If you recall the name Jim Carroll, it’s either from his drug-laced biography Basketball Diaries, or that great punk anthem of unintended death “People Who Died.” Mr. Carroll’s real calling is poetry and spoken word, and this disc documents a 1991 evening at the Poetry Center at Saint Mark’s Church-in-the Bowery in New York. He reads some poems, tells some extended stories and banters with the audience sounding a bit nervous. He’s not exactly Garrison Keillor, but his reminiscences drip charm as he describes his girl friend Jenny Ann delousing him and then using the crabs for an impromptu race. Later he compares America’s loss of innocence to his friend Billy getting caught masturbating with a veal cutlet the day Kennedy was shot. It’s a more politically-oriented Portnoy’s Complaint. The story that says the most about Carroll and his place in the New York Art Scene is “Tiny Tortures”. Invited to contribute to an evening of Performance Art, he brought along a roach and sprayed it with Raid until it died. He got rave reviews although the roach thought differently. Mr. Carroll shows that Art is what you define it to be, and Carroll defines a NYC vision of art as well as anyone else.
Jim Carroll: www.catholicboy.com