Today would've been poet and beat icon Allen Ginsberg's 94th birthday. Howl Arts, the organization that aims to preserve East Village and Lower East Side Culture (that is named after Ginsberg's famous poem), usually throw a festival in celebration but with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year it's online, running today (6/3) through June 6 at 7 PM ET each night.

Highlights include: Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds, the 1979 film that Ginsberg narrates and reunites many of the Beat Generation's leading lights (William S Burroughs, Anne Waldman, Peter Orlovsky, Amiri Baraka, Diane di Prima, and Timothy Leary) tonight (6/3); West Coast Beat and Beyond, the 1984 film celebrating Jack Kerouac on June 4; Christopher Felver's Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder about beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti on June 5; and on the final night (6/6), No More to Say and Nothing to Weep For: An Elegy for Allen Ginsberg which, among other things, features Patti Smith at his memorial, as well as a showing of Sonic Youth's "Making the Nature Scene" directed Felver.

Also on view will be "films that remember our namesake’s life and times, as well as shorts and remarkable deathbed footage of Ginsberg shot by underground cinema icon Jonas Mekas."

You can watch the Allen Ginsberg Birthday Festival over at Howl Arts tonight through Saturday at 7 PM Eastern. The full schedule is below.



Wednesday, June 3rd | 7PM
Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds, 1979 / Directed by Costanzo Allione / Narrated by Allen Ginsberg

After World War II, a group of young writers, outsiders, and friends who were disillusioned by the pursuit of the American dream met in New York City. Associated through mutual friendships, these cultural dissidents looked for new ways and means to express themselves. In this 55-minute video, members of the Beat Generation—including Burroughs, Anne Waldman, Peter Orlovsky, Amiri Baraka, Diane di Prima, and Timothy Leary—are reunited at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, during the late 1970s to share their works and influence a new generation of young American bohemians.

Video of Howl 2016 Celebration

Thursday, June 4th | 7PM
West Coast Beat and Beyond, 1984 / Directed by Christopher Felver

Filmed on location in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, and at Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado, this film is a tribute to the ongoing vision of America’s renegade minds, as well as a salute to the visionary power of Jack Kerouac. Rare appearances by Kerouac’s daughter, writer Jan Kerouac, poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Micheline, Joanne Kyger, Bob Kaufman, and Philip Lamantia, as well as novelist Ken Kesey illuminate the imagination and inspire a torrential indictment against American mediocrity.

History of the Airplane / Directed by Christopher Felver
Video of Howl 2017 Celebration

Friday, June 5th | 7PM
Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder, 2013 / Directed by Christopher Felver

In this definitive documentary, director Christopher Felver crafts an incisive, sharply wrought portrait that reveals Ferlinghetti’s true role as catalyst for numerous literary careers and for the Beat movement itself. Felver’s one-on-one interviews with Ferlinghetti, made over the course of a decade, touch upon a rich mélange of characters and events that began to unfold in postwar America.

Hum Bom! / Directed by Christopher Felver
Video of Howl 2018 Celebration

Saturday, June 6th | 7PM
No More to Say and Nothing to Weep For: An Elegy for Allen Ginsberg, 2006 / Directed by Colin Still

Witness the last days of the Beat poet whose works would capture the very essence of the 1960s countercultural movement, in an informative documentary featuring Allen Ginsberg’s final television interview as well as remarkable deathbed footage shot by underground cinema icon Jonas Mekas. Footage also delivers Ginsberg’s 1965 reading at Royal Albert Hall, his chanting at the 1968 Democratic Convention, and previously unreleased footage with Paul McCartney, Dick Cavett, William Buckley, and a heartfelt memorial service in which Patti Smith delivers a poignant farewell.

Sonic Youth – Making the Nature Scene / Directed by Christopher Felver
Video of Howl 2019 Celebration


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