Cover image for The Life & times of Allen Ginsberg
The Life & times of Allen Ginsberg
Aronson, Jerry.
[DVD version].
Publication Information:
New York, NY : New Yorker Films, [2006]

Physical Description:
2 videodiscs (84 min.) : sound, color with black and white sequences ; 4 3/4 in.
Depicts Allen Ginsberg, an American poet and social activist in the different decades of his life and activities.
General Note:
Director's cut.
Personal Subject:
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DVD 13231 Adult DVD Open Shelf
PS3513.I74 Z733 2006V Adult DVD Central Library

On Order



In 1955, poet Allen Ginsberg summed up the greatest fears of his generation in a landmark poem appropriately titled "Howl." As a result of that defining piece of prose, Ginsberg would become an icon of the Beat Generation. Inspired by Ginsberg's powerful personality and captivating charisma as a performer, filmmaker Jerry Aronson procured every film clip of the poet that he could find and compiled it into a comprehensive documentary tracing the life and times of the man who never backed down from his beliefs. From Ginsberg's early experiences alongside such American icons as Jack Kerouac, Timothy Leary, and William Burroughs to his historical clash with William F. Buckley, and his tense confrontation with police during the 1968 Democratic Convention, Aronson's film doesn't miss a beat. Back to back readings of "Howl" from 1955 and 1992 show precisely how the poem continued to resonate decades after it was originally written, and by exploring Ginsberg's political and spiritual beliefs Aronson offers compelling insight into the mind of a counter culture legend. Originally released in 1993, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg was updated to cover the events surrounding the subject's untimely death in 1997 and to provide a final, fitting epitaph for the controversial author. The deluxe two-disc DVD release includes over six hours of bonus materials, including a "making-of" documentary, footage of Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac's grave, William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg in a 1994 appearance at Naropa University, selected readings by Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Ginsberg at a 1965 City Lights Bookstore appearance, the making of the music video for "A Ballad of Skeletons", a guided tour of a Ginsberg photographic exhibition hosted by the writer himself, excerpts from Last Three Days on Earth as a Spirit, footage from Ginsberg's New York City memorial, photo galleries, and trailers. Additional interviews with subjects ranging from Joan Baez to Johnny Depp, Yoko Ono, Hunter S. Thompson, and Ken Kesey show just what an expansive influence Ginsberg truly had as an artist. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Few Americans can hope to live a life as vibrant as Ginsberg's over a course of six decades. It's a natural--albeit often restrictive--human trait to want to classify individuals into one category or another, but that process would be almost impossible with Ginsberg. Is he primarily an avant-garde poet? Political activist? Human rights campaigner? Social reformer? Aronson's extensive documentary melds all those facets of Ginsberg's life into what might well be the definitive media study of one of America's most intriguing personalities. The main portion of the two-disc set is the remastered and updated director's cut of the documentary of Ginsberg's life originally produced in 1994. This title is worthy of purchase for this segment alone, which includes a wide variety of materials, e.g., home movies and clips of Ginsberg's televised interviews with both William F. Buckley and Dick Cavett. Viewers follow the forces that shape Ginsberg into the visionary reformer and controversial creator he became. Additionally, Aronson has included an extensive collection of extras, for example, interviews with almost 30 public figures (ranging from psychologist Timothy Leary to actor Johnny Depp) who share comments on Ginsberg's effect on their particular craft. Ginsberg's colorful life deserves this monument by the Academy Award-nominated Aronson. Highly recommended for all libraries. [See]--Dwain Thomas, Lake Park H.S., Roselle, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.