Writer William S. Burroughs: "Now folks, if you'll just step this way, you're about to witness the complete all American de-anxietized man." (0:00)
Narrator (actor) Peter Weller describes Burroughs "experimenting with new forms of literature as well as drugs." (0:01)
Allen Ginsberg (0:03, 0:10)
Burroughs reads his poem: "Thanks for prohibition and the war against drugs." (0:08)
Waters: "He violated rules of even junkie's worlds." (0:13)
Burroughs biographer Barry Miles: "He spent a lot of time in psychoanalysis trying to find out about these things." (0:22)
Scholar Regina Weinreich: "His upbringing was middle class but he had a housekeeper who introduced him to opium." (0:33)
Weller: "Well if you got the yagé papers and, he's the only guy I've ever known to take yagé , which is the absolute sine qua non of hallucinogenic drugs. He's also the guy that Timothy Leary and Baba Ram Dass... had him try psilocybin... take the original CIAs version of LSD, LSD 6, which is like a horse pill of insanity... He was a walking pharmacologist..." (0:33)
Burroughs: "There's a junk gesture that marks the junkie..."
Waters: "Sure he romanticized drug use... Did anybody read Naked Lunch and try heroin? Probably." (0:34)
Poet Amiri Baraka: "And so the whole question of narcotics... the idea there were junkies in America..." (0:34)
Cover of August, 1979 issue of magazine "High Times" featuring an article on "Yagé" by Andrew Weil.
Burroughs' friend James Grauerhaolz: "We're thinking of the difference between alcohol and heroin. Hip people who liked to take dope... score a bag of Dr. Nova... sharie it with the pope of dope." (0:35)
Cooking heroin, "junkies for five blocks going east... scored... they shot up together... William shot up first... never got AIDS." (0:35)
Biographer Victor Bockris: Burroughs "glamourized using heroin... but if you read everything William wrote about heroin it was to warn people to not take it."
Burroughs quote: "Wherever I go and whatever I do I am always in the straight-jacket of junk, unable to move a finger to free myself." and "I want to be rid of junk more than I ever wanted anything."
Weller: "Percodans... "
"What is Percodan? He said, 'It's junk.'... acting Bill Lee and his addictions ... hooked on this... him leveling me with 'It's junk'..." (0:36)
Burroughs talks about "apomorphine... dramatic relief from anxiety... N-ethyltriptamine, alarming disagreeable symptoms, the use of opium and/or derivatives."
Burroughs companion and estate executor James Grauerhaolz: "The legend is that he went to London and kicked it with the apomorphine cure in 1956. The reality is he was chippin' around..."
Burroughs injecting his arm.
"That time it got such a grip on him that the breakthrough there was to enroll in the methadone maintenance program." (0:39)
Burroughs' gun dealer Robert McColl: "I would imagine he got a feedback high out of it in the sense that this is better than shooting heroin." (0:43)
Friend Fred Aldrich(?): "He was also fascinated with the addictive properties of snake venom." (0:44)
Burroughs: "I coulda wound up as an alcoholic academic." (0:47)
Weinreich, referring to Burroughs' wife Joan Vollmer: "They did drugs together... Joan was doing a lot of Benzadrine inhalers, and drinking a lot..." (0:49)
Poet John Giorno: "drunk and alone he'd talk about... synchronicity... started crying... walking to meet Joan... synchronicity..." (0:52)
Singer Patti Smith: "It's like hypnotizing someone." (0:54)
Giorno: "He loved her... and it was a great tragedy for him." (0:55)
Weller(?): "after killing his wife... struggled with his heroin addiction." (0:56)
Waters: "They didn't know gay people that did heroin..." (0:58)
Sonic Youth musician: "He built this box called the orgone box... I think Reich's theory was that sitting in there would allow you to gather certain accumulations of orgone energy..." (1:06)
Burroughs, referring to Marlene Dietrich: "Marlene had to cancel all her Australian tour because she was so drunk." (1:11)
Weller: "Billy wrote two books about his struggle with alcohol and drugs... dead of acute alcoholism."
Giorno: "It was deep grief."
Artist musician Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: "He was devastated... 'If I become a junkie and write a book about a drug...'" (1:16)
Musician Grant Hart: "It was an alternative to the heroin scene of the bowery... saved William... if not from drugs..." (1:19)
Woman in the audience to Burroughs: "those monsters are a projection of your own mind." (1:21)
Poet Anne Waldman on Burroughs' reaction to the death of Ginsberg: "I talked to William when Allen died and it was incredibly hard." (1:22)
Burroughs in his coffin. (1:22)