class at the University of Maine at Farmington. If memory serves, I never got around to using it in class, and, thus -- believe it or not -- I have not watched much of it. That would take over 7 hours! That's just the run time of the video sections and doesn't account for how long one might linger on the two photo galleries.

Hence, I can't really comment on the content, but suffice to say that the set received great reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone and Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe. I'm certain it's worth my time given Ginsberg's literary and cultural contributions -- I just have to schedule it in. Being retired, I have little excuse, right?

Below is a picture of the top shelf of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of my Ginsberg DVDs (4th item in the pile) on the day I started curating my collection.

The top of my Kerouac bookshelf

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