Most bibliophiles know about the lurid tales of William S. Burroughs. He shot and killed his second wife by accident while drunk, became openly gay, had an affinity for guns, a serious opiate addiction the last 50 years of his life -- and for all of you Floridians, he spent a small time living in Palm Beach in the '50s.
But perhaps what he's most known for is his constant interactions with musicians. He's worked with Sonic Youth, Nick Cave and Tom Waits, and his works have been cited as a major influence among musical greats like Roger Waters, Patti Smith, Genesis P-Orridge, Ian Curtis, Lou Reed, Kurt Cobain, and rock critic Lester Bangs.
So it should come as no surprise, then, that Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch has just received the rights to release a new documentary through his production company Oscilloscope Laboratories about Burroughs, titled: William S. Burroughs: A Man Within.
In the film A Man Within, John Waters describes Burroughs as being "The first person who was famous for things you were supposed to hide." You'll be able to witness never-before-seen archive footage of the author, along with interviews with some of his closest friends and colleagues, among them Patti Smith, Gus Van Sant, and our beloved Miami local Iggy Pop. The soundtrack's even been provided by Patti Smith and Sonic Youth, to add to the musical meatiness.
The postmodernist American author was a major figure of the Beat Generation, and his first novel was co-written in 1945 with none other than Jack Kerouac. His best known novel Naked Lunch was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. Government, and Burroughs remains one of the first to cross the boundaries of "queer" and drug culture in the '50s -- and to live to write about his experiences.
The personal documentary touches upon all of this and more. It's expected in U.S. theatres in the fall, but if you can't wait that long, it's also being shown at the Seattle International Film Festival (June 10), Salt Lake City Film Center, and a few other festivals around the U.S. For more information, you can go to the film's site at burroughsthemovie.com.