History of Hip: The Beats

In terms of countercultures in history, it seems like the Beat movement often gets lost in the large, loud, and commercialized hippie-tastic era. Though smaller and more underground, the Beats were in many ways trailblazers for the hippies. Beat writing strove for an open emotionality and spontaneity, which was often sought through travel, drug experimentation, and spiritual contemplation. Sound familiar? In terms of literary output, they had many highpoints. Originally deemed too graphic, both Allen Ginsberg's Howl and William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch were part of an obscenity trial that ultimately expanded the boundaries of free speech in the United States. This Tuesday, U of M Professor Maria Damon will discuss this fascinating and crucial time in underground American culture. Local poet J. Otis Powell! will also discuss the ways in which Beat poetry influences the current performance scene. Reservations recommended; call 651.259.3015. 21+.
Tue., March 4, 7:30 p.m., 2008