BUREAU OF PUBLIC SECRETS


 

 

Videos



A Celebration of Kenneth Rexroth
  [93 min. total]
        This event was organized by City Lights Books to celebrate the life and work of Rexroth and in particular the appearance of Rexroth’s Complete Poems, which had just been published by Copper Canyon Press. It took place February 8, 2003, at the San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium, with an overflow crowd of more than 500 people. The video was made by my late dear friend Andy Fahrenwald. It opens with some views of an exhibit of Rexroth books and paintings in the hallways, then moves into the auditorium, where Paul Yamazaki (City Lights) introduces the event and the seven speakers: Sam Hamill, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Jane Hirshfield, Ken Knabb, Terry Tempest Williams, and Robert Hass. The video appears on YouTube in five parts:
        Part 1. Preliminaries, then Sam Hamill, then Lawrence Ferlinghetti (including a recording of Rexroth with jazz).
        Part 2. Lawrence Ferlinghetti (cont.), then Michael McClure.
        Part 3. Michael McClure (cont.), then Jane Hirschfield, then Ken Knabb.
        Part 4. Ken Knabb (cont.), then Terry Tempest Williams.
        Part 5. Robert Hass.

An Evening with Ken Knabb at City Lights  [124 min. total]
        This event took place January 25, 2011, at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. The host, Peter Maravelis, had repeatedly asked me to do an event there, and enthusiastically agreed to the idea an extended evening in which I would recount my discovery of the situationists in 1969 and my trajectory since that time. There was an overflow crowd (admittedly the room was not very large) and quite a few of the attendees were still there when we finally ended the Q&A after more than two and a half hours. This video (also made by Andy Fahrenwald) appears on YouTube in five parts. The first four parts are about 30 minutes each. Part 5 runs out after just 3 minutes, though the event actually continued for another half hour or so.
      
 Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5

A talk at the San Francisco Anarchist Bookfair  [25 min. total]
        This short talk plus Q&A took place April 9, 2011, at the annual San Francisco Anarchist Bookfair in Golden Gate Park (now the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair). Ive had a table there with my own publications for virtually every year since its origin in the 1990s, but this was the only time I agreed to give a talk.
        Part 1   Part 2

A talk at Occupy Oakland  [audio only, 48 min.]
        I was invited to give this talk at Oscar Grant Plaza, the location of the Occupy Oakland encampment, on October 21, 2011. Not being miked, I used the Occupy-style “people’s mike” in which the audience repeated aloud each of my sentences so that everyone could hear. There was a plan to do a showing of Guy Debord’s film The Society of the Spectacle at the same location the following week, but four days after my talk the Oakland police invaded and destroyed the whole encampment. Which led to a decision by the Occupy Oakland general assembly to call for an “Oakland General Strike” (the vote was 1484 to 46). This appeal did not result in an actual general strike, but on November 2 it did draw more than 50,000 people and succeeded in shutting down the entire Port of Oakland for several days. See my articles Yesterday in Oakland and Welcome to the Oakland General Strike.

The Situationists and the Occupy Movement  [106 min. total]
     
This talk plus Q&A took place at the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library in Oakland on February 5, 2012. For more on this topic, see my article The Situationists and the Occupation Movements: 1968/2011.
        Part 1   Part 2   Part 3 (The video quality is very erratic in Part 2 and somewhat erratic in Part 3.)

Reading Rexroth poems in the Marin County woods  [11 min.]
        This reading (September 7, 2015) was part of an event celebrating Rexroth, held not far from the location of the little abandoned cabin where he wrote many of his most beautiful nature poems.

David Chadwick interviews Ken Knabb  [139 min.]
        David Chadwick manages the huge Cuke.com website, which archives material by and about the Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki “and those who crossed paths with him.” He is also the author of the excellent biography, Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki and the often hilarious personal memoir, Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan. He now lives in Bali. In this leisurely Zoom conversation (September 21, 2022) we chatted briefly about various aspects of our respective Zen experiences, but mostly I attempted to answer his questions on what the situationists were all about.

The Secret World of French Songs
        This was a 10-session Zoom series (January-May 2021) in which I presented some of the great French singers and songwriters of the last two centuries. My presentations took around 90 minutes each. The link leads to the programs for each session, including links to the 150 songs we actually listened to plus many more links to alternative performances, interviews, film clips, etc., plus links to video recordings of each session.

Exploring the Situationists
        This is an ongoing series of Zoom sessions where I comment on various situationist texts, followed by Q&A. The sessions are being recorded and posted on YouTube. We recently finished going through the Situationist International Anthology: Revised and Expanded Edition (10 sessions, about 2 hours each):

        Session 1 (Sept. 10, 2023) — Pre-SI texts (SIA pp. 1-43)
        Session 2 (Sept. 24) — Internationale Situationniste ##1-6 (pp. 47-99)
        Session 3 (Oct. 8) — I.S. ##7-9 (pp. 100-188) except “Basic Banalities”
        Session 4 (Oct. 22) — Vaneigem’s “Basic Banalities” parts 1 and 2 (pp. 117-130 and 154-173)
        Session 5 (Nov. 5) — I.S. #10 (pp. 189-239)
        Session 6 (Nov. 19)  — The Strasbourg Scandal (pp. 263-273 and 408-429 and 500-510)
        Session 7 (Dec. 3)  — I.S. #11 (pp. 240-287)
        Session 8 (Dec. 17) — The May 1968 revolt (pp. 288-325 and 435-457)
        Session 9 (Jan. 14, 2024) — I.S. #12 (pp. 326-383)
        Session 10 (Jan. 28, 2024) — Miscellaneous Publications and Internal Documents (pp. 387-407 and 430-432 and 461-478)

Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle
        This is a continuation of the above series, this time reading my annotated translation of Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle. In this case we are doing a slower and more detailed study. It should take us around 14-15 sessions, to be followed by a viewing and discussion of Debord’s film of the same title.

        Session 1 (March 24, 2024)
        Session 2 (April 7)
        Session 3 (April 21)
        Session 4 (May 5)
        Session 5 (May 19)

The sessions take place every other Sunday, 5:00-7:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and participation is free. Let me know if you’d like to join us.

I also lead a literary discussion group called “Exploring the Classics,” which meets via Zoom at the same time on the alternate Sundays. For more information on those readings and meetings (which are not recorded), click here.

 


Video and audio recordings of Ken Knabb. Most of the above videos are posted on YouTube.