Rare Kerouac Conference Audio For Sale

Attention Kerouac fans: I have FOR SALE a complete set of 12 audiotapes documenting the Kerouac conference at Naropa in 1982. They are collected together in the original binder, which is covered in the original plastic. I bought them myself at the conference. They were recorded by Wind Over the Earth and presented by Naropa Institute. Many of the tapes have the contents handwritten on the labels. They feature readings, lectures, performances, seminars, panels and workshops conducted at Naropa by Ginsberg, McClure, Waldman, di Prima, Corso, Ferlinghetti and other leading figures of the U.S.literary avant-garde. Write me here or IM me Facebook. Please forward to anybody you might think would be interested in buying.Photo on 2-16-14 at 12.21 PM Photo on 2-16-14 at 12.22 PM

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off









Art isn’t something that you marry.
It’s something that you rape.
A picture is an artifice that calls for
as much cunning as a crime.

Art is such a battle.
Yellow is a horrid thing.

Make a drawing.
Then begin again.
Then trace it.
Then begin again and trace again.
This hard path I have entered on
takes patience.
Painting is one’s private life.
Sometimes I lock myself away
and I don’t see the people that I love.
And in the end I’ll suffer for it.
Moods of sadness will come over anyone
who takes up art.
These dismal moods have little
I can’t tell success from panic.
And I feel like a horse
whose cup is given to the jockey.

If painting weren’t so difficult
it wouldn’t be such fun.
You know
the Muses work all day
and then at night they dance.


From the words of Edgar Degas


Linda Frye Burnham 2013

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Shutdown

the bones of the forest watching
the lips of the river icing
the skin of the freeway cracking
the corpse of the big house steaming
the arms of the weather reaching
the heart of the country waiting
the eyes of the winter closing

Linda Frye Burnham 10/9/13

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off



It falls upon me like
a hun.
We wrestle,
roll across the bed.
Its knife-point pricks
my throat.
And after each false step,
each faux pas, every foolishness,
discountenance comes grinning
with its zipper in one hand,
its dagger in the other.

I writhe in shame and moan
my mea culpa.

And afterwards
I lie here like a bedsore.
I am a doxy of regret.
I am its concubine,
its sow.
Can this be love?

Today will be the day.
I’ll shower dress drink juice
go out.
I will divorce chagrin.
It will not fuck me any more.

Linda Frye Burnham 2013

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Van Gogh






I’m such a nobody.
I put my heart and soul into my work,
and in the process I have lost my mind.
The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting.
I am seeking, I am striving,
I am in it now with all my heart.
I only wish they’d take me as I am.
The sadness lasts forever.

Yet, in the depths of misery,
there is still a calm in me,
a music, a pure harmony.
And I see paintings, drawings
in poorest cottages and dirty corners.
Poetry surrounds us on all sides.

I’ve tried to show the café as a place
where one can come to ruin
or go mad, commit a crime.
I’m always doing what I can’t do yet,
so I can learn to do it.
I think that I still have it in my heart someday
to paint a bookshop
with a yellow front, pink in the evening…
a light in the midst of darkness.
I often think the night is more alive,
more richly colored than the day.
The lamps are burning
and the starry sky is over all.
I am not sure of anything,
but starry skies can make me dream.

–looking for a long time –
ripens you,
gives you a deeper meaning.

In spite of everything,
I’ll rise again.
For I have nature, art and poetry.
If that is not enough, what is?

From the words of Vincent Van Gogh

Linda Frye Burnham 2013

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off


Art evokes the unknowable mystery
without which the world would not exist.
Everything we see
hides something else.
We want to see what’s hidden
by the thing we see.
Bar from your mind
what you have seen.
Be on the lookout for
what you have never seen.

The mind sees in two senses:
It sees, as with the eyes
and it sees as a question.
We are surrounded by curtains of semblance.
(This is not a pipe!)
Our secret desire is for
change in the order of things.
The present reeks of mediocrity,
the atom bomb.
The power to surprise and delight us?
I call this power poetry.

I want nothing we know about.
Life obliges me to do something,
so I paint.

