Wednesday, January 10, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever, excerpt twelve)

from The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever by Prudence Peiffer:

Through the photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank, she ended up with a part in a short film he was making with the painter Alfred Leslie and a ragtag team of musicians, writers, and poets. Her role was “the wife.” It paid $18 a day. The working title was Beat Generation, after Jack Kerouac’s unpublished play, though for copyright reasons it was eventually changed to Pull My Daisy, the title of a bawdy poem by Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.

The novel On the Road had come out two years before, and Kerouac had also written the introduction for Frank’s photobook The Americans, published in the States in 1959. This next project was a much narrower vision of American life, an attempt to capture the giddy, goofy energy and cultural influences of a band of artists and writers, what the critic Jeremy Tallmer called “beatthink” in a 1961 introduction to the film. The plot, such as it was, related to an episode that had really happened at the home of Neal and Carolyn Cassady in San Francisco: a couple, and their wisecracking poet friends (Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, playing themselves), are visited by a bishop. Bohemian life crashes against tradition.

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