Burroughs Centennial, How Time Passes; We Walk Invisible Received

We’ve been having a William S. Burroughs (b. Feb. 5 1914 – d. 1997) festival here, not considered a horror author but books like JUNKIE and NAKED LUNCH come close.  So I’ve been watching movies as part of it at Indiana University Cinema, BURROUGHS:  THE MOVIE (a new remastered version) Thursday night, then Friday night, braving 6 degree weather, CHAPPAQUA.  The latter, about an addict in rehab reliving/hallucinating experiences on drugs, was NakedLunchespecially interesting, non-linear by definition, surrealistic in places — think “bizarro” if one will, though it’s not that exactly — with cameos by Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, soundtrack largely by Ravi Shankar.  There’s no specific local connection to Burroughs except that despite connections to Tangier, etc, he was really a Midwesterner, born in St. Louis and died in Lawrence Kansas after he’d left New York.  A few nights before I’d also attended the opening at the IU Fine Arts Building of  a small display of paintings he did mostly later in life, a number of these while in Kansas.  I understand there’s also (though I haven’t been to it yet)  a display in the university’s rare book library.

So they’ll be showing the movie of NAKED LUNCH later tonight as I write this, though, in that I happen to have the VHS of that one anyway — and it would also partially overlap tonight’s CBS special on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York (thus the headline above:  How Time Passes) — I’m tentatively planning a “private showing” probably around midnight tonight.

This afternoon, though, I’m just back from a showing of short films Burroughs was in or made or was involved with too, some experimental (THE CUT-UPS, e.g., probably best described as a prolonged example of montage, the more interesting because some scenes that came up had already appeared in BURROUGHS:  THE MOVIE) some less so (e.g. a sentimental cartoon version of his short story, “The Junkie’s Christmas”), also including TOWERS OPEN FIRE, WILLIAM BUYS A PARROT, BILL AND TONY, GHOSTS AT NO. 9, et al.  And then tonight, the weather report is talking about another quick cold snap plus maybe more snow (though probably not much), another excuse for the “private showing,” as well as that I’m looking forward to being able to run scenes back to look at again, etc., with some of the techniques Burroughs used himself both in his writing and his own films still fresh in my mind.

Then for something completely different, Saturday brought a long-anticipated copy of WE WALK INVISIBLE (cf. November 8, SeptWeWalkInvisible1122FINALjustcovercopyember 23), actually published in November by Chupa Cabra House, but due to postal mixups of some sort, only now sent.  So, okay, there is an air of paranoia there that might relate to some of Burrough’s work as well.  And then there’s my story “Invisible People,” a near-future tale of alienation and, yes, paranoia too, originally published in DARK INFINITY in Winter 1992-93 — and chastely described on the back cover as “A man finds that retirement makes him invisible to society.”

Ah, but there’s so much more, not only in that, but in fifteen more stories that make up WE WALK INVISIBLE, for more information on which press here.

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