Michael McClure was a famous poet long before he met Jim Morrison or Ray Manzarek. He was part of the Beat Generation who read at the Six Gallery poetry reading that launched Allen Ginsburg’s reputation as a poet when he read “Howl”, which would eventually lead to an obscenity trial. A fictionalized cameo of McClure appeared in Jack Kerouac’s “The Dharma Bums” and “Big Sur”. McClure is giving a poetry reading in Las Vegas on April 30 and the next day leading a workshop for poets on Sunday May 1.
McClure first met Jim Morrison through Judy Courson (Pam Courson’s sister) who knew McClure’s agent and Morrison wanted to meet McClure. Morrison met McClure in New York in early 1968 while McClure was rehearsing his play “The Beard”. Their initial meeting didn’t go well until they started talking literature and poetry. During The Doors European tour the two met with producer Elliott Kastner who was interested in doing a film version of McClure’s “The Beard” with Morrison playing the lead of Billy the Kid. Kastner didn’t think Morrison was right for the role possibly because Morrison was hungover and didn‘t look good. In the aftermath of the Miami incident Morrison and McClure attempted to write a film treatment for McClure’s “The Adept” (see “Jim Morrison and Michael McClure Adapt the Adept”). Morrison and McClure rented an office in a building on the Sunset Strip, in an interview with Frank Lisciandro that was published in McClure’s “Lighting the Corners” (and later republished in Lisciandro’s book “Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together”), McClure remembers that Morrison took the project seriously and was never late.
After Morrison’s death McClure would appear together with Ray Manzarek. McClure read his poems to the backing of Manzarek’s keyboards. They released DVD’s and CD’s including “Love Lion”, “The Third Mind” and “The Piano Poems”. McClure and Manzarek performed together at 200 shows.
McClure’s poetry reading is at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 McLeod Drive in Las Vegas at 7pm (for more information call 702-455-7340). On May 1 McClure will lead a writer’s workshop at the Clark County Library, from 1-2pm, at 1401 E. Flamingo Rd, also in Las Vegas. For more information and registration call 702-507-3400. Both events are free.
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