American poet, performance artist and activist John Giorno turns 77 today.
Giorno is known for his performance poetry, for starring in Andy Warhol's durational film Sleep, for his Something Else Press title Cancer in My Left Ball, and for his not-for-profit production company Giorno Poetry Systems. Founded in in 1965 in order to connect poetry to new audiences via technology, the organization ran Dial-A-Poem and published a series of compilation LPs that featured artists, writers and musicians.
The series, sought after by both collectors of artists' audio and alternative music, featured William Burroughs, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Hüsker Dü, Philip Glass, Coil, Diamanda Galás, Glenn Branca, Frank Zappa, Sonic Youth, Psychic TV, Lydia Lunch, Meredith Monk, Jim Carroll, Arto Lindsay, John Cage, Debbie Harry, New Order, David Byrne, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Butthole Surfers, The Swans, Henri Chopin, Robert Wilson, and Claes Oldenburg. Many of the covers were designed by artists, including Les Levine, Keith Haring and Robert Williams.
In total, Giorno has produced over 60 LPs, tapes, videos and books. In 2011, he starred in the video to R.E.M.'s final single We All Go Back to Where We Belong.