Burroughs centennial events in Kansas, NYC

by W. Winston Skinner

alt

A poster in the lobby of the Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta plugs “Kill Your Darlings” in late November. The film was based on a book by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, and both writers were also characters in the film. 


William Seward Burroughs was born 100 years ago, and celebrations of his genius are set in New York — where he spent several years of his life — and in Lawrence, Kansas, where he lived his final years.

Actor and filmmaker John Waters and musician John Zorn are among those participating in tributes to the prolific and controversial author. Burroughs’ books — among them “Naked Lunch” and “Junky” — were acclaimed by some critics and slammed by others.

Burroughs’ personal life also presented challenges. He was openly homosexual and often wrote about his use of illegal drugs. His second wife, Joan Vollmer, died after Burroughs shot her during a William Tell moment at a party.

Burroughs also created paintings that were as obscure and challenging as his writings, and he appeared in several films in small roles.

Burroughs was born Feb. 5, 1914, in St. Louis, Mo. His paternal grandfather invented the modern adding machine, and his mother’s father, Dr. James Wideman Lee, was a prominent Methodist clergyman and writer from Georgia.

After graduating from Harvard, Burroughs lives in such cities as Tangiers, Paris, New York, London, Chicago, New Orleans, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Budapest, Athens and Mexico City. Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac were friends and colleagues.

Burroughs and Kerouac wrote a novel, “And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks,” based on true events in the 1940s. The book, which was not published until after Burroughs’ death, was recently filmed as “Kill Your Darlings” with Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Huston and Ben Foster.

After cementing his place as a lead figure in the Beat Generation, Burroughs moved to Kansas in 1981 — living in Lawrence until his death 16 years later, in 1997. During that time Burroughs focused on creating art. Continuing his explorations in material and process he created a large body of work.

From Jan. 17–March 2 the Lawrence Arts Center will present an exhibition of Burroughs’ art and collections titled “The Creative Observer.” This exhibition will include works from many periods of his life. This multimedia experience will provide insight into Burroughs’ prolific creative energy as well as revealing his ideas on observing art and people.

Included in the exhibit will be collaborative works with such artists as Brion Gysin, Robert Rauschenberg, Kurt Cobain, Keith Haring and George Condo.

There will be gallery talks, films and performances connected to the exhibit. Burroughs also will be the featured artist for the 2014 Lawrence Arts Center Benefit Auction on April 12. A co-project of the Lawrence Arts Center and the William S. Burroughs Estate, the exhibit is curated by Ben Ahlvers and Yuri Zupancic.

On Jan. 28, friends and acquaintances will share stories and memories of their time with Burroughs. John Waters — American film director, screenwriter, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist and art collector — will give a lecture, and there will be four films.

The Nervous Set by Fran and Jay Landesman will present a staged reading and live music on Feb. 8.

There will be a monthlong celebration of the Burroughs centennial at The Stone in New York’s East Village. A two-week program of music inspired by or dedicated to Burrough’s work from from April 8-20.

The Stone is a not-for-profit performance space dedicated to the

experimental and avant-garde. Secret Chiefs 3, Kenny Wollesen, James Ilgenfritz, Dave Scanlon and Dave Scanlon will be performing.

Jalal Toufic will present readings on April 14, and Raha Raissnia will perform live visuals to John Zorn’s film tribute, “Interzone.” Zorn's “Nova Express” and “DreamMachines” tributes will also be screened at The Stone.

A celebration of Burroughs’ 100th birthday is also planned at the Beat Museum in San Francisco.



More Local

Wounded warriors to cycle through Newnan

Approximately 120 wounded warriors and supporters will bicycle into Newnan on Sunday and enjoy lunch at the Coweta Veterans Club. The group ... Read More


At the pumps

Gas prices expected to rise steadily

Gasoline prices have been creeping up steadily since early January, and prices are expected to rise even more in the next few weeks. But the ... Read More


New feature page begins on Sunday

On Sunday, a new feature page will be coming to The Newnan Times-Herald, replacing the Mini Page in the Focus on Education section. Kid Scoo ... Read More


Hamilton Bohannon

Newnan celebrity honored by Senate

A Newnan celebrity was honored by the Georgia Senate Thursday for his decades of contributions to the music industry. Hamilton Bohannon, who ... Read More


Senator, teacher challenge new US history course

The controversy over the revised Advanced Placement U.S. History course has come to Georgia. Last week, the senior vice president for AP and ... Read More

Woman arrested after narcotics found in privates

A woman received a few extra charges Tuesday after Coweta County authorities arrested her for violating her parole and found she was carryin ... Read More