Hanuman Presents ! (1998)
Produced & Directed by: Vivien Bittencourt and Vincent Katz Color - 44 minutes Dance Sequences by: Dana Reitz, Yoshiko Chuma and School of Hard Knocks Title Artwork by: Taboo! Edited by: David Dawkins and Henry Hills Films by Rudy Burckhardt: Up and Down the Waterfront 1946/ The Climate of New York, 1948/ Under the Brooklyn Bridge, 1953/ Million in Business as Usual, 1961/ Daisy, 1966/ Square Times, 1967/ Made in Maine, 1970/ Sodom and Gomorrha 1976/ New York 10036, 1976/ In Bed, 1986/ Mystic Grange, 1988/ Ostensibly, 1989/ Night Fantasies, 1991/ Wayward Glimpses, 1993/ Great Regular Flavor, 1994
© by Vivien Bittencourt, New York,NY
This film documents an historic reading, which took place on May 18, 1989, at St. Mark’s Church in New York. The readers all had books published by Hanuman Books, which were edited by Francesco Clemente and Raymond Foye and printed in Madras, India, in the format of small Indian prayer books with colorful covers and moveable type. Many of the readers are from the Beat era, and an air of studied provocation runs through the reading. Several of the authors have died since the time of the reading, etching its place in history. Beat figures include Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Huncke, and John Wieners, all of whose writing has focused on the politics of the individual and the right to freedom of personal expression. New York of the Andy Warhol Factory era is represented by Superstars Taylor Mead and Rene Ricard, both well-known authors as well as sublime elements of the New York nightlife. Ricard was also a poet and critic of the first rank. Following on them is Cookie Mueller, veteran of John Waters’ films, documenter of the ‘80s art boom for the original Details magazine, and co-bon-vivant of Nan Goldin, in whose oeuvre she occupies a central position. A friend of Cookie’s and leading instigator of the punk movement, Richard Hell is nowadays a poet and acclaimed novelist. L.A. post-punk poets Bob Flanagan, Amy Gerstler, and David Trinidad are balanced by the East Coast élan of Elaine Equi, Eileen Myles, and Vincent Katz. The latter two groups are also influenced by the New York School poets -- particularly Frank O’Hara and James Schuyler -- tempering the Beat aspect by greater emphasis on the individual sonorities of words. Reading filmed by Vivien Bittencourt.
The video is greatly enhanced by the poetic imagery of late underground filmmaker Rudy Burckhardt, who produced over 100 16-millimeter films from the 1930s to the 1990s and frequently collaborated with poets, musicians, artists, and dancers, including John Ashbery, Aaron Copland, Joseph Cornell, Edwin Denby, Taylor Mead, Larry Rivers, and Paul Taylor.
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