William S Burroughs

The Fascinating Self-Portraits of 20 Famous Authors

They say writing is a form of self-expression — but it’s not the only one. And if we had to guess, we’d bet that many of our favorite authors have a little bit more going on in their heads than the average person, so it makes sense to us that their creativity might spill out into other mediums. To that end, we’ve curated a small selection of wonderful visual self-portraits by famous authors — from scribbles to full-on oil paintings, from cheeky one-offs to serious painterly studies. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments. … Read More

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Allen Ginsberg’s Hand-Annotated Photos of the Beat Generation

Disappointed by the On the Road movie? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Luckily, NYU’s Grey Art Gallery is offering a far superior option for those in search of an inside glimpse at how the Beat Generation lived. Beginning January 15, New Yorkers can visit the gallery’s Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg to peruse a selection of 110 photos taken (and often captioned by hand) by none other than Allen Ginsberg. From a shot of Jack Kerouac’s muse, Neal Cassady, and “his love of the year” snuggling under a cinema marquee advertising a Brando triple feature to a solemn photo of William S. Burroughs at the Met, the annotated images provide a personal, visual scrapbook of Ginsberg’s life in the 1950s and beyond. Click through to preview a selection of images from the show. … Read More

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20 Excellent Photos of Famous Authors Partying

Whether they be bad boys (or bad girls), dirty old men or just legendary party animals, there’s no denying that the literary set knows how to get down. From dance parties to book parties to whatever’s going on in that car, writers are adept at letting off steam, and so this year, we thought we’d get a little New Year’s celebration inspiration from a few of our favorite authors. And hey, if you’re still trying to figure out your signature cocktail at this late hour, you can model that on your favorite writer too. After the jump, raise a glass with everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Rita Dove to Nora Ephron. Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody. … Read More

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Adorable Pictures of Famous Writers and Their Pets

A dog may be man’s best friend, but some men make better friends than others. To us, it’s always seemed as though pets attach themselves to artists (and vice versa, of course) in greater numbers than to regular folks — or at least that almost every artist we know needs a furry friend to talk to. Maybe it’s the pull of a constant, silent listener to bounce ideas against, maybe it’s because of the boundless soul of the writer, maybe it’s a coincidence. Either way, we think pictures of famous authors and their pets are pretty adorable, so we’ve collected a few of them here. See some of our favorite writers with their dogs and cats (and peacocks, guess who) after the jump, and if we missed your favorite literary pair of man and beast, add them in the comments. … Read More

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10 Great Literary Late Bloomers

The literary world is forever in awe of the young writers, the wunderkinds, the 20 under 40, the 5 under 35, the 30 under 30. But many authors published their first major work later in life.… Read More

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Photos of Famous Authors Reading Famous Books

“If you want to be a writer,” Stephen King tells us at the beginning of his classic craft book On Writing, “you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” We think it’s pretty fair to say that King has done both — and so have most other famous authors. After all, that’s how they got there. But what do they read? We scoured the web to find pictures of a few of our favorite authors reading — and from what we can tell, they spend a lot of time reading their own books (or at least a lot of time being photographed reading them). After the jump, check out a few famous authors reading, whether their own books or other writers’, and if you have a cool photo we missed, add to our collection in the comments! … Read More

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Awesome Photos of Writers Hanging Out Together

There’s something strangely inspiring about photographs of visionaries in the same room — we don’t know quite what it is, but the idea of (what we imagine to be) a profound meeting of minds captured on film always manages to get us excited. To that end, we put together a collection of some very excellent photographs of awesome musicians hanging out together a couple of months ago, but it’s not just musical types who like to gather in inspiring combinations. Writers, it seems, also enjoy each other’s company (whatever they might say to the contrary). Click through to see our photo roundup of writers hanging out with other writers, with a hat tip to the wonderful Tumblr Awesome People Hanging Out Together for inspiration and a few of the shots. … Read More

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Watch William S. Burroughs Make “Shotgun Art”

As an unbelievably ignorant propaganda video from an anti-gun control group recently reminded us, William S. Burroughs loved guns. He loved them so much that he used one to accidentally kill his wife, Joan Vollmer, in a drunken attempt to mimic William Tell back in 1951 that renders any romanticizing of his gun-toting persona foolish at best. Thankfully, later in life, Burroughs’ romance with firearms manifested in less harmful stunts. Open Culture has tracked down a fantastically lo-fi video of the author making “shotgun art” — setting up cans of spray paint in front of plywood planks and then shooting them to create a random explosions of color. Does this game really qualify as art? We’ll leave that up to you. Watch Burroughs in the act below, and see some of the finished works here. … Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we saw photos of New York gang the Reapers during the 1970s. We spotted spray-painted pigeons. We learned how one woman in a wheelchair takes a dip in the pool. We looked at stunning new photos of Saturn. We got tips on how to ride… Read More

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Wonderful Photographs of Famous People Snapped By Their Famous Friends

It’s well known that famous people often run in packs (rat, brat), and we’ve even heard rumors that they do normal things like hang out and take pictures of their friends. Since we’re obsessed with the ephemera of pop culture, we spent some time tracking down a few of those snapshots, whether staged or candid, rare or widely recognized, taken by everyone from Truman Capote to Lady Gaga. Click through to see our gallery of photographs of famous people snapped by their famous friends, and you may just begin evaluating your own photo albums for potential stars after you’re through. … Read More

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