The Spring debut of Ad Astra Radio brings you a comprehensive (ish) look at Lawrence’s celebration of William S. Burroughs.
February was the 100th anniversary of writer, artist and mind-expanding cultural icon William S. Burroughs’ birth. Lawrence – where Burroughs spent the last sixteen years of his life – has spent the month celebrating his life with a variety of events, visiting speakers, and art installations. On this episode of Ad Astra Radio, we present the Lawrence Art Center’s Burroughs exhibition, a classic Beat Generation musical, and a conversation with Kansas Poet Laureate and Burroughs contemmporary, Denise Low – as well as a review of ongoing Centennial events.
Ad Astra Radio: All About Burroughs
Note, in the live broadcast Scott Refers to Denise Low as a “Poet Emeritus” she was actually Poet Laureate of Kansas. Download the full episode here, or scroll down for individual stories.
Throughout February, Lawrence Art Center has been hosting the exhibition “William S. Burroughs: Creative Observer,” displaying art by the writer alongside collaborations with other artists like Keith Haring. Beth Fentress sat down with Ben Ahlvers, co-curator of the show, to discuss the exhibit, Burroughs as a visual artist, and his place here in Lawrence.
Beats on Stage
Burroughs’ connection to and participation in the Beat movement of the 1950s is one big things he’s remembered for as a writer. One of Lawrence’s Burroughs Centennial events was a staged reading of “The Nervous Set” a Beat Generation musical, originally performed in 1959. Christine Noriega met with director-producer Ric Averill to talk about the local revival of this lost classic.
Reflections on the Man
For locals, William Burroughs isn’t just a famous writer, he’s also a man who spent a major part of his life in our town. He’s remembered now as an individual, a member of the community, and a cultural icon. Scott Ross discussed this legacy with Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate who spent time with Burroughs in Lawrence. The interview is paired with excerpts from an audio diary he kept to record the experience of the centenary
Written by Scott Ross. Tune into Ad Astra Radio the second and fourth Thursday of every month at 7pm on KJHK 90.7fm.