‘Free Spirit,’ Joshua Safran’s memoir of his nomadic childhood, starts out as a dark version of a Mark Twain story. It winds up as an inspiring tale of Jewish salvation.
Allen Ginsberg was more than just one of the great poets of the beat movement. The chronicler of a generation was quite a photographer as well, as a new exhibit proves.
“There isn’t an after party because I know pretty much everyone here,” composer David Amram announced at the end of his 80th birthday celebration at Symphony Space on November 11. “I figured that with 500 of you, plus your dates, plus the 60-piece orchestra, the rest of the performers and our families, we’d need Madison Square Garden. And it was booked.” He was exaggerating, but not much: The hall was packed with fans and well-wishers, and the concert program listed more musicians than could comfortably fit backstage at any one time — they were told to arrive in shifts.
As the ringleader of the ragtag group of professional hedonists, acid-eating Buddhists, and scribbling loners known as the Beats, Allen Ginsberg played many roles. Though Ginsberg is best known as a progenitor of 1950s and ’60s counterculture, when he whipped bookstore readings into frenzies with “Howl” and negotiated with the Hell’s Angels to ensure the safety of anti-war rallies, he was also one of its best chroniclers, both through his biography-riddled poetry and, less famously, through his photography.
Tuli Kupferberg — 86 year old beat poet, musician and activist, and famed leader of the avant-folk band The Fugs — has been on the news lately. An article on him appeared in the New York Times in late January , another piece was published here, in the Forward just last week, and Tablet carried a podcast, as well.