What are you into? What’s so good about Big Sur? We want to hear from you!!!

Send us a video of you explaining “what you’re into!”  All it takes is an iphone! Send it to hmlib@henrymiller.org !

As you know, we here in Big Sur are a primitive lot. Internet is slow. Food after 10 pm is non-existent. And access to the collective Zeitgeist consists of the police blotter in the Carmel Pine Cone. Case in point: The other day, our staff Mike told someone he had a friend who “worked for an app.” The city-dwelling person corrected him: You can’t work for an app. You work for a start-up that creates an app.

Who knew?

Indeed, it’s these little things that make our sleepy existence here quaint, comforting, and easy to ridicule.

But it comes at a cost. Namely, our connection to “the real world.”

Nataniel Hawthrone called this voluntary detachment from fellow man “the unpardonable sin,” and that’s pretty heavy. We want no part of that.

So we need your help.

Every week during our movie nights, we’re going to show a brief video clip called “What I’ve Been Into.”

We’d like you to be the person in that video.

Whip out your iPhone (they’re still around, right?), introduce yourself, and tell us what you’ve been into. It will appear on the big screen!  For an example, here’s Dan R!

And the more Big Sur-focused the better!  A short film from the bar at Nepenthe, the Gorge, Jade Cove, Bixby Lime Kilns, South Coast Gold Mines…the mind reels!

Please just keep it under 5 minutes. And by all means, focus on as many things, memes, news, previous adventures, collages, etc. as you’d like: a grab-bag approach is something our hazelnut-sized brains can (probably) process. 1 minute up to 5!

Enlighten us. Patronize us. Give us a window into your 21st-century world. We’ve heard (mostly) good things!

As always,

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Now accepting submissions for the latest literary endeavor from the Henry Miller Memorial Library: Ping Pong Free Press!

It’s a new year and it’s time to announce the latest literary endeavor from the Henry Miller Memorial Library: Ping Pong Free Press.

Ping-Pong Free Press understands itself as furthering Miller’s legacy by tapping into the contemporary literary and artistic milieu…If you are interested in submitting your work for our competition go HERE! 

Contest Judge: Melissa Broder

Contest deadline: April 15th, 2016

Prize: 500.00 and 10 copies of your book published by the Henry Miller Memorial library’s imprint: Ping-Pong Free Press

More info about this endeavor below:

Contest opens on January 1st, 2016.

4183The Henry Miller Memorial Library champions the literary and artistic legacy of Henry Miller. This cannot mean only the writings of Miller himself. We may not have even know about Miller had it not been for Anais Nin. Miller existed at the peripheries of American literature, but his sources, and his influence, extend far beyond this country, to the international literary avant-garde.

Ping-Pong Free Press follows in the footsteps of its literary parent, Ping-Pong magazine and therefore sees itself as a current and vital part of that same impulse. It represents a living connection to the centers and peripheries of contemporary literary culture, both in the USA and beyond. As such, we are not looking for writing that is pretty.

Miller himself was not a pretty writer. But he was vital. That is why even when Miller was hardly read in the U.S., Kenneth Rexroth describes himself meeting “…miners in the Pyrenees, camel drivers in Tmelcen, gondoliers in Venice” who all asked, “Do you know M’sieu Millaire?” Ping-Pong Free Press will not be censored, will not bow to whimsy, will speak loudly in the face of injustice, will support those artists whose voices are sometimes silenced.  Thus American writers who exist, as Miller did for so much of his career, just under the radar of the mainstream literary world, will be represented by Ping-Pong Free Press.  henrymiller1

And just as Miller was and is as much an international literary figure as he was/is an American one, so too does Ping-PongFree Press seek to reach beyond our shores in order to bring unknown, or lesser known, writers from around the world into more prominence in English.  Ping-Pong Free Press understands itself as furthering Miller’s legacy by tapping into the contemporary literary and artistic milieu.

The writers and artists represented in the magazine Ping-Pong are heirs to Miller’s legacy, and were Miller alive and writing today, these would be his peers and contemporaries. It has been argued, accurately, in my opinion, that were Miller writing in 2015, he would be no more a part of the mainstream US literary world than he was in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60’s. He was not a writer for the market. He would be denounced as vulgar, as obscene, as barbaric as he was then.

The work to be published in Ping-Pong Free Press is similarly not written for the market, but for the ages. It is challenging, it asks much of its reader. It’s not easy. It is, though, a vital continuation, and contribution, to Henry Miller’s literary legacy.

