WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT JAMES BROUGHTON

His tombstone says, ‘Adventure, not Predicament’ and that’s the way he looked at his life. If you make it about joy, if you make it about something beautiful and new, and you don’t focus on the dilemma of being human, you’ll find the pure beauty of being human.

Armistead Maupin
What attracted me to James in the first place? His magical spirit, his dancing eyes, his soul right out there. There was nothing in the way between you and his soul, it’s the only way I can describe it. I had never met anyone like him before. He burst me wide open.

Joel Singer
Any time I see someone who’s got a really developed craft and is an experimentalist, I feel like they’re giving me permission to do experiments of my own. To invent language, to invent possibilities, in combination of visual, sound, idea, and language. James did that for me.

As I’ve developed– both an artistic and queer consciousness– I feel like Broughton has been a part of that consciousness. I see him as someone who helped set up the conditions, the material, the psychological, the imagistic, the psychic conditions under which I operate as both an artist and a queer person.

Keith Hennessy
James did the work, you know. He was a dedicated artist. He wasn’t one of these, ‘Oh boo-hoo I have to suffer to make my art’ people.’ He got up and did it.

Mark Thompson
My plan after college was to come back to San Francisco and make movies like James Broughton…. That’s what I really wanted to do. That was my love.

George Lucas
Who doesn’t want to be able to express their deepest longings, their wildest dreams, their human confusion? James seemed wired to his.

Stephen Silha (Executive Producer of BIG JOY)

James’ poetry was always very whimsical and full of wonderful humor. James’ primary characteristic, for me was that he was joyous. Even in the end when I got to know him a little bit better when we were publishing his books, whenever he showed up he was always joyous. He knew he was going to die at that point, but there was nothing but pure joy and pure light, as he became ‘unbuttoned.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Broughton is one of the most inventively playful of all contemporary poets; in fact, there is no other poet quite like him.

Robert Peters
His films are celebrations of the joy of living. If there is such a thing as American Zen, Broughton is the master of it.

Jonas Mekas
I never wrote about James, but I certainly was inspired by him in a number of ways. First of all, he and Joel had the most beautiful relationship I’d ever seen.

Armistead Maupin
It’s not really until I met James that day that I understood who he was. What a really big bright sexy man he was. What a physically beautiful and powerful man. Quite overwhelming really. Even though he was getting old. And it’s only now that I’m getting old that I can really appreciate what James Broughton did for me that day. Read the whole story here: http://wp.me/p50V8g-U9

Tom Spanbauer
The first time I met James I was playing my Celtic harp on the landing just off of the ferry dock. Along comes this man who gave me the biggest smile, and he gasps and says, ‘Oh, I’ve died and gone to heaven.’ Then he flopped himself on the ground, laying in front of me, blocking traffic. He was sighing and gasping with joy. Read the full story here including its poetic ending: http://bigjoy.org/twirl/the-bard-and-the-harpist

David Michael
James is our God Father. He just doesn’t know it. (Or maybe he does.) Everything about James’ work moves us toward living authentic lives. At heart, we’re just two little sissy boys that didn’t fit in with the cool kids. Today, we get to redefine ourselves as authentic queers who love faggotry in its highest forms including art, healthy sexuality, and community building. (Producers of the two James Broughton: The Music of His Dance CDs)

Two Dudes in Love/ Friends with Benefits Records founders Mat dos Santos and David Sternesky
Broughton is the uncrowned poet laureate of San Francisco.

Alan Watts
I’ve never seen anybody who more fully embraced life and all of its possibilities.

Mark Thompson
James was such a delight. And what a sense of humor he had. He went deeply into conversation, not just light social speaking; he would immediately get into something…. I think the thing that made him tick was his life. He accepted his own life: both the dark and the light side, the bad, the good, the funny, the sad. You name it. He accepted it all. It made him whole, and holy. It really did.

Sally Dixon
James Broughton does everything from beyond wit’s end, turning all his difficulties into The Delightful. He has hoisted a god’s-eye-view of the world of human follies and has developed a rhythmic complexity to sustain it. He is the only artist I know who has been equally true to Poetry, Theater, and Film, transforming all three into an act of lifelong montage.

Stan Brakhage
In the contemplation of lofty themes most people are serious, though not always sincere. Broughton, however, is always sincere but hardly ever serious. Indeed, seriousness is a questionable virtue: it is gravity rather than levity, and it was that devout Catholic G.K. Chesterton who maintained that angels fly because they take themselves lightly. And in company with the angels, Broughton laughs with God rather than at him.

Alan Watts
James Broughton is the perennial laughing man of God. He zigzags between sage and clown, pervert and angel, kamikaze linguist and classical virtuoso, Mother Goose and St. James the Divine.

Jeffrey Beam
After he met Joel he seemed at peace. He seemed ecstatic. Well, he could seem ecstatic before that at certain times. But with Joel it was like he was basking in peacefulness. He was home. His heart was at home.

Sally Dixon
James Broughton’s art is unique and it comes from a place in the heart that everyone knows– where the light-hearted rhymer and the deep thinker and the mystic and the child are seated together at a shining old wooden table and drinking from a bubbling wooden cup. Broughton’s poems are the songs that they sing. Sometimes one sings, sometimes another, sometimes a couple, sometimes all at once. These poems melt the generations together.

Michael McClure
Where Blake and Whitman tiptoed around the Infinite peeking through the cracks, James Broughton moved right into the heart of the matter, becoming the greatest mouthpiece for joy ever heard, in any language living or dead. Pay attention, as he offers a bottle of his ‘everyday drink: the wine of eternity from the vines of love.’ This is the kind of refreshment they pass around in heaven when the grins of angels have gone limp. Drink up: there’s a tantric swoon in every gulp.

James Leo Herlihy
After an illustrious career spanning over 40 years, 25 films, 10 plays, 15 books of poetry (with an international award in each field), this gentle but persistent subversive remains. as he has always been, one of the seminal figures of the American avant-garde film movement. If ours was a world of love, he would be one of its saints. Since it isn’t, he is the exuberant voice in the wilderness, gently yet firmly showing us ‘the way.

Amos Vogel
He is a master of the whimsical tone, the unexpected insight, and the hidden bite. He lives in a very special world and is an expert at pulling his audience into it, whether by his poetry or his cinema. Or perhaps he lives in the same world as everybody else but sees it from a special Fourth Dimensional vista and can happily lend you his binoculars.

Kenneth Rexroth
In the sensibilities of a discerning few, James Broughton has for years occupied a special place comparable to that of Cocteau or Keaton, Satie or Sitwell. Yet he has never been fashionable nor identified with any school; always an odd bird in the aviary, he has remained uniquely true to his own visionary music.

Jonathan Williams

REFLECTIONS ON JAMES