Taken from The New York Times, Dec. 27, 1991 and written by Janet Maslin…
Drifting In and Out of a Kafkaesque Reality
Naked Lunch, adapted by the dauntless David Cronenberg from William S. Burroughs’ 1959 landmark novel, represents a remarkable meeting of the minds. It’s hard to imagine another filmmaker who could delve so deeply into the monstrousness of Mr. Burroughs’ vision, in the end coming up with a bona fide monster movie of his own. Yet while Mr. Cronenberg’s ingenious approach to his material matches Mr. Burroughs’ flair for the grotesque, it also shares the author’s perfect nonchalance and his ice-cold wit. Seldom has a filmmaker offered his audience a more debonair invitation to go to hell.
The director of The Fly, Dead Ringers and Scanners will not disappoint viewers who appreciate his devilish ingenuity. Instead of attempting the impossible task of adapting Naked Lunch literally, Mr. Cronenberg has treated the disjointed, hallucinatory book as a secondary source. Concentrating instead on Mr. Burroughs himself, the drug experience that colors his writing and the agonies of the creative process, Mr. Cronenberg also devises purely metaphorical versions of the author’s wild and violent sexual scenarios. The result, by turns bracing, brilliant, and vile, is a screen style as audacious as Mr. Burroughs’ is on the page. Read the rest of this entry »
For John Dillinger
In hope he is still alive
Thanks for the wild turkey and the Passenger Pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts –
thanks for a Continent to despoil and poison –
thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger –
thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcass to rot –
thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes –
thanks for the AMERICAN DREAM to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through –
thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces –
thanks for “Kill a Queer for Christ” stickers –
thanks for laboratory AIDS –
thanks for Prohibition and the War Against Drugs –
thanks for a country where nobody is allowed to mind his own business –
thanks for a nation of finks — yes,
thanks for all the memories… all right, let’s see your arms… you always were a headache and you always were a bore –
thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.
William S. Burroughs
The September 1964 issue of Esquire features a photo-essay titled “Tangier.” Alongside pictures by photographer Robert Freson, William Burroughs provided captions and the following text.
I post this in remembrance of WSB, who died 13 years ago today…
In these foreign suburbs here, a map of Tangier on a flaking plaster wall. I look from a photo layout to the map and drive pins in the map pointing location of the photos. The wall is grey and metallic under the plaster; electricity leaking into the walls the way it does in these old houses, you can get a shock from these pins. Look at the map. It won’t be there long. Read the rest of this entry »
The last words Burroughs ever wrote — from his private journal, 3 days before he passed away…
“There is no final enough of wisdom, experience- any fucking thing. No Holy Grail, No Final Satori, no solution. Just conflict.
Only thing that can resolve conflict is love, like I felt for Fletch and Ruski, Spooner, and Calico. Pure love. What I feel for my cats past and present.
Love? What is it?
Most natural painkiller what there is.
William S. Burroughs
The final part of this 1990s interview with WSB, by Kathy Acker. Very fascinating stuff…
Part 3 of this 1990s interview with poet, novelist and playwright Kathy Acker… Burroughs discusses the writing of many of his books, and his brief involvement with Scientology and est. Very fascinating.
Note: Around the 6:30 mark the video stops. I’m not sure if I’m the only one that this has happened to…?
Part 2 of this interview of WSB, not longer before his death in 1997. Burroughs always had a very distinctive voice, literally and figuratively…
This is a fairly rare interview with William Burroughs by Kathy Acker, a great punk/postmodern/experimental writer, originally released on video(?) by the Institute of Contemporary Art in London although it is no longer listed in their catalog. This particular copy comes from Dutch television.
The interview was filmed at the October Gallery in London, some time before the deaths of both participants in 1997.