For Ushio Shinohara, one of the subjects of the 2013 documentary Cutie and The Boxer, art is more than a passion: it is a dire fight. Figuratively, yes. But also literally. He makes his signature pieces by strapping sponges to boxing gloves and aggressively attacking the canvas. The finished product is captivating and reflects the violence of its making, but watching Ushio making it is a visceral performance art in itself. The tiny self up against the vast and awful and sparkling world, fighting for a piece of it. Wanting to snatch the marrow out of it, wanting to eviscerate the disappointments of it. Wanting to be rewarded for the fight. Punching at the demon at his heels, making it stronger all the while. Ushio kind of likes his demons. We all do to an extent.
The latest Beat Generation movie focuses on the murder that looms in the background of all Beat literature and lore. Kill Your Darlings is about when Lucien Carr, (Dane DeHaan) a Columbia student who was friends with Beat Generation superstars William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allan Ginsburg, murdered David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall,) an older man who was obsessed with him. Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs both played a role in the murder that landed them briefly behind bars.