Born in Detroit, Michigan, Mead appeared in Ron Rice's beat classic The Flower Thief, in which he "traipses with an elfin glee through a lost San Francisco of smoke-stuffed North Beach cafes..." Film critic P. Adams Sitney called The Flower Thief "the purest expression of the Beat sensibility in cinema." Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman called Mead "the first underground movie star."
In the mid 1970s, Gary Weis made some short films of Mead talking to his cat in the kitchen of his Ludlow Street apartment on the Lower East Side called "Taylor Mead's Cat." One film of Mead extemporizing on the virtues of constant television watching aired during the second season of Saturday Night Live.
Mead lives in New York City, and continues to perform and read poetry regularly at The Bowery Poetry Club. His latest book of poems (published by Bowery Poetry Books) is called A Simple Country Girl. He was the subject of a documentary entitled Excavating Taylor Mead, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005. The film shows him engaging in his nightly habit of feeding stray cats in an East Village cemetery after bar-hopping, and features a cameo by Jim Jarmusch, in which Jarmusch explains that once, when Mead went to Europe, he enlisted Jarmusch's brother to feed the cemetery cats in Mead's absence. Mead appeared in the final segment of Jarmusch's 2003 film Coffee and Cigarettes. He has been "a beloved icon of the downtown New York art scene since the 60s."
Mead died on May 8, 2013 in Denver, Colorado, having moved from his Ludlow Street apartment in Manhattan early in April, receiving a settlement from his landlord to move out, "after many years of a dispute with his landlord". He was 88.
Taylor Mead, 1991, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1121536)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
Taylor Mead, A Simple Country Girl (Bowery Poetry) by Taylor Mead
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: YBK Publishers, Inc. (January 1, 2005)
Amazon: Taylor Mead, A Simple Country Girl
Taylor Mead's fourth book--his best and funniest book--and his first book in twenty years, "Taylor Mead, a Simple Country Girl," is a collection of poems that are bright, ephemeral, and brilliant downtown Zen. Once Poet Laureate of Andy Warhol's Factory and now an indomitable octogenarian, Taylor Mead has recently been seen in Jim Jarmusch's latest, "Coffee and Cigarettes." He's a renowned actor, having appeared in innumerable underground classics from Warhol's "Lonesome Cowboys" to the first film of the Beat generation, "The Flower Thief." On stage he created the title role in Frank O'Hara's "The General Returns from One Place to Another" and Michael McClure's "Spider Rabbit." Taylor Mead continues to be the most avant poet on the block¿if he were in Japan, he'd be a National Treasure. Here, he's got a weekly cocktail gig at the Bowery Poetry Club (every Friday at 6:30). Who but Taylor Mead could possibly head the list of a series of books published under the Bowery Poetry Club imprint? Described by the New York Times as "that beacon on the Bowery" and proclaimed "the best poetry club in the world" by the Village Voice, the BPC has launched with YBK Publishers a series of books of and on poetry that will bring the freshest poetry to center stage¿in fact, much of the work originates right on stage at the Club. Continuing the series of books will bring you the Club's Bartenders, complete with poetry recipes and "The Bowery Girls," five young women poets of the Bowery.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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