Henry Miller Memorial Library

Big Sur, California
"The real leader has no need to lead - he is content to point the way."

Are you familiar with the “unofficial” Henry Miller Memorial Library anthem, “Marilyn,” by Dan Bern?

Are you familiar with the “unofficial” Henry Miller Memorial Library anthem, “Marilyn,” by Dan Bern? If not, check it out below.

We venture to guess it’s probably familiar to many of you who’ve seen Magnus perform it.

In fact, legend has it, a young Dan Bern came by the Library, like, 19 years ago, and left a tape with Magnus which contained this very song. Magnus was smitten, reached out to Dan, and thus began a long and fruitful relationship (Dan’s played here many times.)

But enough of my yammering! Enjoy!

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Announcing the publication of the newest edition of PING PONG – the Henry Miller Library’s journal of the arts!

The Henry Miller Memorial Library is pleased to announce the 2014 publication of Ping-Pong, a journal of the arts. Get yours here!

PingPong_cover2014a-2The editors endeavor to keep the literary journal relevant to our global art and literary scene by publishing a vibrant group of poets, writers, painters, and photographers with a bent toward cultural dialogue.

This issue coincides with the 50th anniversary of the 1964 overturning by the Supreme Court of an earlier ruling which found the Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller to be obscene, thus allowing for the seemingly free speech some of us enjoy today.

Ping-Pong is an annual publication. In this issue of Ping-Pong we serve up a number of banned Russian writers: Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Daniil Kharms, Alexander Blok, as well as contemporary Russian poet, Ilya Kaminsky. Also featured in this issue is an interview with Alice Notley.

Our Folio project returns with contemporary poets responding to an Alexander Blok poem. This issue also has the 2014 Ping-Pong poetry competition winner Mark Lamoureux’s poem, “Summer Henge, Winter Henge,” as well as 2013 winner Lina Vitkauska, who returns to our pages with a meditation on Jodorowsky’s Fando y Lis.tropicofcancer

The Ping-Pong release party: “Speech is not Free,” will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the obscenity trial by featuring writers and artists reading from banned books and also reading original works.

The party will take place at the Coagula Curatorial Gallery on November 7th from 7:00-10:00 pm, 974 Chung King Road, Los Angeles, California.  Facebook event page HERE.

Music. Wine and cheese reception.  Readings will begin at 7:30 pm.

The event is by donation and open to the public. Also featured will be a Henry Miller exhibit curated by the Henry Miller Memorial Library’s executive director, Magnus Toren.


Book information:

Ping-Pong Literary Journal,

Henry Miller Memorial Library

48603 Highway 1

Big Sur, CA, October 2014

ISSN 1083-0944

Paperback, 211 pages, $15.00


Book order link HERE.

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Sunday! We’ll be auctioning off ten – count’em, ten – incredibly gorgeous slabs that were milled from a fallen redwood tree here in 2012.

forsite10-16Meet Slab #16. It likes romantic comedies, “honesty,” and long walks on the beach. Slab #16 can be yours this Sunday at the first-ever Big Sur Redwood Auction at the Henry Miller Memorial Library!

We’ll be auctioning off ten – count’em, ten – incredibly gorgeous slabs that were milled from a fallen redwood tree here in 2012.

This is the most beautiful old-growth redwood in the world.

That’s Sunday, Oct. 5th at the Henry Miller Library, 48603 Highway 1, in Big Sur, at 1 pm.

Even if you’re not in the market for a slab, come for the fun of it – Heller Estates and Big Sur Bakery will also be on hand, providing refreshements and appetizers!

Questions? Call us 831-667-2574

For more info and to see the ten slabs, click here: http://bigsurredwood.wordpress.com/slabs/


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Important news re: Sunday’s historic Big Sur Redwood auction at the Henry Miller Library!

This Sunday is our big Big Sur Redwood Auction – we’ll be auctioning off ten slabs milled from the tree that fell at the Library in December, 2012!

Even if you don’t plan on bidding on a slab, come for the historic nature of the event — and the party, as Heller Estate and the Big Sur Bakery will be on hand to add to the festivities!!

That’s this Sunday, Oct. 5th, at 1 pm, here at the Henry Miller Library. Bidding starts at 4 pm.

Check out the available slabs here.

FAQs here!

Questions?  Call us! 831-667-2574!


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Reason #2 to attend Thursday’s annual HML benefit: Wilco’s Nels Cline is performing!

Reason #2 to attend Thursday’s annual HML benefit: Wilco’s Nels Cline is performing!  He’s one of the greatest living guitarists in the world. Don’t believe us?  Check this out:

Thurs. Oct. 2nd at the Henry Miller Library: Cibo Matto, Nels Cline, poetry from Eleni Sikelianos, live painting & auction via visual artist Aaron Adamski, miso soup from Miso Horny (!) – and MORE for only $35 BUCKS.

And proceeds benefit the Library!  What’s not to love?  Click here for tickets or call us at 831-667-2574!

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coverwebWow! Philip Glass’ Days and Nights Festival lands on the cover of Good Times!! Tickets still available for “Visitors” screening tonight!

coverwebWow! Philip Glass’ Days and Nights Festival lands on the cover of Good Times!!

Don’t be surprised if a mini-stampede ensues for tonight’s screening of “Visitors” (two of the other festival events are sold out.)

Don’t miss out on what will be a mind-blowing evening under the stars here in Big Sur – an evening that also includes a Q&A with Philip and director Godfrey Reggio!

Tickets are here.

