CHF 2014: Journeys

Interzone: A Burroughs Birthday Bash

To celebrate the 100th birthday of America’s most audacious writer, William S. Burroughs, CHF brings together a motley crew of poets, writers, and musicians. Among those paying homage to the Beat icon and author of Naked Lunch are Anne Waldman, Eileen Myles, Tony Trigilio, Davis Schneiderman, Don Meyer, Sasha Frere-Jones, Jon Langford, Thomas Comerford, Sally Timms, and Daniel Knox.

This program is presented in partnership with Lake Forest College.

Photograph by Allen Ginsberg, courtesy of Anne Waldman

Speakers and Performers

Thomas Comerford

Thomas Comerford is a songwriter, singer, guitar player, and filmmaker who has lived in Chicago since 1999. Equally influenced by Nashville outsiders like Townes Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson as well as the rock of Lou Reed and David Bowie, Comerford spent two years in the studio crafting his newest LP, II. As an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Comerford teaches courses on punk culture, documentary, and film production.

Sasha Frere-Jones

Sasha Frere-Jones is a writer and musician, raised in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where he still lives. He recorded and toured as a member of the band Ui from 1990 to 2010. He has been the pop critic and a staff writer for the New Yorker since 2004. He is currently working on a two-volume memoir about New York and the arts. 

Daniel Knox

Daniel Knox is a songwriter and composer living in Chicago.  His recent projects include Black & Whites, a long-form song-cycle, and 14 15 111, a two-act piece for synths, drums, cello, violin, two tubas, and a choir. Songs from each will feature on a release with Carrot Top Records in early 2015. He has scored for film and theater and has performed with artists such as David Lynch, the Handsome Family, and Rufus Wainwright.

Jon Langford

Jon Langford is a founder member of the legendary British punk rock band the Mekons. Born in South Wales he currently lives in Chicago where he plays loud roots rock music with the Waco Brothers and works as a visual artist. When his solo album, Skull Orchard, was released in 1997, Langford visited William Burroughs in Lawrence, Kansas, and spent a lovely afternoon wandering around the great man's garden. "Sound vaguely Cambodian" said Bill.

Don Meyer

Composer and musicologist Don Meyer, professor of music at Lake Forest College, has written original scores for a number of independent films, among them The Tinaja Trail, Turkish Coffee, A Better Life: Chicago and Illegal Immigration, and a new film score for Hitchcock's The Lodger. In addition, he has composed incidental music and sound collages for theater productions, dance troupes, online literary journals, and television commercials. He has also written articles about film music and music in American life.

Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1949, was educated in Catholic schools, graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Boston in 1971, and moved to New York City in 1974 to be a poet. She gave her first reading at CBGB’s, and then gravitated to St. Mark’s church where she studied with Ted Berrigan, Alice Notley and Bill Zavatsky. She has published more than a dozen volumes of poetry and fiction including Not MeChelsea Girls, Cool for You, and Skies. Recent books include Sorry, TreeThe Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art; and Inferno: a poet's novel

Davis Schneiderman

Davis Schneiderman’s recent novels include the DEAD/BOOKS trilogy, including the blank novel BLANK, the plagiarized novel [SIC], and the ink-smeared novel INK. (forthcoming). He co-edited Retaking the Universe: Williams S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization, and has written on Burroughs for many publications, including the Journal of Beat Studies, and Naked Lunch @ 50: Anniversary Essays. He is associate dean of the faculty and director of the Center for Chicago Programs, professor of English at Lake Forest College, and director of Lake Forest College Press/ &NOW Books.

Sally Timms

Sally Timms hails from Leeds in West Yorkshire and is a longtime member of UK Punk Rock fundamentalists The Mekons. Sally has had a long and fruitful solo career, working with the likes of Vito Acconci, Kathy Acker, Marc Almond, Pete Shelley, and The 6ths, yet insists she is the laziest woman in show business. She is particularly proud of her work with the National Theater on the Hideout's annual pantomimes.

Tony Trigilio

Tony Trigilio directs the program in Creative Writing/Poetry at Columbia College Chicago and co-edits Court Green. His recent poetry collections are The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 1 and White Noise. He is editor of Elise Cowen: Poems and Fragments. He also is the author of two books of criticism, Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist Poetics and Strange Prophecies Anew. He co-edited the anthology Visions and Divisions: American Immigration Literature, 1870-1930

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman, poet, professor, performer, and cultural activist is the author of over forty books and small press editions of poetry and poetics. She is the co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her books include Manatee/HumanityFast Speaking WomanIOVIS (I&II)Vow to Poetry: Essays, Interviews and ManifestosStructure of the World Compared to a Bubble; and Martyrdom. She also edited The Beat Book and is co-editor of Disembodied Poetics: Annals of the Jack Kerouac SchoolThe Angel Hair Anthology and Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action.

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

William S. Burroughs
On Wikipedia

Related Events

Burroughs 100
Official site

Good Reads

William Burroughs - the original Junkie
The Outlaw: The extraordinary life of William S. Burroughs

Online Resources

Burroughs' 'Naked Lunch,' Still Fresh At 50 [podcast]
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