Gordon Ball

Gordon Ball (born Paterson, New Jersey, grew up Tokyo, Japan) began work in film when given a regular 8mm movie camera by Jonas Mekas on a 1966 college visit; worked for Mekas and Filmmakers' Cooperative in New York 1966-1967, a period detailed in Ball's '66 FRAMES (Coffee House Press, 1999, with introduction by Mekas); hitchhiked across US and Mexico to live in jungle-sea-mountain village; was arrested without charge entering Puerto Vallarta at time of gringo hippie federale round-up, and shot what would become MEXICAN JAIL FOOTAGE from the inside. Returning to US, worked several years (depicted in his EAST HILL FARM [Counterpoint, 2011] as manager of small farm retreat for poets and artists purchased by poet Allen Ginsberg, with whom he'd work on books and photography over coming decades; made FARM DIARY, the first part (1968-69) of which is available through Filmmakers' Cooperative. Entering graduate school University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 1973 he told his life story under a magnolia tree on Franklin Street summer 1977; made film elegies FATHER MOVIE (1978) one year after father's death and ENTHUSIASM (1980) five years after mother's; shot MILLBROOK (1985), a recapturing of personal psychedelic experience at Timothy Leary's upstate redoubt; taught two summers (1986 and 1988) in Poland shortly before glasnost, making DO POZNANIA (1991). In 1980 he adopted a phrase from Yeats, "technical sincerity," as touchstone for his first-person filmmaking: "Fine or rough, heavy or ethereal, there is always at base an unregretful uncompromising heart and consciousness. It is negligent of all but its own earnest rhythmic awareness: and that, after all, may be what we were looking for--what one person and no other can give us." His work has been shown at a wide range of venues on three continents, including the Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Archives, the Guggenheim Museum, San Francisco Cinematheque, Studio 200 (Tokyo), and the British Film Institute. He's published a prose poem memoir, DARK MUSIC (Cityful Press, 2006, Elik Press, 2012), and a volume of short stories, ON TOKYO'S EDGE, is due to appear in June 2017 (Red Mountain Press). In recent years he's exhibited and published some of the many photographs he took of Ginsberg and Beat colleagues over three decades; his website is . He taught American Literature (including Literature of the Beat Generation), Film History and Theory, and Composition at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia for 26 years, and presently is Visiting Associate Professor of English, Washington and Lee University, in Lexington.