may 9

Screening: "William S. Burroughs: A Man Within"

Liberty Hall Cinema

Check out our full preview of this event, featuring an interview with filmmaker Yony Leyser as well as Peter Weller, who narrates the film.

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within — a new documentary film by Yony Leyser, a former KU student and Lawrence resident — will take a break from an national tour of film festivals for a special premiere in Lawrence, the home of the famous writer for the last 15 years of his life.

The director of the film will do Q&A with Burroughs’ companion and executor of the estate, James Grauerholz. More info on the film at burroughsthemovie.com.

From the promoter: Counter-cultural icons John Waters, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Laurie Anderson, David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant, Genesis P-Orridge, Jello Biafra, and Iggy Pop, most of whom visited Burroughs at his Kansas home, appear in the film along-side many Lawrence residents. The film also features never-before-seen archival material and home movies of Burroughs, a long-time Lawrence resident.

The film paints a tender portrait of the Beat author and American icon, whose works at once savaged conservative ideals, spawned vibrant countercultural movements, and reconfigured 20th century culture.

Born the heir of the Burroughs’ adding machine estate, William S. Burroughs struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems and relationships. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His
novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government, until the courts eventually overturned their decision in 1966, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

William Burroughs was one of the first writers to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and record his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. However, his friends were left wondering, did William ever find happiness? This extremely personal documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time. Music by Sonic Youth and Patti Smith.