First InterZone Beat Festival, the Beat Hotel

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First InterZone Beat Festival, the Beat Hotel

Postby Tony » Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:52 pm


Celebrating the birthday of renowned American writer William S. Burroughs, The Beat Hotel in Desert Hot Springs, California will present the First InterZone Beat Festival February 4 – March 5, 2006.

The Festival will feature, in association with OMC Gallery, an exhibition of photographs of the original Beat Hotel in Paris by Harold Chapman. This is a rare opportunity to see “behind the scenesâ€￾ during the formative years of the Beat generation. This will be the first exhibition of Chapman’s work in the United States.

Press Preview: Friday February 3, 5-7pm.

Exhibition Opening: Saturday, February 4, 2-7pm. Performance by Grant Hart, Husker Du founder, singer/songwriter, 6:00 pm.

Burroughs Birthday Celebration: Sunday, February 5, 11am-1pm. Performance by Grant Hart.

Open House, February 18, 1–6pm.

Exhibition Closing: Sunday, March 5, 4-7pm.

Daily guided tours: by appointment only.


The original Beat Hotel was located in the Latin Quarter in Paris. Between 1957 and 1963 when the hotel closed, a group of artists and writers lived in the hotel and were photographed by Harold Chapman. William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Brion Gysin and Harold Norse were some of the occupants, the core of the Beat Generation.

William S. Burroughs remembered it as the “No-Nameâ€￾ hotel, where he wrote most of Naked Lunch. Allen Ginsberg wrote the first drafts of his landmark poem, “Kaddishâ€￾ at the hotel and also stayed there while the furor over his poem “Howlâ€￾ raged in America. Gregory Corso, who named the hotel the “Beat Hotelâ€￾, wrote two of his best known poems, “Marriageâ€￾ and “Bombâ€￾ at this location. Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville invented the Dream Machine at the hotel, and Gysin and William Burroughs created the “cut upâ€￾ method as well. It was a site of great artistic experimentation.


Living in the Beat Hotel in Paris for six years, Harold Chapman had unlimited access to its occupants. Cultivating an aura of anonymity, he could “oozeâ€￾ into a room, snap a shot with a ½ second time exposure, and “oozeâ€￾ back out, capturing the moment without intrusion. Then he would head for his room to develop his negatives, pushed to 3600 ASA. These images capture the formative years of the Beat Generation.

Chapman created a permanent record of this ephemeral period of time that ended with the gutting of the hotel in 1963. He was the last guest to depart the hotel as one-by-one all the rooms were destroyed.

Chapman is the author, co-author or photographic contributor of several books including:; Cuisine pour Toi et Moi (1969); Victorian Life in Photographs (1974); Vanishing France (1975); The Day Before Yesterday: A Photographic Album of Daily Life in Victorian and Edwardian Britain (1978); Everyman’s France (1982); Those Were the Days: A Photographic Album of Daily Life in Britain, 1919-1939 (1983); The Beat Hotel (1984); and Beats á Paris (2001).


Forty years after the destruction of the Parisian original, the legendary Beat Hotel has been reborn in the desert of southern California. As in Brion Gysin’s novel The Last Museum, the Beat Hotel is now located in the California desert, two hours east of Los Angeles, on the San Andreas Fault.

The hotel is located in Desert Hot Springs, California, about ten miles north of Palm Springs. The hotel, originally built in 1957 is a small, intimate mid-century modern building with eight guest rooms, and natural hot mineral water pool and spa.

The current incarnation of the Beat Hotel houses a collection of artwork by William S. Burroughs, including collaborations with Keith Haring and Robert Rauschenberg. The hotel’s collection also contains works by artists who were part of Burroughs’ circle, including John Giorno, Lynda Benglis and George Condo, and photographs by Allen Ginsberg. It houses a substantial library of works by William S. Burroughs and related Beat authors, including limited and rare editions. There is also an extensive collection of photographs and videos of the Beats.

OMC GALLERY, Huntington Beach, California

The OMC Gallery was founded 1999 in Düsseldorf, Germany as an American-German Partnership to present Contemporary Art with a special focus on International Photography (Vintage and Contemporary),
Painting, Work on Paper and Small Objects.

In Europe OMC presented 24 exhibitions and has participated in International Art Fairs in Paris, Rotterdam, Cologne, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In September 2004 the Gallery moved to Southern California.


The InterZone Beat Festival is an homage to the Beat Generation. The Festival commemorates the birthday of William S. Burroughs (Feb. 5, 1914). Each room of the Beat Hotel will be installed with photographs by Harold Chapman. Beat-related videos and slide presentations, including interviews with Chapman will be shown. Books and original photographic works by Chapman will be available for purchase. Grant Hart, Huskur Du founder, singer/songwriter and friend and collaborator of William S. Burroughs will perform.

Please visit!

Tony Merchell

Architectural Photographer

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