Write Brain TV

The Beat Generation

(Directed by Various Artists) (2022)


What artistic movement stretched from San Francisco all the way to New York, sparking the young artistic minds for decades to come? Which artistic movement was responsible for some of the most pivotal literary works, spoken word poetry, drug culture, and anti-war activism? They are The Beats!

In this collection, we’ve spent 12 months stitching together a cut-up style archive of some of the rarest and most landmark works by the Beat movement. Born in the 1950s and inspired heavily by the jazz scene, the Beats were a family-like group of artists from both the surrealist San Francisco Renaissance movement led by poets like Bob Kaufman, and the rebellious, hip, and free-wheelin’ artists exploring the rundown alleys and jazz bars of New York City.

Together, they fused to form a kinetic and mind-bending collective, featuring authors like William S Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, musicians such as the legendary Charlie Parker, and filmmakers like Robert Frank. Exterminate all rational thought as you dive into the quintessential collection of The Beat Generation.

This Is The Beat Generation (1955)

An essay written for the New York Times by John Clellon Holmes introduces The Beats to the world.

Michael McClure Recites Poetry To Lions (1955)

Poet Michael McClure… Literally reciting poetry near a cage of hungry lions at the zoo.

Queer (1951-1953)

William S Burroughs follow-up to Junky wasn’t published until 1985, written in a sober state of mind in Mexico City.

Allen Ginsberg Reads America (1956)

A young Allen Ginsberg performs his poem “America” at a bookstore in Berkeley.

Howl And Other Poems (1956)

Written by Allen Ginsberg, this classic poetry book features some of his most well known prose.

On The Road (1957)

Jack Kerouac’s debut is a stream-of-conscious debut is a classic on the road story from a beat icon.

Poetry For The Beat Generation (1959)

The earliest recordings of Kerouac doing live poetry readings with backing piano by Steve Allen.

Pull My Daisy (1959)

A short film by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie illustrating the strange and fascinating life of The Beats.

Abomunist Manifesto (1959)

Surrealist poet Bob Kaufman, of the San Francisco Renaissance, wrote this surrealist tongue-and-cheek manifesto.

The Flower Thief (1960)

An experimental short film by Ron Rice that features several prominent artists in the San Francisco Renaissance, including Bob Kaufman.

Tentative Description Of Dinner Given To Promote The Impeachment Of President Eisenhower (1961)

edLawrence Ferlinghetti, publish a young Allen Ginsberg, and even wrote this satirical piece.

Allen Ginsberg Reads Kral Majales in Bookstore (1965)

Performed by Allen Ginsberg in a book store in California, this is nearly a decade after he first performed Howl.

Rare Brion Gysin & Burroughs on Pirate TV (1971)

A rare TV spot featuring Brion Gysin, Burroughs, and The Dream Machine.

Between Heaven And Hell (1971)

Recorded by Rudy Ray Moore, this features rare recordings of street poet Big Brown.

Creative Reading Lecture With Burroughs

Seminar at NAROPA University performed by William S Burroughs 

The Fugs - The Fugs First Album (1965)

This avant garde anti-war band were reviled by the FBI, and closely associated with The Beats.