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The Beard by Michael McClure

The Beard

by Michael McClure

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This couldn’t be anything but a product of the ‘60s—no other decade could possibly claim it, in the same way that no other decade could have claimed Hair, and in that sense The Beard is comparable to Hair, minus all the contrived horseshit—surprising considering the author Michael McClure is the only poet who I ever felt went out of his way to piss me off by trying too hard—and that, I suspect, is why it’s been left behind with most everything else from the sixties.

It’s not really good, but there’s just…something there that draws you to it, the repetitive nature of it, and the fact that all the ideas McClure is trying to get across would fit in two short sentences, so it’s not exactly a complicated play. Actress Jean Harlow and outlaw Billy the Kid are sitting together, wearing beards of paper scraps, passing the time in eternity and saying the same things over and over and over, slowly leading up to a very sexy ending that aggravated so many popo and Hollywood figures back in 1965 San Fran. About the only celebrity not closely connected to the Beats or the San Francisco Renaissance or the Black Mountain poets that did like it was Rip Torn, who took it upon himself to direct a number of early performances, which, coupled with his own performance in the Beastmaster, puts him in the running for the title of ballsiest actor.

"Before you can pry any secrets from me, you must first find the real me! Which one will you pursue?"
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4 vote alaskayo | Nov 10, 2009 |
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