                       From the words of Rene Magritte


Linda Frye Burnham

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off


For Gracetzu de K

 Today is Boring Group’s Got Talent Day. It’s a randomly selected day in which the nearly 400 members of The Boring Group on Facebook are invited to show off their talent. It’s a competition, and the implication is that the most boring performance will take the prize. To my knowledge, the prize has not yet been announced, but it most likely be something like a pack of Dixie Cups.

As I lay in bed thinking about my contribution to BGGT Day, I had one of those non-boring epiphanies. I realized BG and its adorable little global community equal the story of my life. It’s a seemingly random crowd of people who came together by accident and fell in love with each other.

I have been doing this over and over for the last 40 years.

The impetus came when, at 19, I went to San Francisco with some girlfriends. There, in a coffeehouse, I discovered a circle of poets and artists who spent their time engaging, provoking and entertaining each other. They were lonely eccentrics who were relieved beyond measure to have found people like them. It satisfied some hunger in me.

I now realize I spent the rest of my life replicating those circumstances and connecting people in little love-knots like that.

It began in earnest in 1978 when I started a magazine, High Performance, to connect visual artists doing live performance all over the world. I had met a number of them and knew they needed to know they were not alone. To kick things off, I used a mailing list of “Correspondence Artists,” an international network of isolated people who were sending each other their visual artworks through snail mail (long before email, cell phones or the WWW). I invited them to  send me a picture of their latest performance art event, along with a description, the title, the date and the place.  Each piece would get two pages. I would publish as many as I could afford. It was a very early example of both crowd sourcing and virtual community building. The magazine grew to cover new art in all media. It lasted 20 years, and the community has lasted even longer than that. Some of us got married to each other (including me and my husband and partner in all this, Steven Durland).

In 1989, two crucial things happened simultaneously. With others, I started a local artists’ community in Santa Monica, Calif. The 18th Street Arts Complex is an acre of land containing five buildings full of utterly diverse spaces and people who live and work together. At its heart is Highways Performance Space, which I also co-founded to bring together local and traveling performance artists. I lived and worked there for five years, a time when it became the beating art heart of Los Angeles. It was home to all the loners who needed to find people like them. I wish I could count the times people fell into my arms and told me I saved their lives.

The other significant occurrence of 1989 was my discovery of Alternate ROOTS (Regional Organization of Theaters South), another collection of loners spread out across the southeast who had the curious notion that they could be artists without moving to New York or L.A. That they could make art in and with their own communities. Annually, they gathered in the mountains of North Carolina to share work and strategies. I was invited to join them because one of their members wanted me to help her in infiltrating this theater community with performance art. She had been reading High Performance. (I eventually became so entranced with the brotherhood and sisterhood of this group that I moved to the South.)

It wasn’t long before the magazine and the Complex in Santa Monica began to show and document artists working in communities. A whole new group of loners around the world became a network. In 1999, we stopped publishing on paper and moved to the World Wide Web, founding Art in the Public Interest (API, our fourth non-profit) with a Web site called the Community Arts Network (CAN). We all know by now the power of the Web to connect people in virtual communities, but back then it was still a bit of a strange idea to those in our existing networks, many of whom were serious Luddites. But there were universes of younger people who flocked to CAN, relieved to find out that there were artists all over the world trying to collaborate with their communities.

All good things come to an end, especially in the art world, where you run out of foundation funding after about 10 years. So CAN went into the Archive in the Clouds, but its members are still connected in cities, towns, universities and community spaces everywhere. They have a Facebook page.

Which brings me back to Boring Group. Now retired, I live in a happy, tiny village in the middle of North Carolina and I thought I didn’t need any more virtual communities. Then, thanks to the creative Grace Kavanaugh,  BG raised its beautiful head, beckoning lonely, eccentric bores from around the globe who were tired of the predictable banality of the Web and looking for a place to be snarky about it. There are almost 400 members now, and they are completely besotted with each other. It is vastly entertaining and deeply touching. Many people who felt alone in the world – in an extremely specific way – now have good friends who understand them. They console and support each other; they help each other out of trouble. Some are even meeting face-to-face.

