Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Uploaded on Jul 1, 2011
GREGORY CORSO and HERBERT HUNCKE
Two lions of the Beat Generation filmed by Francois Bernadi
Original Beats is a short documentary film by Francois Bernadi on Gregory Corso and Herbert Huncke.
Huncke was the original Beat. He coined the term, lived the life and was on the road long before Kerouac. Here he talks about his life as petty criminal, drug user and Beat writer.
Corso believed the poet and his life are inseparable. It was a belief he held true, otherwise the poet couldn't write like a lion, write truthfully.
This is a fascinating and informative portrait on the eldest and the youngest of the original Beats, filmed shortly before Huncke's death in 1996.
Often overshadowed by the Beat triumvurate of Burroughs, Ginsberg and Kerouac, Herbert Huncke and Gregory Corso were nonetheless integral to the Beat family and, on a personal level at least, often the most interesting. Both had been in jail (the same jail though not at the same time), both, in contrast to the Big Three who were all Columbia Grads, were self taught.
I never read a lot of Corso because he mostly wrote poetry and I don't read a lot of poetry. I still have my copy of Huncke's 'The Evening Sun Turned Crimson', which, despite a relative lack of artlessness, is direct, honest, even charming. Huncke details his early life hustling, plumbing the depths of drug addiction (I still recall, even years after I read the book, Huncke describing walking into Alphabet City with open sores on his face after scratching his skin raw shooting speed). This kind of thing has been done to death (literally), but Huncke was the firstest, even amongst the Beats, and his stories about the people he met along the way -- drag queens, hustlers, junkies, and general people around the city -- often have warmth, even tenderness, even when he described the most desperate characters.
Corso I remember most from 'The Beat Hotel', a dive hotel in Paris where Corso lived and shared a bed with Ginsberg and Ginsberg's love Peter Orlovsky. Not that Corso got into any kinky three way thing. Corso knew from his days in jail that he was into chicks, and chicks only -- they shared a bed because they had no heat.
In contrast to the gaunt, priestlike (or creepy, depending on your point of view) Burroughs, who lived in his own room on an upper floor, the three younger men (and Corso was the youngest of all) run wild like especially Rabelesian college kids on a spree. Invited to meet the French surrealists, they arrive ecstatically drunk, crawl around on all fours barking like dogs in what they thought was an appropriately Surrealist action. Corso, I think it was, jumped on Breton's lap and chewed on his tie. Breton and most of the other guests, good Parisian bourgeoisie despite their pretensions, were not amused by this behaviour. Duchamp, the exception, was charmed by their very American irreverence and energy.
These guys were still around when I first got to New York. I had a friend who knew Huncke through Robert Frank. Huncke used to come by his place on East 3rd, bum cigarettes and talk. He was a great talker apparently. I missed meeting him one afternoon by a few minutes apparently. I missed meeting Ginsberg as well, which I regret less, having been oggled by the Great Man in the East Village a couple of times. I don't say this out of any vanity -- if you were under 30 and male and in the East Village before 1995, you were likely oggled by Allen Ginsberg.
In this charming half-hour short by film-maker Francois Bernadi, which was shot in 1996 shortly before Herbert Huncke's death, Corso and Huncke read at the St. Mark's Poetry Project and are interviewed separately. Corso is irascible, brittle; Huncke is more amenable, sitting at a desk in his room in the Chelsea Hotel. We see the lobby of the Chelsea, and the 42nd that Huncke first discovered in the '50s. Of this discovery, Huncke says:
"I liked the lights, I liked the way people moved. It was fresh . . . people seemed a lot freer in their actions than people did elsewhere."
Corso, who also hustled on 42nd for a time, getting older men to take him out to dinner then running off, remembers the Deuce in less romantic terms:
"The most deplorable area to hang around -- only the lowest of the low hang around there, if you've got nothing to offer society or even themselves . . . there was no class there."
When I first moved to New York, the Beat tradition lived on, in places like the Tribes gallery, Nuyorican Cafe, in countless places now long gone, and amongst the Unbearables, Sensitive Skin Magazine, Red Tape. By the mid-'90s, the Beats were becoming a brand, more famous for their lives than their books, endlessly imitated in form if not in spirit. Some of these groups, or former members of these groups survive in rent-controlled apartments, in places they were lucky enough to buy when the real estate was still cheap. But no one would call the East Village bohemian now.
Standard YouTube License
- Buy "Senor Blues" on
- 4:00:02 BUDDHIST CHANT - Om mani padme hum mantra 4 hour meditation with rain soundby MusicsForMeditation Featured 27,598
- 32:05 The ORIGINAL BEATS outtakes: HERBERT HUNCKEby catgroove1,784 views
- 1:36:23 Symposium tribute to Jack Kerouac Symposium Part 2by SSUARCHIVES919 views
- 29:53 The ORIGINAL BEATS outtakes: GREGORY CORSOby catgroove2,123 views
- 49:28 50-Minute Documentary on JACK KEROUAC: "On the Road to Desolation" (1998)by TheSheik197610,353 views
- 7:26 Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady conversationby Shroomeryslearyfan19,278 views
- 5:25 Neal Cassady and Lahonda a discussion about the bus ride across country.by SSUARCHIVES12,849 views
- 1:11:20 Kerouac, the movie 1986 (King of Beats)by Catarina Troiano9,392 views
- 1:01 What Happened To Jack Kerouac? (Deluxe Edition) - The Beat Goes On Clipby shoutfactory1,424 views
- 1:09:18 Jack Kerouac : King of the Beats (2012) Full Documentaryby The Subterranean Mind10,718 views
- 22:43 Buckley, Kerouac, Sanders and Yablonsky discuss Hippiesby SensitiveSkinTV159,219 views
- 9:52 Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man Beginningby Graphite42vault14,561 views
- 14:48 ALLEN GINSBERG Interview BBC 1994by britbluesfan41,609 views
- 11:15 Beat Generation Documentary - PART 1/7by Nikolas Sinopoulos4,595 views
- 5:10 RetroBites: William S. Burroughs - Junkieby CBCtv36,127 views
- 13:26 The Burning Ghatby HunckeHerbert1,976 views
- 4:34 Cassidy ☮ Grateful Dead, 1977by chasefukuoka6125,044 views
- 9:51 Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man 2by Graphite42vault7,658 views
- 58:56 BEAT TODAY (2004) by Andreea M. Lupea & Tilman Otto Wagnerby Tilman Otto Wagner2,199 views
- 6:52 Beat Hotel documentary trailerby Documentary Arts16,754 views
- Loading more suggestions...