I have two friends of mine who are currently running for political office. At the top of their "To Do" list is not stop crime or create jobs, but to raise money for their campaigns. Seemingly every other day the streets of Washington DC are shutdown while the President walks down the street to the ATM that is the Jefferson Hotel for a fund raising event.
I find all this distasteful of course and then I get the announcement card for Auerhahn Press's Mad Monster Mammoth Poetry Reading and I realize that running a press is no different than running for office. Priority number one is securing funding.
Alastair Johnston covers the Mad Monster Mammoth reading in detail and provides images of the Auerhahn press release for the reading and an article on the reading by Lewis Lapham. For God's sakes please order a copy of all three of Johnston's bibliographies. They are ESSENTIAL. That said he does not provide an image of the annoucement card (horrors!!!!). You have to come to the Mimeo Mimeo blog for that. The blog is ESSENTIAL. (I don't know what it is with the CAPS and the !!! this morning. Must be the Super Bowl atmosphere: Hype is in the air. All these "FANTASTIC EVENT[S]". "North Beach Spectacle!!!").
The BBC televised parts of the reading, and years later the reading was made available on the Howls, Raps and Roars CD, which you can order from your local bookseller or from Amazon if you are a soulless consumer who corporate farms (and destroys) the fragile garden of literary delights. Auerhahn books were on display at the reading and I hope the beatniks bought their copies of The Hotel Wentley Poems at the reading and did not walk up Broadway to 261 Columbus Avenue to purchase them. Jack Spicer would not approve.
Twelve poets read that night in 1959: Bruce Boyd, Ray Bremser, Kirby Doyle, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bob Kaufman, Philip Lamantia, Ron Lowensohn, Christopher MacLaine, Michael McClure, David Meltzer, John Wieners, and Philip Whalen. From the press release: "Two young San Francisco painters, Bruce Conner and Robert LaVine, are staging a spectacle of the Objects, made for the Event, that shall accompany a WayOut WALK OF POETS starting about 8PM." "Go! Poetry! Go!"
Earlier that same summer Allen Ginsberg (along with Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan and James Broughton) read at Garibaldi Hall for another fund raising event: a monster reading in support of John Wieners Measure. One of the highlights was Ginsberg reading a draft of Kaddish.
Both of these reading were great successes. Auerhahn, coffers replenished, reinvested that capital back into the business with new books by Whalen and Lamantia. By the way, Lamantia organized the Auerhahn reading, so maybe we should get the Federal Election Committee to look into some type of conflict of interest here.
To me, the Auerhahn and Measure fund raisers (at a $1 per head) are simply time and money better spent than $45,000 per plate for a "roundtable discussion" and some chicken breast at the Jefferson. Although Sara Bareilles did perform. Charming I'm sure.
Judge for yourself: "Love Song" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLXGDENH8HQ) vs. "A Poem for Cocksuckers" (https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/poetrycenter/bundles/191228)
In nearby Virginia Beach in 2011, Pat Robertson appeared at a Mitt Romney fundraiser. Now that is what I call entertainment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZnPYfpp4gI