Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Naked Lunch & Fundraiser

Friday, August 28th at Th!nkArt Salon, 1530 N. Paulina, Ste. F,Chicago, IL. 60622

CLICK HERE to listen to the CHICAGO PUBLIC RADIO audio recording of the event.

Download the invite

Thank you to all who attended the fundraiser and celebration. Your support is appreciated.

Academy Award nominee Peter Weller will host a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking novel The Naked Lunch, featuring an art exhibition of William S. Burroughs’ paintings and drawings on paper, and never-before-seen footage of his turbulent life in a trailer of the film. This star-studded evening catered by Chef David Leigh, will feature live music by Maya Jensen and readings, happenings, and performances by authors, poets, and Beat scholars.
Featured authors, poets, Beat scholars include:
Peter Weller (star of David Cronenberg’s film Naked Lunch (1991)), Penny Arcade (Andy Warhol Superstar), Hal Willner (Musical Director, Saturday Night Live, recorded Burroughs, Dead City Radio (1990)), James Grauerholz (William S. Burroughs Estate Executor), Anne Waldman (Poet, co-founder of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics), John Giorno (performance poet, Giorno Poetry Systems) Kurt Hemmer (author Encyclopedia of Beat Literature), Tony Trigilio (author, Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist Poetics), & Dr. Bill Ayers (Distinguished Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago).

STOP SMILING Magazine will be hosting an after-party from 9:30 P.M. until... Featuring David Daniell & Douglas McCombs (Tortoise, Thrill Jockey), Penny Aracde & DJs.
1371 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL.
Suggested donation at the door

Anne Waldman is one of the most powerful voices in the poetry world and has worked to preserve the beat legacy— one that is also her own. Waldman is, in her words, “drawn to the magical efficacies of language as a political act.” Allen Ginsberg called Waldman his "spiritual wife." In the 1960s she served as the director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark's. In 1974, with Allen Ginsberg, and others, Waldman founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, where she remains a Distinguished Professor of Poetics and the Director of Naropa's famous Summer Writing Program. She was “poet in residence” with Bob Dylan’s famed concert tour, the Rolling Thunder Revue, in 1975–76. In addition to writing dozens of acclaimed books, Waldman has also edited several anthologies, including The Beat Book (1996). Her honors include grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Anne Waldman

Legend, icon, wild-hearted demoness bad-girl bitch. It is impossible to describe the juggernaut that is Penny Arcade without entering the world of hyperbole that she not only inhabits but also personifies. Since first climbing out of her bedroom window at age 13 to join the fabulously disenfranchised world of queers, junkies, whores, stars, stalkers and geniuses she has become one of the most influential performers in the world. By fearlessly displaying her singular brand of feminist sexuality and personal conflict she has garnered countless fans worldwide with an emotionally and intellectually charged performance style. Internationally revered as writer, director and actress, she has become the very bedrock that many of the biggest names in the entertainment industry have built their careers upon.


Penny Arcade

Hal Willner produced, along with Nelson Lyon, and is responsible for William S. Burroughs' albums Dead City Radio, and Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales . He is possibly best known for assembling tribute albums and events featuring a wide variety of artists and musical styles (jazz, classical, rock). He is often credited as the inventor of the 'modern' tribute album with Amarcord Nino Rota in 81. He became music supervisor of Saturday Night Live in 1981, a position which still holds. He is also responsible for William Burroughs appearance on the show. Willner has also produced albums for Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed,, Gavin Friday, Lucinda Williams, Laurie Anderson, & Allen Ginsberg. He produced a live tribute concert to Tim Buckley, that ultimately launched the career of Tim's son Jeff.

hal wilner

Hal Willner

Burroughs' close friend and collaborator, John Giorno, was quick to release some of Burroughs’ best recorded work on Giorno Poetry Systems. The originator of Performance Poetry, John Giorno elevated Spoken Word to a high Art Form. One of the most innovative and influential figures of 20th Century poetry, John Giorno's career spans forty years. Giorno's work - written, performed, recorded and presented - has forever changed the way the world views poetry . His most recent book You Got To Burn To Shine (Serpent's Tail, 1994) details his deeply personal memoirs, including the story of his relationship with Andy Warhol (Giorno was the star of Warhol's first film, Sleep, 1963), his anonymous sexual encounter with Keith Haring (he and Keith later became good friends), and his thoughts about the Tibetan Buddhist understanding of death in the age of AIDS. Founded in 1965, Giorno Poetry Systems innovated the use of technology in poetry, working with electronic and multi-media, and creating new venues, connecting poetry with new audiences.

giorno headshot

John Giorno

Author of Drugs and the "Beats".  John Long was born in Chicago in 1941 and grew up in the Chicago area. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1963, he went on to study law at Stanford. In 1972 he moved to France with his wife Mary. His visit to present at this event will be his first time back in the United States in thirty years. John went on to receive his Master's degree from the University of Angers, France, and in 1981 he was awarded a Doctorate in literature from the Sorbonne. John is recognized as an expert on the Beat Generation. Currently, he and his family raise sheep on a large domain in the South of France. He has taught at several universities in France and has recently retired from the University of Toulouse where as associate professor he taught English and American literature and civilization.


John Long

Tony Trigilio is the author of the poetry collection, The Lama's English Lessons; the chapbooks, With the Memory, Which is Enormous and Make a Joke and I Will Sigh and You Will Laugh and I Will Cry ; and two books of criticism, Allen Ginsberg's Buddhist Poetics and Strange Prophecies Anew. His poems have been anthologized in The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century; Digerati: 20 Contemporary Poets in the Virtual World, America Zen, and A Gathering of Poets, a volume commemorating the students killed at Kent State University and Jackson State University. He has published critical essays in Reconstructing the Beats and Girls Who Wore Black: Women Writing the Beat Generation.   He holds a Ph.D. in English from Northeastern University in Boston. W A recipient of a 2009 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, he has taught since 1999 at Columbia College Chicago, where he also directs the program in Creative Writing - Poetry.


Tony Trigilio

Kurt Hemmer is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Beat Literature (Facts On File 2007) and an Associate Professor of English at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. His article “‘The Natives Are Getting Uppity’: Tangier and Naked Lunch” appears in Naked Lunch @ 50: Anniversary Essays (Southern Illinois University Press 2009). Among other articles, “Political Outlaws: Beat Cowboys“ was published in American Studies Journal volume 50 (Fall 2007) and “The Prostitute Speaks: Brenda Frazer’s Troia: Mexican Memoirs” was published in Paradoxa 18: Fifties Fictions (2003). The award-winning documentaries As We Cover the Streets: Janine Pommy Vega (Harper 2003) and Rebel Roar: The Sound of Michael McClure (Harper 2004) were produced by Dr. Hemmer and Tom Knoff.

Picture 9

Kurt Hemmer

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