Monday, August 05, 2013

Electric Banana by Mary Beach (1975)

Electric Banana
Mary Beach
Cherry Valley Edition
Cherry Valley, NY

This is a prize for some of us collectors. Mary Beach was an American artist much forgotten in her homeland. This chapbook is a collection of cut-ups she put together in a similar fashion to William S Burroughs, who wrote the intro to this chapbook. Mary Beach was also the shadow behind "Beach Books, Texts and Documents" which printed a paperback version of Minutes to Go in 1968. In fact, many of Burroughs work in the 1960s were translated into French BY Mary Beach and her press published a few additional works as well.

This particular chapbook was published by Cherry Valley Edition which is the imprint for Charles Plymell. His press started in 1974 so this is an early chapbook. It's printed on brown paper. Some merging of mimeo with "standard chapbook formatting"?

My poet/friend Michael Gushue sent me a link to Lost Recordings which lists and describes The Lost Tapes of Carl Weissner, Claude PĂ©lieu and Mary Beach, 1967-1969. There is a 12 minute recording of Mary Beach reading from Electric Banana and it's interesting to try and read along with the text only to notice that the text was published differently than on tape. Ms. Beach's name ought to be better associated with Burroughs at least (except that Burroughs never met a woman he liked, that he didn't shoot in the head). The link with the Beach and other recordings was set up and is run, nominally, by Jeb Birmingham who additionally is the cofounder of Mimeo mimeo.