Once again, submit HERE!

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Announcing The Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop/Advanced Master Class, March 4-6th, 2016!!

Announcing The Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop/Advanced Master Class, March 4-6th, 2016!!

aeiel-tichardsonThe Big Sur Writing Workshops is proud to announce the first Advanced Workshop with master classes for juvenile fiction to be given by experienced and accomplished, award-winning authors, agents from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and editors!

If you are a writer of middle grade or young adult fiction and want to bring your work up a notch and have already polished your material, workshopped or revised with critique groups, and feel your work is almost ready to send to agents and editors, this may be the perfect weekend workshop for you.

Mingle with other highly qualified writers in the spectacular setting of Big Sur with redwoods, mountains and the ocean. One price includes workshop, all meals from Friday night until Sunday lunch,  and housing in cottages for two nights.

Space is limited to 32 writers, who must send the first chapters ahead for approval into the workshop.

Click here for more info!



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Great News! The Zomba Prison Project earns nod in the Best World Music Album category!

Indeed, you may have read the title and wondered, “Interesting. But why is it good news?”

Let us set it up for you.

Meet Ian Brennan (left), author, musician, and Grammy-winning producer. If his name sounds familiar, that shouldn’t be a 1430701632888complete surprise. That’s because Ian was instrumental in pioneering the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur as a music-venue by bringing the first national touring acts there in 2001 (Loudon Wainwright III, Jello Biafra, et al).

His benefit concerts have raised over $100,000 for local charities and political causes.  And as a musician and songwriter, the Boston Phoenix notes, “His lyrics are a model of economical, unpretentious, narrative songwriting.”

So, back in the summer of 2013, Ian and his wife, Italian photographer and filmmaker, Marilena Delli, traveled to the south of Malawi specifically to document and record the music of prisoners at the maximum security prison in Zomba.

Their efforts produced multiple albums, often the first ever released internationally from the respective regions and/or in their local languages.

And according to Rolling Stone, one album, the Zomba Prison Project’s I Have No Everything Here scored a surprise Grammy nomination in the Best World Music Album category.


“The idea had been fermenting for quite a long time,” producer Ian said of the undertaking. “Wanting to not only to give voice to people who are under-heard or underrepresented internationally, but also to go even deeper into some of the most under-heard and underrepresented people of these populations. My belief is almost everyone is musical and I think that people that are under-heard have even more to express potentially.”

Read more about the Zombra Prison Project here.

What’s more, Al Jazeera took a look at the making of the album. Check it out here.



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Looking Back…a Smattering of Memories from the Year that Was! (That’d be 2015)

William Faulkner famously said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” He’s right!

But that won’t stop us from looking back on the year that was.

Check out the nifty slideshow of some of 2015’s highlights here!

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Henry Miller Exhibition in Spain, Courtesy of VFL (Volunteer for Life) Isabel!

Each Library VFL is like a Johnny Appleseed, who, upon leaving Big Sur, sets forth to all corners of the globe spreading the, uhhh, figurative…um…seed of one Henry Miller. (Deepest apologies for a most unfortunate analogy.)

isabelTake Isabel (left), for example. She’s the best. She’s from Spain!  She volunteered at the Library over the summer. (Did we mention she is la mejor?)

Isabel returned to Spain and curated a Henry Miller exhibition entitled The Happy Rock— an homage to Brassai’s book on Henry– during the local Banned Book Fair, just outside the city, in September.

It was a resounding success!

The entire exhibition was composed by few boards, a fanzine, a library corner and we also collaborated with a library in Barcelona, Llibreria Calders, which provided Isabel with Miller’s books.

The Henry Miller Memorial Library itself was also on display, as Isabel framed her exhibition through the lens of “place,” the idea that a physical location can exude the spirit of a writer and be a work of art in and of itself. For example, a participating library from Catalonia curated a similar exhibition regarding Thoreau and his muse, Walden Pond.

Isabel will also curate a similar exhibition at the aforementioned LLibreria Calders!

Check out some photos in the slideshow!

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Only 14 TICKETS remain for the December 8th Pink Martini benefit performance at the Golden State Theatre in Monterey!

That’s right – with a week to go, only 14 TICKETS remain for Jesse Goodman Presents PINK MARTINI in a Benefit For The Henry Miller Library!

If you or your friends are on the fence about this show — which as we all know will be incredible — then TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

Click HERE for tickets before it sells out – and it WILL sell out!


