This Monday, August 1st, the Dirty Gerund is paying tribute to poet, punk rocker and writer JIM CARROLL who passed away in September 2009. It’s his birthday, he rocked pretty hard in his day, and came through Worcester a few times towards the end of his career. A little background for those who don’t know, while still in high school, Carroll published his first collection of poems, Organic Trains. Already attracting the attention of the local literati, his work began appearing in the Poetry Project’s magazine The World in 1967. Soon his work was being published in elite literary magazines like Paris Review in 1968, and Poetry the following year. In 1970, his second collection of poems, 4 Ups and 1 Down was published, and he started working for Andy Warhol. At first, he was writing film dialogue and inventing character names; later on, Carroll worked as the co-manager of Warhol’s Theater. Carroll’s first publication by a mainstream publisher (Grossman Publishers), the poetry collection Living At The Movies, was published in 1973. In 1978, Carroll published The Basketball Diaries, an autobiographical book concerning his life as a teenager in New York City’s hard drug culture. Diaries is an edited collection of the diaries he kept between the ages of twelve and sixteen, detailing his sexual experiences, high school basketball career, and his addiction to heroin, which began when he was 13. In 1978, after he moved to California to get a fresh start since kicking his heroin addiction, Carroll formed The Jim Carroll Band, a New Wave/punk rock group, with encouragement from Patti Smith, with whom he once shared an apartment in New York City along with Robert Mapplethorpe.
Our tribute is going to blend different elements of the artists life together. To do this we’ve enlisted the support of a special musical guest/house band for the evening. When JIM CARROLL played Worcester, he enlisted the music of THE CATHOLIC BOYS, a collection of talented local music makers who dug his stuff. They learned his tunes and put sets together for his Worcester engagements. The band consisted of a veritable who’s who of the Worcester Music Scene, included members Duncan Arsenault, Roger Lavallee, Ron Mominee, Scott Ricciuti, & John Vanderpool. This Monday the Catholic Boys will be the DG house band, playing imporv behind the open mic, as well as featured readers Tony Brown, Lea Deschenes, Ryk McIntyre and Victor Infante, Carroll fans and excellent poets in their own right! The normal poetry feature slots and will be used to pay tribute to Jim through reading his work. We’ll have Carroll poems on hand as well, if you’d like to read something of his in the open mic. MUSICAL GUEST: you know the CATHOLIC BOYS aren’t gonna hit the DG up without playing some classic JIM CARROLL BAND tunes. Your hosts are gonna jump on the mic and try to hold our own!
Proceeds from this show are going to support the Worcester Youth Poetry Slam Program. I opened for Jim Carroll back in 2005 when he played the Lucky Dog. One of the first shows we ever tried to do, after taking over the DG, was a tribute night (he had just passed) but we didn’t have much of a turnout back then. Now that we’ve gotten a community going, and with Jim’s Birthday falling on a Monday, we felt that a tribute night to this rock n roll poet was most appropriate. To learn more about this poet’s life and work, check out www.catholicboy.com
BONUS RUCKUS: The “Subtances” Writing Challenge. There’s always been a connection or perceived connection between art making and substances. For better or worse, there’s always been a link or at least a great amount of focus placed on this link. This challenge is far ranging. Bring poems, rants, songs about substances, addiction or overcoming them. Let’s explore the link together. We’ll have a prize for the best piece.
This tribute won’t be some sad affair. We can pay respect, have fun and rock out at the same time! This is Monday Night After All. Visual Artist TBA. Snack time? YOSH & CHICKEN will be wielding our favorite legal substances all night! If you have a particular piece of Jim’s you’d like to read, please message me and let me know. We’ll leave you with one of Jim Carroll Band’s best known songs!