ON DVD: 'The Beat Hotel'

7.12.2012

By Jerry Portwood

A fascinating documentary about Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, et al in a Parisian hotel that was the epicenter of Beat creativity

Photo: Allen Ginsberg as seen in The Beat Hotel. Photo by Harold Chapman, 1957

Alan Govenar's documentary—which focuses on Allen Ginsberg & Co. when they fled the obscenity trials surrounding the publication of Howl to a small hotel in Paris's Latin Quarter—is now, thankfully, available on DVD. They were soon joined by William Burroughs, Ian Somerville, and Brion Gysin, so it was a regular gay Beat flop house. As it's explained, the Beat Hotel was run by Madame Rachou, and it was "a hotbed of creativity and permissiveness, where Burroughs finished Naked Lunch; Ginsberg began his poem Kaddish; Somerville and Gysin invented the Dream Machine; Corso wrote some of his greatest poems; and Harold Norse wrote a novella, aptly called The Beat Hotel." This is a must-see for every Beat completist and anyone interested in the history of queer creativity in the 20th century. Find the DVD and watch the trailer for the film below.

READER COMMENTS ()

AddThis