"There ain't much time left," poet Jim Carroll once said. "You're born out of this insane abyss and you're going to fall back into it, so while you're alive, you might as well show your bare ass." In a life of mythic proportions, Carroll has followed his own advice, down to the sting of a needle in his vein. After reading Carroll's unabashedly honest poetry and work-in-progress journal, The Basketball Diaries, in the 1960s, Jack Kerouac observed, "At thirteen years of age, Jim Carroll writes better prose than 89 percent of the novelists working today."
Publication soon followed, then stardom as a literary prodigy. Carroll fell deep into heroin addiction, but he kept writing. He was featured in cover stories in Rolling Stone and Newsweek. He ran with Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Allen Ginsberg. And just when it seemed the tsunami would crash, he retired to California to kick his drug habit.
Re-emerging with the Jim Carroll Band in 1980, the author-turned-musician dropped Catholic Boy, a reflection of the nihilistic, bomb-fearing culture that saw John Lennon gunned down in the street -- and one of the last great punk albums. Since then, Carroll has split his time between music and literature, adored by critics of both.
Tonight at the Lion's Lair, 2022 East Colfax Avenue, Carroll bares his ass for Denver, once at 8 p.m. and again at 11. Tickets for the 21-and-over poetry performances are $27.50 per show and available at www.nipp.com. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
In 1991, Denver native and visually impaired musician Johnnie Johnson started Innervision Productions, a non-profit organization whose purpose is "to record, produce, and promote recording artists...who are physically disabled and/or disadvantaged." Group members have found their way onto both radio (low-power 88.1 FM) and television (channels 12 and 57). But they also play live. Starting today at 4 p.m., the Bottoms Up Tavern, 3124 South Parker Road in Aurora, will set the stage for some of Johnnie's posse to do their thang. Three members of the Innervision stable will be on hand to perform an eclectic set of old-school R&B and rock. A little DJ-spun dance music to fill the club-kid quotient will round out the evening.
Tickets are $4 in advance, $5 at the door. For details, call 303-607-9560 or visit www.innervisionrecords.org. -- Cub Buenning
Finding the power of poetry
"Poetry helps counteract the isolation that leads to...despair," explains Catherine O'Neill Thorn. "It is filled with hope, with a vision for the future; it empowers young people with their own voices," adds Thorn, the executive director of Art From Ashes, a non-profit organization that provides art therapy for youth. For the past nine years, Thorn has conducted poetry workshops at different juvenile residential and treatment centers around the state, helping at-risk youth find their inner voices.
Her latest batch of poets will have the chance to speak their minds today at Phoenix Rising, a sampling of the fruits of summer workshops run by Art From Ashes. Poets ranging in age from twelve to 24 will gather at The Spot urban youth center, 2100 Stout Street, to expound on their often-difficult lives. Local guest poets will also perform. A block party with music, breakdancing and dunking booths will get things started at 2 p.m., and readings will begin at 7:30 p.m.
"It's an opportunity to listen to the voices of young people," Thorn says, "to find out what they think and feel." For more information, call 303-291-0442. -- Adam Cayton-Holland