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Beat Memior #5 by Marc Olmsted (with Richard Modiano)

Posted in Beat Memior, Marc Olmsted with tags , on August 4, 2012 by Scot

In November 1977, old friend Richard Modiano, out from New York, hitched up from L.A. after visiting his mother.  Richard has kept a meticulous journal since his teenage years, and frankly these memories are far more detailed than my own…

…I let myself in and took a shower. Around 4:30 phonecall from Allen Ginsberg for Marc I answered and took a message.  I told Marc when he got home and he phoned back and sd we meet Ginsberg at City Lights and should leave soon (…) At the Bookstore we met Ginsberg and with Bob {Sherrard} we went to the Savoy-Tivoli to meet Neeli {Cherkovski}. {Bob and Neelie were an item then – MO}.  On the way we met Jack Micheline who drunkenly stopped Ginsberg to recite a poem.  Ginsey listened patiently and sd “Better write it down so you don’t forget.” On the way over we talked about Martin Duberman’s play about Kerouac which only Bob and myself had read, both of us thought it was bad. Ginsberg had read Duberman’s book about Black Mountain College, good gossip but said {Black Mountain instructor Robert} Creeley had objections.

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Posted in Marc Olmsted with tags , , , on April 29, 2012 by Scot


In San Francisco, November 1981, Ginsberg was going to read at On Broadway in North Beach, (directly above the legendary punk club, Mabuhay Gardens) and invited my New Wave band The Job to back him up.  Gregory Corso was also on the bill.  Bob Kaufman, the black poet of the North Beach bar Dagon poem recitation of my “first date” with Allen some years prior, had come along with Gregory.  Kaufman shuffled about like an electroshock causality, barely speaking.  Kaufman was badly beaten by the police years earlier and may have suffered some brain damage as a result.  By all accounts he was functioning normally until the police roust.

We all met backstage and Corso was cantankerous, “You young rock & rollers are just in it for the gold.”  I thought to myself, “If we are, I’ve yet to see it.”  I was splitting $90.00 between 5 band members, albeit more money than we usually saw.  He thought my friend Paul Stiver was a “Rolling Stone [magazine] shmuck,” as we stood back stage with the girl interviewer who shrank into the corner during this tirade.  I worried that Gregory might do anything, wander onstage, disrupt the band etc. Allen agreed this could very well happen with Gregory, but it would be alright.  I only half-got this “crazy wisdom” teaching, but I accepted it.  And Gregory behaved himself (special thanks to Richard Modiano’s journal in getting the details of this memory correct).

Allen told the band last minute that we could go on after his reading and play a few songs.  I had gotten completely soused (as opposed to functionally soused) thinking I was done for the night.  On top of that, the drummer had wandered away, clearly bored with the poetry.  He was found downstairs in the Mab.  At one point I was rushing down those stairs to run into Michael McClure walking up – he paid me a compliment about the band and I thanked him but told him I had to find the drummer pronto.  McClure frowned that I didn’t stop to chat – I had apparently fucked up with him yet again.

When we opened with a song I was so drunk that I forgot the lyrics.  I could only make up phonetic noises with vowels and consonants.  No one noticed.  After Allen and Gregory left, the energy of the remaining mob was barely containable anyway.  We did 3 or 4 songs and begged off.  While Richard watched the pre-show with Paul and the show itself and the final aftermath, Paul told him, “this would make a great Robert Altman film.”


Allen Ginsberg said “MARC OLMSTED inherited Burroughs’ scientific nerve & Kerouac’s movie-minded line nailed down with gold eyebeam in San Francisco.” Olmsted has appeared in CITY LIGHTS JOURNAL, NEW DIRECTIONS IN PROSE & POETRY, OUTLAW BIBLE OF AMERICAN POETRY, SIGNS OF LIFE (a Manic D Press anthology), PROCESSED WORLD, Flesh Eater Chris D’s BONGO CHALICE, BLUE SATELLITE and a variety of small presses. His work includes two books, MILKY DESIRE (Subterranean Press, 1991) and RÉSUMÉ (Inevitable Press, 1998).