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In Andy Warhol's six-hour film opus Sleep, John Giorno is the guy sleeping. He also happens to be the inventor of performance poetry, marrying technology, rock 'n' roll and pornography with an art form all too often associated with the sublime and genteel. Giorno's books include Balling Buddha; Cancer in My Left Ball; Cum; and You've Got to Burn to Shine (1994), featuring memories of his love affair with Warhol. Other former Giorno flames include William S. Burroughs and artists Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and, anonymously, Keith Haring.
Now in his sixties, Giorno still lives in the Lower East Side flat he shared with Burroughs, where he played with friends like Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, Gregory Corso, Anne Waldman, Lydia Lunch, Jim Carroll, the band Husker Du and Marianne Faithfull. In a room full of Buddhist paraphernalia (Giorno lends Burroughs's old room to a weekly meditation group), we looked back on his lifelong relationship with pornography, celebrating his famous 1965 groundbreaker, "Pornographic Poem."