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Ignore the data at your peril! Indications indicate Pink Martini – Dec 8 – will sell out. The chart doesn’t lie.

Data suggests photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes Than the average post. But what about charts? We’d say around, like, 400% more Likes.

Case in point: THIS chart showing how fast tickets are going to the December 8th Pink Martini show at the Golden State Theatre.

See the downward trend? With two weeks to do, isn’t it fair to assume these $40 upper balcony seats will sell out? Yes, it is fair to assume that.

And isn’t it a gorgeous chart?

Ps – Get your tickets here!


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Only 78 seats remain for the December 8th Pink Martini show at the Golden State Theatre!

We have an old adage here in the entertainment business:

If it starts to look like a sell out…and it starts to act like a sell out…and it starts to smell like a sell out….then it’s probably gonna sell out.

Case in point: Jesse Goodman & The Henry Miller Library Present Pink Martini In a Benefit For The Henry Miller Library, Tues. Dec. 8th at the Golden State Theatre in downtown Monterey.

As you can see here there are only 14 Orchestra seats remaining. Front Balcony seats are SOLD OUT. Upper Balcony seats, which conveniently enough, are also the most affordable, at only $40, are still available — but there’s only 78 of ’em!PM-BandPromo

Think about it.

It’s the party of the year. The world-famous Pink Martini. The historic Golden State Theatre. And you can have it all for only $40. 

So don’t delay, click here and get your tickets HERE AND NOW before it’s too late.

Because if you’re like us, you’ve recently taken notice of a strange, bewitching scent in the air this time of year, which, while similar to that familiar and evocative holiday blend of nutmeg and spices, is actually the beguiling odor of an imminent Pink Martini SELL OUT at the Golden State Theatre!


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“Speech is Not Free: 60th Anniversary Dinner Party in Celebration of ‘Howl.'” – A Review!

There we were. Mildly buzzed on wine and savory chicken, courtesy of Carmel’s Grapes of Wrath, nestled on the Library grounds with 100 or so of our closest friends. It was to be a night of poetry, movies, music, and a bit more wine.

“Speech is Not Free: 60th Anniversary Dinner Party in Celebration of ‘Howl'” did not disappoint.

There were many highlights, but for the sake of brevity, here are three. First off, the inimitable Anne Waldman, one of our most important poets across the last fifty years. Accompanied by her son, Ambrose Bye, she captivated the crowd with a sonorous, musical, and rhythmic reading style that transported the work into a Ginsbergian trace-like space.

Alas, we don’t have any footage of her performance, but check out this video of Anne performing her Anthropocene Blues, which was also performed at the event.

Then we had Maria Garcia Teutsch.  Maria is a poet, a teacher, the editor of Ping Pong, the President of the Library’s board — the list goes on!

Maria read from her new chapbook The Revolution Will Have Its Sky, which you can purchase HERE.  A compelling conceptual piece, the book comprisesrevolution cover of poems — character sketches, if you will — of various players involved in some sort of undefined revolution. We meet The Girl, The Executioner, The Thief, and so on. War…sex…intrigue…The end result was a vibrant, surreal landscape of mysterious individuals and their intentions. (And that’s not the wine talking!)

Then there was the main event: a screening of the film “Howl,” staring James Franco.  

Much like the recent films about Kerouac novels, specifically “Big Sur” and “On the Road,” it can be quite difficult, theoretically speaking, to create a film based wholly on a work such as Howl.

Why? For starters, it’s iconic. It’s legacy and impact is etched in our consciousness, so any attempt to dramatize it that doesn’t match our personal interpretation feels weird, foreign. (It’s the reason why I refuse to see the movie adaptation of “Cloud Atlas.” Or “Transformers 5: Age of Ultron” for that matter.)

Then there’s the obvious fact that unlike “On the Road,” “Howl” is, of course, a poem. Who makes a movie about a poem? Have you ever seen a movie about a poem?

I haven’t.

Thankfully, the brains behind the film—”Howl” was written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman—were hip to these challenge. And they successfully addressed them in two important ways. First, they stayed out of the way. They let Ginsberg speak for himself. All of the dialogue in the film came from interviews with Ginsberg directly, transcripts from the obscenity trial, and so forth.

Second, by letting Ginsberg tell the story, the film naturally framed the poem within the overall cultural landscape at the time. We see how, quite obviously, the poem didn’t suddenly appear out of nowhere; it was a reaction to the social, cultural, and sexual mores in Eisenhower America.

We loved it!  Check out the trailer here!


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