The Ginsberg Beat

If you ask Naropa-schooled Austin performance artist Teresa Harrison, she’ll say that Allen Ginsberg’s groundbreaking mid-century epic poem Howl — recently in the public eye as the inspiration for last year’s film docudrama of the same name with James Franco as Ginsberg — fits modern times as handily as it scoped the mid-century underground. The undercurrent is still about our connections to other human beings, closeted and otherwise, in an existential world battered by war, madness and discrimination. Harrison’s stage adaptation, HOWL, opens with a preview performance at 8 p.m. tonight in Wesley Chapel, 1290 Folsom Street in Boulder.

“It’s just me, a keyboard player and a bartender,” says Harrison, who sees herself as a conduit for Ginsberg’s words and intent. “It’s not a recitation in the classic sense. Coming from Naropa, I take a very physical approach to the text and imagery. As a poem, Howl is delicious for someone like that; it’s a poem packed with verbs. And I sense that a lot of the action verbs Ginsberg used came out of humans not being able to be effective anymore because of the times. The questions he asks are the universal ones that we are still asking — things we are still bumping up against in the present.”

HOWL, which also includes live music composed and performed by Paul Fowler, continues on Fridays and Saturdays through May 6; admission is $12 to $14. Go to or call 1-800-838-3006 for information and tickets.
April 21-23, 8 p.m.; April 28-30, 8 p.m.; May 5-6, 8 p.m., 2011

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd