William S Burroughs: A Man Within


The Ticket that Exploded. Cover design by Thomi Wroblowski for a John Calder edition, 1985.

William S Burroughs: A Man Within is a feature-length documentary by Yony Leyser, and is, so the makers say, the first posthumous documentary about the always essential writer. Howard Brookner’s 1983 film, Burroughs, is probably definitive where the biography is concerned since Brookner was fortunate to get most of the key surviving Beats, family members, and allies while they were still around. Leyser’s trailer looks interesting, however (I’m hoping the film isn’t merely a parade of celebrities and soundbites), and it’s things like this which pass on the message of Burroughs’ continued importance to a new generation.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Dr. William Ayers, Diane DiPrima, Donovan, Dean Ripa (the world’s largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth. 

Release is slated for later this year. Meanwhile, there’s another trailer on YouTube for a Burroughs’-inspired short, The Japanese Sandman, based on WSB’s quest for the drug yage in the jungles of Panama. For an explanation of the title, consult the Reality Studio.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The William Burroughs archive

5 thoughts on “William S Burroughs: A Man Within”

  1. Always good to see references to Old Bull Lee, John, thanks for the memory. By the way, next Monday, August 31st, is the 65th birthday of Roger Dean. You probably know it already, maybe you’d give a tip in your blog, how about it?
    That’s it, my friend, all the best

  2. I didn’t know about Roger Dean’s birthday actually. To busy just now to write at length. He was a big early influence for me so he deserves some proper attention if I get round to doing anything.

  3. Yeah, he does deserve something big. He still exerts some influences on my own work, as he must have exerted in many other artists. Thanks for the attention, all the best!

  4. Unfortunately it was mostly a parade of celebrities and soundbites using film footage just because it was obscure and for no other good reason. John Waters came across pretty well though

  5. If you are interested in Burroughs the movie by Howard Brookner please get in touch smash@pinballonline.co.uk a new edition of the classic Burroughs doc will be remastered and restored soon with extra footage extras never seen before. Join us on a kickstarter campaign to be launched December 11th 2012.

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