Here I am again, in the middle of a virtual love-fest. I guess it’s just going to keep on happening. My name is Linda Frye Burnham and I am an addict. But I am not alone.

Linda Frye Burnham

July 2013

Posted in Art History, High Performance, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Steppenwolf, the Comedian

I’m rereading Steppenwolf, written by Hermann Hesse in 1929. It’s one of those pivotal books my generation devoured during our feverish 20s and 30s. I’m trying to understand what they meant to me then and what they mean to me now.

I started this project with The Magus by John Fowles (1966). Then, I’m sure, we were enamored of the tricky plot and the satanic details. Rereading it in 2012, I still find it valuable because it explains why the men of my generation were such emotionally unavailable dicks.

I’m only a third of the way into Steppenwolf, but it’s already clear that I used the book to examine what the hell was wrong with me then, and wrong with my friends. The copy I’m reading is the very copy I read back then, and it’s underlined and the margins are scribbled with “Sartre,” “Nietzsche” “Brian,” “Peter” — and the names of all my boyfriends if you have to know. We identified with Steppenwolf the tortured loner, too weird to excel in society and too wounded to escape the bourgeoisie. Now it’s clear the Steppenwolf and the rest of us just needed the right medication. But in 1929, Hesse suggested that Steppenwolves take refuge in humor.

I had to stop and write about this because in between old books I am also thinking about comedians and what they are like. Think Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Louis CK, Larry David, Dennis Leary, Sarah Silverman, Darrell Hammond, Lewis Black and anybody you know who is chronically, savagely funny. They are like the Steppenwolf. I’m going to quote a long passage from the book, so here goes:


From Steppenwolf:

“The lives of these infinitely numerous persons make no claim to the tragic; but they live under an evil star in a quite considerable affliction; and in this hell their talents ripen and bear fruit. The few who break free seek their reward in the unconditioned and go down in splendor. They wear the thorn crown and their number is small.

“The others, however, who remain in the fold and from whose talents the bourgeoisie reaps much gain, have a third kingdom left open to them, an imaginary and yet a sovereign world, humor. The lone wolves who know no peace, these victims of unceasing pain to whom the urge for tragedy has been denied and who can never break through the starry space, who feel themselves summoned thither and yet cannot survive in its atmosphere — for them is reserved, provided suffering has made their spirits tough and elastic enough, a way of reconcilement and an escape into humor.

“Humor has always something bourgeois in it, although the true bourgeois is incapable of understanding it. In its imaginary realm the intricate and many-faceted ideal of all Steppenwolves finds its realization. Here it is possible not only to extol the saint and the profligate in one breath and to make the poles meet, but to include the bourgeois, too, in the same affirmation. Now it is possible to be possessed by God and to affirm the sinner, and vice versa, but it is not possible for either saint or sinner (nor for any of the other unconditioned) to affirm as well that lukewarm mean, the bourgeois.

“Humor alone, that magnificent discovery of those who are cut short in their calling to highest endeavor, those who falling short of the tragedy are yet as rich in gifts as in affliction, humor alone (perhaps the most inborn and brilliant achievement of the spirit) attains to the impossible and brings every aspect of human existence within the rays of its prism. To live in the world as though it were not the world, to respect the law and yet to stand above it, to have possessions as though “one possessed nothing,” to renounce as though it were no renunciation, all these favorite and often formulated propositions of an exalted worldly wisdom, it is in the power of humor alone to make efficacious.”


That’s why I’m so thankful for comedy. It stands on the edge of the void, looks down into its horror, and comes back with the jokes.


Linda Frye Burnham, 2012

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

What Comedy Did for Me as a Mother

I miss George Carlin. He died recently and his fellow comedians held a memorial for him, citing his border crossings and daring innovations. Louis CK honored him as a mentor who opened his eyes to the power of comedy to uncover uncomfortable truths about our lives and make us laugh at them.

I was lucky to present George Carlin at Highways Performance Space in the early ’90s. Carlin did a routine that punctured the political correctness of our extremely hip audience and brought them to an astonished silence. (I wish I could remember its context!) In the green room, my daughter Jill and I were able to thank George and tell him what he meant to our family.

