William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

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William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, the East Village, 1953.

  • William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, the East Village, 1953.

The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival has lifted the veil of secrecy about its opening night film this Thursday, March 4: it's Yony Leyser's William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, which I wrote about in the Reader in August. The story behind the film is fascinating; do check it out.

Begun while Leyser was an undergrad at KU in Burroughs's adopted hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, this is the first posthumous feature-length doc about the writer of Junky and Naked Lunch.

Fresh from its January premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival, A Man Within boasts a who's-who of counterculture icons who've known and been influenced by Burroughs: Patti Smith, John Waters, Iggy Pop, Jello Biafra, Gus Van Sant, Iggy Pop, David Cronenberg, Amiri Baraka, Sonic Youth, and on and on.

CIMMfest opens at 7 PM with Thomas Woschitz's intercontinental romance Universalove, scored live by Naked Lunch (the band), followed by a Q-and-A with the filmmaker and band. A Man Within screens at 9, followed by a Q-and-A with Leyser. (CIMMfest cofounder Ilko Davidov is the producer and editor of A Man Within.)

Then at 11, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, who's featured in the film, performs with Thee Majesty, along with Warhol superstar Penny Arcade, also in the film. It's at St. Paul's Cultural Center, 2215 W. North. $20 tickets include beer.

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