Sunday, March 17, 2013
Reel People: Daniel Radcliffe is Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg was born in New Jersey on June 3, 1926. His father, Louis, a Jewish school teacher and his mother, Naomi, a communist.
Allen Ginsberg had some unique influences including a father who was interested in poetry and his mother therapy for mental illness. Both of his parents also had a high degree of social concern which they passed onto their son, leading Ginsberg at a young age to take a stand on a number of social and political issues.
In 1943 Ginsberg attended Montclair State College shortly before attending Columbia University on scholarship. At Columbia, through an initial connection to Lucian Carr he had the opportunity to meet beat poets including Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and William S. Burroughs.
In 1948, a defining moment occured when Ginsberg had an auditory hallucination in his Harlem apartment where he heard various portions of William Blake poetry.
In 1954 Ginsberg moved to San Fransisco where in addition to being a part of the beat scene, he also met Peter Orlovsky. Peter had been drafted into the army during the Korean war but was transfered off the front by a psychiatrist to work as a medic in San Fransisco.
Ginsberg and Orlovsky fell in love and began a lifelong partnership in their openly homosexual relationship.
In 1955 Ginsberg stopped doing any sort of traditional work on the advice of his psychiatrist, and he focused strictly on poetry.
Allen Ginsberg had the opportunity to meet many of the famous beatniks of the era and established Beatitude a poetry magazine.
Artist Wally Hendrick approached Ginsberg about participating in a reading and October 7, 1955 an event "Six Poets at the Six Gallery" featured the reading of six poets: Phillip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Phillip Whalen, and Ginsberg. It was here that Ginsberg read "Howl." This is credited as Ginsberg's most famous and influential poem.
In 1957, Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky left San Fransisco and traveled the world primarily spending their time in Paris where they joined George Corso along with many poets in what was known as the Beat Hotel until it closed in 1962.
Ginsberg helped bridge a gap between the beatniks and the hippies in the 1960s as he traveled in Europe and the United States meeting, reading, and interacting with a variety of poets. Ginsberg also became interested in Buddhism and Khrishnaism at this time.
Ginsberg had gained a degree of fame that continued to grow as he continued to write and publish through out the rest of his career.
At the age of 70, Ginsberg died surrounded by friends as he died of Liver Cancer in New York.
Kill Your Darlings
The film Kill Your Darlings deals with parts of aftermath of the murder of David Krammerer by Lucian Carr in 1944. Lucian Carr was a close friend of Ginsberg at Columbia. Carr had been stalked throughout his life from the older Krammerer. On August 13, 1944, Carr and Jack Kerouac were kicked off a boat they were attempting to sneak on board a merchant ship and when Krammerer later caught up with Carr, Krammerer is said to have made aggressive sexual advances on Carr and Carr killed him.
The event had a dramatic effect on the beat community include Ginsberg who is a key focus of the film.
In addition to Radcliffe playing the part of Ginsberg, the film also features Elizabeth Olsen as Edie Parker. Edie Parker married Kerouac when in jail as a successory of marriage. Dane DeHaan plays the part of Lucien Carr, Jack Huston plays Jack Kerouac, and Ben Foster plays William Burroughs. Allen Ginsberg's parents Louis and Naomi are played by David Cross and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Michael C Hall plays the part of David Krammerer.
Will Daniel Radcliffe's portrayal of the famous poet in his young formative years earn him critical attention and even an Oscar nomination/win for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?