We Got the Beat?

The Source suggests that beatness is in the eye of the beholder

I might not be so negative here had I not read an interview with Workman in which, when asked if the recent deaths of Ginsberg, Burroughs, Timothy Leary, and Jerry Garcia would affect how people viewed the film, he responded, "People are saying now it's the only thing left. There are other beat films, there are other beat projects, but the resources we had were great. We wanted to lay a document down that nailed these guys in a certain way." The. Only. Thing. Left. Granted, he didn't state this arrogance exactly, but he didn't argue with it, either. Never mind that there are scores of books in print by these very authors--that Gary Snyder, Robert Creeley, Ted Joans, and others are still alive and writing, that the beat arts also include painting, sculpture, film, performance, and dance. And don't forget that the breakthroughs by Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, Bruce Conner, and John Cassavetes in those "other beat films" are available (with some searching), ready to show how their techniques, both fictive and documentative, made Workman's particular montage possible.

You can't just make a film about the beats, 40 years after all the major action, and call it beat, can you?


Superstars: Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg in Chuck Workman's The Source
Superstars: Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg in Chuck Workman's The Source

The Source starts Friday at Oak Street Cinema.

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