In 1973 my marriage ended and that split our family into two homes, one in L.A. and one in Laguna Beach. My kids and I spent a lot of time in the car, listening to comedy albums: “Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him” by Firesign Theatre (1968), “Let’s Get Small” (1977) and “A Wild and Crazy Guy” (1978) by Steve Martin, anything by Tom Lehrer, and, most memorable of all, “Class Clown” (1974) and “A Place for My Stuff” (1984) by George Carlin. We listened to them over and over again. In those days, we four desperate drifters needed all the laughs we could get.

We listened to Carlin’s stuff obsessively till we could do whole routines verbatim. Thirty years later all of us can still do all of the Seven Dirty Words you can never say on television: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits. (Raise your hand if you can do this with your mother.) Parts of these great works are still in our everyday family vocabulary. In group conversation, our timing is impeccable. Because of this training, Jill can call you up after an episode of “30 Rock” and do an entire Jack Donaghy monologue at full speed.

One of the greatest benefits of this interpersonal experience has been the readiness of my children to accept and share my twisted career. In 1976 I moved into a furniture loft in downtown L.A. with a performance artist and two years later I started a performance art magazine, High Performance. The third issue featured a cover shot of a performance by Hermann Nitsch in which a blindfolded man drinks blood. I was joined in 1982 by another sarcastic visionary, Steven Durland, and among our many border crossings was the publication of the first art magazine issue about AIDS.

In 1989, with gay performance artist Tim Miller, I founded Highways, a performance art space in Santa Monica that became a stage for artists confronting racism, sexism and other oppressions. It also became a mecca for gay activists and the locus for gay protest rallies, raves and performances by the likes of the fabulous Annie Sprinkle. My kids did not shrink from supporting these ventures and in fact Jill moved in and became my second in command.

Yes, there was some comedy involved in all this, but mostly it was serious intellectual and aesthetic business. I believe the bravery of artists like George Carlin prepared all of us to be ready for anything, to be able to face up to that which shocked and challenged us and to draw on empathy when confronted with despair and hopelessness. We had a kind of sensitive armor that many others didn’t have. And we still do. And we’re still laughing. When we are together it’s inevitable that we will sit down for an Eddie Izzard marathon or a couple episodes of “Louie.”

We’re good together. So it was double great when George Carlin showed up for our extended family at Highways. He let us give him a lot of hugs.












Linda Frye Burnham, 2012




Posted in A Side of Fryes, Art History, Downtown Los Angeles, High Performance | Tagged | 2 Comments


Most people in America think Art
is a man’s name.
Art is what you can get away with.
An artist is somebody who produces things
that people do not need to have.
You know it’s ART when the check clears.
My idea of a good picture is
one that’s in focus and of a famous person.
In the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes?
I’m bored with that line. I never use it anymore.
My new line is:
In 15 minutes everybody will be famous.

I don’t know where the artificial stops
and the real starts.
The nicer I am,
the more people think I’m lying.
It’s not what you are that counts,
it’s what they think you are.
Remember, they’ve never seen you before in their life.

They always say time changes things,
but actually you have to change them
You can’t make them change if they don’t want to,
just like when they do want to,
you can’t stop them.
Or is life a series of images that change
as they repeat themselves?
The channels switch, but it’s all television.

Sex is more exciting on the screen
and between the pages
than between the sheets.
People should fall in love with their eyes closed.
I believe in low lights and trick mirrors.
You have to be willing to get happy about nothing.
Sex is the biggest nothing of all time. So what.

That’s one of my favorite things to say.
So what. So what.
It takes a long time to learn that trick,
but once you do,
you never forget.
I never fall apart because I never fall together.

Life is so quick
and it goes away too quickly.
The machinery is always going.
Even when you sleep.
It doesn’t matter how slow you go
so long as you do not stop.
The mystery is gone
but the amazement is just starting.

From the words of Andy Warhol

Linda Frye Burnham 2012

warhol scars

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment