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  • The Naked Lunch
    50th Anniversary Celebration
  • A Fundraiser for a New Documentary about William S. Burroughs
  • 08.28.2009
    ThinkArt Salon

sponsored by:

STOP SMILING helped celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the publication of William S. Burroughs' The Naked Lunch by sponsoring a fundraiser for a new documentary about the author at the ThinkArt Salon, and hosting an afterparty for the event at the STOP SMILING Storefront. (Click here for more information about the film, William S. Burroghs: A Man Within, directed by Yony Leyser.)

Actor Peter Weller, who played the lead in David Cronenberg's film adaptation of Naked Lunch, was the evening's keynote speaker. He was supported by poets Anne Waldman and John Giorno, audio producer Hal Willner, and performance artist Penny Arcade, plus a docket of other poets and scholars, including Dr. Bill Ayers, who spoke about censorship. Peter Weller concluded the fundraiser with a reading of Norman Mailer's defense of Naked Lunch, which Mailer read before the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1966 after the book was banned in Boston. Anne Waldman, who co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Allen Ginsberg, read material composed specifically for the event. Audio from the event, recorded by Chicago Public Radio's Chicago Amplified, can be heard here.  

Afterward, the fundraiser crowd moved from ThinkArt a few blocks down to the STOP SMILING Storefront, where they were joined by dozens more partygoers who enjoyed music from David Daniell and Douglas McCombs, then danced and caroused late into the night to tunes provided by DJs Jillian Valentino and Katie Stenberg.

Special thanks to our friends, partners and sponsors, including Grolsch, ThinkArt, BulletProof Films, CIMM Fest, Finlandia, Quimby's, Chicago Public Radio, Chef David Leigh, The William Burroughs Foundation, Harper College, The Poetry Center of Chicago, The Allen Ginsberg Estate, Columbia College, About Face Theater, Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast, Hotel Allegro, Republique Francaise, Regina Greene, John Long, Tony Trigilio, Kurt Hemmer, Davis Schneiderman, David Barnes, and everyone who came out.


Please visit Chicago Amplified, a Chicago Public Radio audio archive project, to hear a selection of clips from this and other STOP SMILING events

photography by: Akasha Rabut

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