Marty Matz

Excerpt from the Lower East Side Biography Project

Steve Zehentner: Producer, Director of Photography

MARTY MATZ - Poet, Translator (1934-2001)

In the 1950s Marty met everyone who would become the icons of the Beat Generation. He read with Kerouac and Ginsberg. He went to Mexico just before his friends became famous. Marty became an expert on pre-Columbian art. He landed in prison on a drug charge and stayed years. Later he married Barbara Alexander and they lived happily in Thailand. Marty continued to write poetry. He became an overnight sensation in Italy in 1999. He ended his trip where it began, in New York City, satisfied with a life well lived.

A wonderful short essay on Marty by the late great Roger Richards.

Remembering Marty Matz by Laki Vazakas
Marty Matz "A Sky of Fractured Feathers" download

In this 14 minutes is the live recording of the poem Marty wrote on the death of his friend, poet Bob Kaufman, "I Know Where Rainbows Go To Die", with Chris Rael on sitar and Deep Singh on tabla. Then the hysterically funny Oklahoma Whale Story filmed by Penny Arcade followed by a smattering of excerpts of our interview with Marty and Marty's tribute to Gregory Corso at the Corso Memorial at the Angel Orensanz Foundation.

The Lower East Side Biography Project was created in 1999 by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner as an ongoing biography series and oral history archive. The LES Bio Project’s biographies and archive work to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention and rebellion that built the Lower East Side’s international reputation as an incubator for authenticity and iconoclasm in art, culture and politics.

The project seeks to stem the tide of cultural amnesia by bridging the cultural gap between long time residents and newcomers to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. To this end, the LES Bio Project has a community-media training component where young filmmakers are trained in production and post-production technologies and then become shepherds of an individual oral history that they edit into a 28-minute biography. Since its inception, the LES Bio Project has trained over forty individuals, completed over sixty 28-minute programs, and videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.

The completed biographies cablecast and stream live every Monday at 11 p.m EST, in Manhattan on Time Warner 34, RCN 82, FIOS 33, and live stream on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Community Channel One.

View the current cablecast and livestream schedule on the project's Facebook page.