Here’s what you can expect this evening:

* A mind-blowing cinematic experience from two of the most innovative and acclaimed masters of the last century.
* A mind-blowing, surround-sound aural experience, as Monterey’s Paul Cain will bring his world-class sound system (!) down the coast for this event.
* A pre-screening Q&A with Philip and Godfrey (!!)
* All under the stars and towering redwoods, complemented by the “world’s best popcorn,” coffee, and tea.

 All of this for a mere $50 — a price that would make Big City types (we’re looking at you New York, San Fran, and yes, even Santa Cruz) howl in envy.

And here’s Philip:

“I’ve been all over the world, but Big Sur has a special quality,” explains Glass. “Mother Nature is really showing off there. When I’m playing, I feel that we’re almost embraced by the redwood trees….”

Good Times link here!

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This Thurs. Sept 25th! Screening of “Visitors” with Meet and Greet with Philip Glass and director Godfrey Reggio!

This Thurs. Sept 25th! Screening of “Visitors” with Meet and Greet with Philip Glass and director Godfrey Reggio!

Tickets here; more info below!

VIP Meet & Greet
Spend quality time with Philip Glass and Godfrey Reggio prior to the evening’s main event.

Screening with Q&A
Philip Glass and Godfrey Reggio answer your questions and discuss the creation of their latest instant classic.

VISITORS reveals humanity’s trancelike relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species. The film is visceral, offering the audience an experience beyond information about the moment in which we live. Comprised of only seventy-four shots, VISITORS takes viewers on a journey to the moon and back to confront them with themselves.

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The Philip Glass Days and Nights Festival featured in this week’s Monterey County Weekly!

“Next week, Sept. 25-28, Glass’ Days and Nights Festival returns to Carmel, Big Sur and Seaside for its fourth year.

Each of his namesake festivals is done in support of his dream of building a legacy performance and meeting hall in Big Sur called the Philip Glass Center for the Arts, Science, and the Environment.
This year’s events wholly embrace each of the center’s three pillars, and throw in humor to boot……”

““These topics are so big they can’t be by themselves. We take parts of things and put them together,” Glass says.

It comes together in four days of music, poetry, film, science, environmentalism, storytelling and dance, sometimes in the same performance. Like in the films of former Christian Brothers monk Godfrey Reggio, or in the playful hijinks and sudden swells of emotion of radio host Ira Glass’ dance performance. It’s such a medley that even Philip Glass (a working, whirling dervish who travels constantly) struggles to keep it in order.

“It happens in many ways; on the stage [or] in the minds of the audience,” he says. He has help. While he’s curated the nighttime portion of the festival, the daytime programming has been given over to the chair of CSUMB’s Cinematic Arts department, Enid Baxter Ryce [full disclosure, with a touch of bragging: she’s my wife], who’s assembled a lineup of films, an animation and puppetry workshop, talks and a social event, all free to the public…..”

Check out the whole Monterey County Weekly article here!

Check out Days and Nights here.

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Reflections on the 2014 Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series Gala Finale

Earlier this month say the Grand Finale of the 9th annual Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series.

Let us set it up for you. This past year, we received over 1,000 submissions from 80 countries. The Series’ screening committee whittled down this list to 54 films, which were screened across the summer. Every Thursday night in June, July, and August, hundreds of visitors came to the Henry Miller Memorial Library to watch four of five of these films. You probably knew this.

These 54 films were subsequently sent to the Series Jury who then selected the “best of the best.” The Jury consists of composer Philip Glass, musician and artist Laurie Anderson, actress Kirsten Dunst, Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, producer/film director Michael Polish, film editor Susan Littenberg, and film producer Lawrence Inglee.

Which bring us to the gala finale. The winners were:

3rd place: Baghdad Messi (UAE/Belgium) by Sahim Omar Kalifa.
2nd place: Helium (Denmark) by Anders Walter
1st place: Zela Trovke (Spain/Netherlands) by Asier Altuna

Baghdad Messi was about a one-legged boy, his love of soccer, and living in the warzone that is Baghdad.

Helium was about (another) boy, this one terminally ill, and how a wise and sagacious janitor eased his transition into the next world with a fantastical depiction of a land called Helium.

Zela Trovke was a documentary capturing a Slavic gypsy/chamber troupe performing a fierce folk tale whereby a woman murders her husband.

Now the film savant/sociologist/cultural critic in all of us would like to step back and make some sweeping generalization about how these three films captured the zeitgeist of the times and spoke to our collective unease in this, an ever-confusing and messed up world.

We will resit that urge.ZelaTrovkepromo

So let us first talk about what the films had in common. All were, as one could imagine, incredibly produced. Baghdad Messi, though not a documentary, had a hyper-realistic vibe, while the camera work in Zela Trovke, especially during the musical performance scenes, was stunning.

Helium can be analyzed separately; it certainly had a more cinematic and,  dare we say, an almost Spielbergian quality in terms of its embrace of childhood, innocence, fantasy, and the idea of escape. The special effects weren’t tacky and the actor who portrayed the janitor was pitch-perfect, straddling the line between his befuddled-professor and, essentially, an end-of-life counselor personas.

Perhaps its no surprise that Helium won an Oscar and was also voted the Audience Winner of the night.

Helium_web_1Bottom line here? All three films addressed death, each in a unique way: the gritty, urban hellscape of Iraq; the surrealist whimsy in Helium (which, in a way, made it the saddest movie EVER); and the macabre folk menace of Zela Trovke.

It would be foolish, once again, to draw anything more from these selections, because last we checked, movies have addressed the topic of death prior to 2014.

See you next year!






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