paper trail

May 10, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Neal Cassady in 1955, from the National Gallery of Art's exhibition "Beat Memories."

Allen Ginsberg saw the best minds of his generation pose rakishly, and snapped many of the era's defining pictures. An exhibition of his photographs, which opened last week at the National Gallery, features the usual suspects; a shot of Neal Cassady under a movie marquee heralding The Wild One and Tarzan the Ape Man looks staged as the Beat apotheosis—or perhaps a scene from this year's film Howl, starring James Franco as the bearded bard. Franco, recently caught napping during a lecture at Ginsberg's alma matter, must have been channeling the poet's truant spirit—Ginsberg spent his Columbia days contending with the college's "dilettantes" by writing graffiti on dorm windows. 

Gen X grows up: the self-christened slacker generation is apparently having a very baby-boomer-like mid-life crisis, while its successors learn to be careful on the net; after all, "People worse than pedophiles lurk outside the living room walls—people like the Eighties metal band Dokken," a threat that the Xers remember all too well.

Let's all pitch in and put out a magazine: The American Spectator is appealing to readers for money to keep on spectatin'. According to the stalwart conservative publication, their $26,000 shortfall was caused by the "perverse incentives of the liberal agenda."

Gabbing about Gotham: New York, “the huge jagged city,” as Henry James called it, “lies looking at the sky in the manner of some colossal hair-comb turned upward.” For Dawn Powell, it was “the city of perpetual distraction,” and Federico Garcia Lorca saw “crowds stagger through the boroughs / as if they had just escaped a shipwreck of blood.” Last week's PEN festival event led by Edwin Frank delved into the enduring literary fascination with the city.