Skip to main content


50th Anniversary Celebration of William S. Burroughs' The Naked Lunch

Academy Award nominee Peter Weller hosted a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking novel The Naked Lunch by legendary Beat author and American icon William S. Burroughs. 

The night featured an art exhibition at Th!nkArt Salon of William S. Burroughs' work and never-before-seen footage of his turbulent life in a trailer of the feature-length documentary: William S. Burroughs: A Man Within by Yony Leyser. The documentary includes exclusive interviews with John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, Iggy Pop, David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant, James Grauerholz, and Sonic Youth.

This star-studded evening featured live music by Anni Rossi and Maya Jensen with readings, happenings, and performances by authors, poets, and Beat scholars, including:

•Peter Weller, star of David Cronenberg's film Naked Lunch (1991)
•Penny Arcade, Performance Artist, Andy Warhol Superstar
•Hal Willner, Musical Director, Saturday Night Live, recorded Burroughs, Dead City Radio (1990)
•John Giorno, poet, Subduing Demons in America
•Anne Waldman, Poet
•Davis Schneiderman, co-editor, Retaking the Universe: William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization
•John Long, author, Drugs and the Beats
•Kurt Hemmer, author, Encyclopedia of Beat Literature
•Tony Trigilio, author, Allen Ginsberg's Buddhist Poetics
•Dr. Bill Ayers, Distinguished Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago


Recorded Friday, August 28, 2009 at ThinkArt Salon.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.