Don’t expect him to trend on Twitter or anything, but William S. Burroughs might at least be the stuff of party chatter in the coming months, thanks in part to a meaty new biography by Beat chronicler Barry Miles and an upcoming celebration of the dapper degenerate’s 100th birthday. WSB100, as the month-long centenary blowout is being dubbed, won’t take place till April, but you’ll have a couple of glorious opportunities to bask in all things Burroughs in the next days.
First off, Miles, a biographer of Kerouac and Ginsberg, will discuss his latest opus, Call Me Borroughs, at The Strand on Jan. 28. This isn’t the first Burroughs biography to hit the store’s shelves (Ted Morgan’s Literary Outlaw was published in 1998), but at 736 pages, it’s definitely the meatiest. And according to a review over at BookForum this week, it’s the most authoritative. Miles will be joined Tuesday by John Tytell, author of Paradise Outlaws: Remembering The Beats.
Once you’ve brushed up on the Invisible Hombre’s debauched travels through Tangiers, his drug experimentations, and, of course, that time he killed his wife in a game of William Tell, head down to Bowery Electric, right down the street from Burrough’s old “Bunker” at 222 Bowery, for a concert on WSB’s birthday, Feb. 5. A host of experimentalists — including Aaron Dilloway of Wolf Eyes, David Grubbs of Gastr Del Sol, axeman Elliott Sharp, and more — will take part in a night of music, readings, and performance in William’s honor (full lineup and tickets here).
The Bowery Electric show will double as a fundraiser for the centenary festivities taking place in April. According to the WSB100 Website, the month-long celebration will involve readings, panel discussions, exhibitions, and screenings at Anthology Film Archives, St. Mark’s Church, Issue Project Room, The Stone and other venues. The lineup will feature a veritable who’s-who of counterculture/experimental/underground types: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Lydia Lunch, Hal Willner, Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky), JG Thirlwell, Anne Waldman, Oliver Harris, Barry Miles, Steve Buscemi, and more.
Among those playing The Stone, according to its calendar, are Laurie Anderson, Trevor Dunn, Thurston Moore, Bill Laswell, and, of course, the venue’s proprietor John Zorn.
Don’t know about you all, but I’ll be rocking the Burroughs t-shirt I made in high school, after my parents confiscated my copy of Interzone and hid it under their bed.