William S Burroughs

How a Legendary William S. Burroughs Documentary Was Lost… and Found 30 Years Later

In 1983, the New York Film Festival screened Burroughs: The Movie, a feature-length documentary about William S. Burroughs — the first such film made about (and with the cooperation of) the legendary author, an expansion of a thesis film by an NYU filmmaker named Howard Brookner (with the help of classmates Jim Jarmusch and Tom DiCillo). Tonight, 31 years later, the NYFF will host a revival screening of that film, which had all but vanished in the intervening years. The film itself is fascinating, but what happened off-screen is even more remarkable, the story of an important document’s disappearance and rediscovery by a young man dedicated to saving it. That young man is Aaron Brookner, nephew of Burroughs director Howard, who spoke to me recently about the picture’s peculiar journey — and his own. … Read More

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50 Essential Cult Novels

Just what is a cult novel? Well, like so many literary terms, the edges blur whenever you try to look right at them, but in the end, you sort of know one when you read one. Sometimes a cult novel is one that the critics panned but the fans love, or sometimes it’s one that both readers and critics love, but a certain contingent of readers really love. Any book with a squadron of rabid fans swearing that it changed their lives quickly seems cultish. Cult novels often come from the fringes, they often represent countercultural perspectives, they often experiment with form. Here are 50 of the… Read More

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10 Charming Fan Letters From Cultural Icons

Last night, as you’re well aware, the fourth season of Game of Thrones came to a close, and everyone went bananas. And perhaps, somewhere, some future literary superstar penned a fan letter to George R.R. Martin, telling him what an inspiration his work is. It’s not too much of a stretch — presumably in preparation for the finale, iO9 dug up that great fan letter that young Master Martin wrote to Marvel’s Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, raving over the greatness of a recent Fantastic Four issue. Such a missive is a blast to read now; it’s also but one example of the fine tradition of superstars who reveal themselves (either before their own fame or after it) to be super-fans. … Read More

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The Horrifying Love Lives of Famous Authors

In the abstract, everyone would like to fall in love with a famous writer. It holds out the promise of fabulous love letters and, if one is very lucky, immortalization as the subject of a super-romantic poem. I mean, Keats’ beloved Fanny Brawne really lucked out, I think, with “Bright star, bright star / would I were as steadfast as thou art.” I would be thrilled if someone would write that about me. … Read More

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50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers

Maybe it’s a Pavlovian response to years of schooling, or that the brisk weather affords more hours inside, or something else entirely, but the fact is this: November seems like the time to take on the heftiest reading on your list. And let’s face the facts: some books are only for the toughest readers on the block, your Sylvester Stallones of literature, as it were. So for those of you who count yourself tough, here’s a list of books for you: some absurdly long, some notoriously difficult, some with intense or upsetting subject matter but blindingly brilliant prose, some packed into formations that require extra effort or mind expansion, and some that fit into none of those categories, but are definitely for tough girls (or guys)… Read More

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The Books Flavorwire Staffers Read Too Early

Earlier this week, writer Matthue Roth published My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs, a collection of Kafka stories re-told for children. This is a brilliant idea, since anyone exposed to Kafka at a young age is likely to grow up stranger and better — even if it’s only a form of Kafka. Here at the Flavorwire office, the book sparked a few conversations about age-appropriate reading, and more than one story about a great book read too early. Some of us still have the scars. After the jump, check out the literary regrets of a selection of staffers who read the classics much too early, and then let us know which non-age-appropriate read still haunts you in the comments. … Read More

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The Craziest Advice From Famous People

This week, we stumbled across this amazing video of William S. Burroughs doling out some highly questionable advice to young people. As you might have noticed, we’re pretty big fans of collating advice from cultural icons here at Flavorwire — but the advice those cultural icons give isn’t always totally sound (or maybe it is, we don’t judge). After the jump, we’ve put together a collection of some of the craziest advice from famous people. Whether you listen or not is up to you. … Read More

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30 Behind-the-Scenes Monster Movie Photos That Will Blow Your Mind

Because it came out in the ‘90s and now people old enough to remember it are running websites, a lot of Internet ink has been spilled recently over the 20th anniversary of The Sandlot, writer/director David Mikey Evans’s 1993 remembrance of baseball, boyhood friends, and the summer of ’62. But the most interesting discovery of all of this nostalgia bathing was the unveiling of three photos (by Mr. Evans himself) of the elaborate puppets they used to create “The Beast,” the giant English mastiff that terrifies that neighborhood kids. Looking at those images (and you can check them out after the jump), we get a little nostalgic ourselves — for a time when computers weren’t the solution for scaring an audience, leaving artists and puppeteers to create the horrifying creatures of moviedom. Let’s take a look at how it used to be done. … Read More

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Tournament of Books Organizers Pick the Winners of 12 Classic Literary Beefs

Today is the first day of The Morning News‘s epic annual Tournament of Books, an excellent and wordy alternative (or supplement) to March Madness for all us literary types. To celebrate, we asked the ToB’s organizers — the venerable Rosecrans Baldwin, Kevin Guilfoile, John Warner, and Andrew Womack — to act as judges for a few imaginary literary match-ups. Because who doesn’t want to imagine the results of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky throwing down? After the jump, find out who would win in a fight — Mailer or Vidal, Hemingway or Faulkner, Dorothy Parker or anybody, and more. Don’t agree? Argue your literary hearts out in the comments, and then be sure to get in on the real-life highbrow smackdown here. … Read More

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