City Lights Presents: BARNEY’S WALL
December 19 only
A searching probe of the psyche of bad-boy publisher and radical culture warrior Barney Rosset, who defied censors, smashed sexual taboos, and unleashed the Sixties counter-culture.
Director Sandy Gotham Meehan in conversation with City Lights’ Paul Yamazaki and Zyzzyva’s Oscar Villalo, after the film.
What makes a rebel? This documentary probes the psyche of bad-boy publisher and free speech warrior Barney Rosset, whose mid-century legal and cultural battles smashed sexual and political taboos in the United States — unleashing the counterculture of the 1960s and introducing millions of young intellectuals to the most radical currents in literature, film, theater and politics.
In the film, artists, a neurologist and a shaman labor to decode the symbols, dioramas and clues to Barney’s obsessions and life, embedded in his 3D wall mural. Is the mural a joke? An acid trip? An hallucinogenic visual memoir? By turns humorous and poignant, this unconventional and timely bio-doc of the firebrand who bequeathed America the 60’s, Beckett, Burroughs, and the Beats affirms the power of imagination, resilience, and unfettered free expression, reminding us that it takes only one defiant visionary to marshal a passionate army of resistance against cultural repressiveness and overreaching government authority.
Directed and produced by Sandy Gotham Meehan and William Cole. 2017. 95min. DCP.
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