William S. Burroughs
film ● 21.4.11 ● 21u. @'t Blijvertje
3e Oosterparkstraat 64hs, A'dam
'While burnishing the Burroughs mystique, A Man Within assiduously tries to humanize an author whom it is all too easy to view as an avenging nihilist, a black hole of icy misanthropic contempt. It goes into considerable depth about his homosexuality. A product of the pre-gay liberation era, he had a physical passion for Ginsberg that was mostly unrequited, and for most of his life relied largely on hustlers for sex.
His on-and-off heroin addiction and writings about drugs may have made him a hipster saint, nicknamed the pope of dope, but his message about heroin was a warning not to take it. He was obsessed with control, and for many years was controlled by his addiction.
Two family tragedies stalked him. In 1951, while playing a drunken game of William Tell in Mexico, he accidentally put a bullet through the head of his wife, Joan Vollmer, whom his friend, the poet John Giorno, says he loved deeply.
"I'm forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death," Burroughs is remembered as saying. As a commentary, Burroughs is heard quoting from Edwin Arlington Robinson: "There are mistakes too monstrous for remorse."
In 1981 his son, Billy Burroughs, who had tried to emulate his father, died of acute alcoholism. It was the only time, Giorno says, he ever saw Burroughs weep.
Late in life Burroughs softened somewhat, recalls James Grauerholz, his companion and executor of his estate. They moved to Lawrence, Kansas where Burroughs, an avid gun fetishist, took up visual art and produced "shotgun paintings", by shooting a can of spray paint placed in front of a plywood board.'
→ New York Times