Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1959 publication of William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch Home About Contact RSS Updates Press  

New York

Homage to William Burroughs and Naked Lunch 1959–2009
7 to 10 October, 2009, New York

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Naked Lunch, there will be a series of celebratory events in New York in October 2009 to complement those occuring in Paris in July 2009. There will be exhibitions, films, discussions, readings, and maybe even turnstyle vaulting at Washington Square Station. Watch this page for further details…

12 September – 31 October 2009 — Stellan Holm Gallery

Stellan Holm Gallery will present The Sky Is Thin As Paper Here, an exhibit of paintings, works on paper, and “shotgun” paintings by William S. Burroughs. The gallery is located at 524 West 24th Street in New York. You can read the exhibition press release or find more information at stellanholm.com.

7 October 2009 — The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church

Naked Lunch at 50 at the Poetry Project

At 8:00 PM on Wednesday, 7 October, the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church will host the inaugural event of the New York homage to Naked Lunch. The night will begin with an excerpt from Andre Perkowski’s brilliant montage film of Nova Express, continue with a group reading of Naked Lunch, lead into a break with Kate Simon’s photographs of Burroughs, and culminate with further readings from Naked Lunch. Participants include:

  • Eric Andersen, singer and songwriter. After emerging from Greenwich Village’s folk scene in the early 1960s, Andersen went on to issue more than 25 albums including Beat Avenue (2003), whose 26-minute title track was a jazzy poem relating his experiences among San Francisco’s beat community of artists on the day of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
  • John Giorno, poet and performance artist. He is the author of ten books, including You Got to Burn to Shine, Cancer in my Left Ball, Grasping at Emptiness, Suicide Sutra, and has produced 59 LPs, CDs, tapes, cassettes, videopaks and DVDs for Giorno Poetry Systems.
  • Jan Herman, writer and publisher. He edited the San Francisco Earthquake, a little magazine of the 1960s, and founded the Nova Broadcast Press, which published Beat, post-Beat and Fluxus writers, including William Burroughs. He cowrote Cut Up or Shut Up with Carl Weissner and Jürgen Ploog, collaborated with Burroughs and Antony Balch on a video, and edited Brion Gysin Let the Mice In. A former journalist, he is also the author of A Talent for Trouble, the biography of Hollywood director William Wyler.
  • Stewart Meyer, writer. He met William Burroughs in 1973 in his Creative Reading course at City. Eleven years of excellent criticism followed before The Lotus Crew (Grove Press 1984, Serpents Tail 1996) was presented to Grove. Meyer is currently completing Memory Chips & Reconstituted Pebbles, a memoir of lower Manhattan during the bunker years.
  • Thurston Moore, musician, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of Sonic Youth. He has participated in many solo and group collaborations outside of Sonic Youth, as well as running Ecstatic Peace! records. His latest solo album is Trees Outside the Academy (2007), and in 2009 Sonic Youth released The Eternal. In 2004 Rolling Stone ranked him among the greatest guitarists of all time.
  • Andre Perkowski, filmmaker. His montage film of William Burroughs’ Nova Express, seven years in the making, was debuted to great acclaim at the recent Naked Lunch @ 50 homage in Paris.
  • Simon Pettet, poet. An English expatriate living on New York’s Lower East Side, he is the author of many books, including Hearth, his latest collection of poems, and two collaborations with photographer-filmmaker Rudy Burckhardt. He also edited The Selected Art Writings of James Schuyler for Black Sparrow. Pettet’s Selected Poems is available from Talisman House.
  • Jürgen Ploog, German writer and cut-up maestro. He is the author of many books including the collaboration (with Jan Herman and Carl Weissner) Cut Up or Shut Up, for which William Burroughs provided a “tickertape” introduction.
  • Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, English performer, musician, writer, and artist. He first gained notoriety for his work with COUM Transmissions and industrial band Throbbing Gristle, then moved on to chart-topping success with Psychic TV. After meeting Burroughs in 1971, P-Orridge produced the first commercial releases of Burroughs’ cut-up tape experiments and was responsible for saving the films Burroughs created with Antony Balch.
  • Kate Simon, photographer. She has documented music, art, and literature with photographs that have become icons of modern popular culture: The Clash on the cover of the debut album, Debbie Harry on the roof of her apartment, Bob Marley by the pool, David Bowie in the studio, Led Zeppelin rehearsing, The Sex Pistols fighting, Miles Davis contemplating, Patti Smith on a rocking horse. For over twenty years she photographed William S. Burroughs, and her pictures grace many of his publications.
  • Anne Waldman, poet. She is the author of over 40 books of poetry including Kill or Cure, Marriage: A Sentence, Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble, and Manatee/Humanity (2009) (all published under the Penguin Poets imprint), as well as Fast Speaking Woman (City Lights) and the Iovis trilogy (Coffee House Press). She co-founded The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Allen Ginsberg at Naropa University.
  • Nick Zedd (tentative), filmmaker and author. While producing the Underground Film Bulletin in the 1980s, he wrote the “Cinema of Transgression Manifesto,” thus giving a name to the generation of filmmakers and artists known for shock tactics and black humor. He is the author of two books, Bleed and Totem of the Depraved.

Admission is $8 / $7 for students or seniors. (All proceeds benefit the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church.) The Poetry Project is located in St. Mark’s Church at 131 East 10th Street, New York. (Google map)

8 October 2009 — New York University

The Children of Burroughs: The Legacy of Naked Lunch on New York Artists At 6:30 PM on Thursday, 8 October, the Fales Library of New York University will host a panel discussion looking at the legacy of William Burroughs. Participants include:

  • Robert Fitterman, NYU, Liberal Studies Program; Bard College, Milton Avery School of Graduate Studies
  • Lytle Shaw, NYU, Assistant Professor of English, a visual artist, poet, and editor, Shark magazine
  • Jürgen Ploog, German writer and artist who has written extensively on Burroughs and late-20th century American culture
  • Penny Arcade, writer, actress, comedienne, social commentator, political activist, and performance artist.
  • Moderator: Marvin J. Taylor, NYU, Director of the Fales Library and Special Collections

9 October 2009 — Columbia University

“Fifty Years of Naked Lunch: from the Interzone to the Archive… and back.” The Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University will be holding a conference and panel discussion.

  • 1:00 PM Keynote by Oliver Harris, Professor of American Literature, American Studies, Keele University. “From Dr Mabuse to Doc Benway: The Myths and Manuscripts of Naked Lunch.”
  • 2:30 PM Short Papers
    • Penny Vlagopoulos, Introduction
    • Isaac Gewirtz, Curator of the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library. “William S. Burroughs: The Writer as Avant-Garde Archivist”
    • Brian E. C. Schottlaender, Audrey Geisel University Librarian, University of California, San Diego. “Manifestations, Multiple Versions, and Showstoppers: Collecting the Various Guises of Naked Lunch
    • Regina Weinreich, Professor in Humanities & Sciences, School of Visual Arts, New York City. “Honing the Word Hoard: Kerouac, Tangier and Naked Lunch
  • 4:30 PM Panel Discussion
    • Moderator: Ann Douglas, Parr Professor of Comparative Literature, Columbia University
    • Barry Miles, Author; Visiting Fellow, Liverpool School of Art and Design, John Moores University
    • Bradford Morrow, Novelist; Editor, Conjunctions; Professor of Literature, Bard College
    • Barney Rosset, Publisher, Evergreen Review and founding publisher, Grove Press
  • 6:00 PM Reception and viewing of the exhibition “Naked Lunch: the First Fifty Years” in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 6th floor Butler

All sessions will take place at the Columbia University Faculty House.

10 October 2009 — School of Visual Arts

The School of Visual Arts will host an evening of film and performances. The tentative schedule includes:

  • Regina Weinreich (introduction)
  • Films
    • 3:30 Nova Express excerpt
    • 3:55 Words of Advice
    • 5:10 Japanese Sandman
    • 5:25 The Beat Hotel
  • Poets and Performances
    • 6:00 Hal Willner and special guests
    • 7:00 Anne Waldman
    • 7:30 Michael McClure
    • 8:00 Eric Andersen

All events take place at the Little Theater at SVA Theatre, 333 West 23 Street.

Comments Total: 5
Michael Dean Odin Pollock
Jul 11 2009
12:22 pm

This is going to be a great event…i am seriously considering attending and would be honored to read something by Burroughs. It’s been awhile since i last visited / read / performed in N.Y.C. i look forward to reuniting with old freinds and making new ones…

Infinite Blessings

Mike Jahn
Sep 28 2009
10:04 pm

This sounds outstanding and great and I hope I can sneak my old hack writer ass into one or more of the events. I’m an old friend of Eric Andersen who I haven’t seen in nearly 40 years and hope to meet up with him.

Mike Jahn
Sep 28 2009
10:07 pm

Oh, and I forgot to mention my sole contribution — helping to bring about the debasement of American culture by introducing coverage of rock and roll to the New York Times.in 1968. I’m exceptionally proud of that.

into the alley
Oct 9 2009
10:35 am

How late will the ebents go today, once the presentation starts at 6 pm. As well, does anyone know where I can see (rent?) Nova Express or any of the other films mentioned?


Oct 9 2009
10:43 am

The schedule for Oct 9 and 10 has times attached to it. Columbia University starts at 1:00 PM and will probably be over by 7:00 PM or so. The SVA events start at 3:30 PM and will probably be over by 10:00 PM or so.

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