Sunday, October 24, 2010


there's something about this time of year, that makes the number of miles davis songs played on my ipod increase. with "autumn leaves" creating an internal soundtrack in my head, my mind is allowed to wander. as i listen to the extended trumpet riffs, my mind pictures, dark, smokey coffee houses, poetry, and eventually the beatnik culture.

with this mood already set, you can imagine how thrilled i was when i heard of the several "beatnik" activities that took place last week. first of all, newman university, had a gallery showcasing kansas's own beat experience. in coordination with the exhibit, they also held a reading of poems by allen ginsberg. topping off this beat week the movie, "william s. burroughs: a man within" was featured in wichita's tallgrass film festival.

attending these three events made me realize two things. first of all, the romantic, idealized, hollywood-esque image of the beatnik culture i had in my head a few years ago, is diminishing rapidly. it goes far deeper and darker then the beret-wearing-goatee sporting-maynard-g-kreb-types, i had once pictured. reading kerouac had given me a better description of what it really was, but discovering more about ginseberg and burroughs took it to a whole other level. secondly, i was amazed to found out how much kansas played in this sub-culture. not only did burroughs spend the last years of his life here, but one of ginsberg's most famous poems is entitled "wichita vortex sutra" an anti war poem heavily laced with city references and counter-culture feelings.

i feel like i've taken way too big of bite from the beatnik buffet this weekend. looking into the meaning ginsberg's poem, and visualizing the places he mentions, has me exhausting the internet for as much information as i can find. expect another blog on this subject later. for now, i'll crank up "so what" and see what wikipedia knows.

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