Photo and design by Ira Landgarten


"Looking at your pictures is like looking through butterfly wings."
                                                                                       - Jimi Hendrix

1935: Born to deaf parents; learned to spell on his fingers when he was one.

1964: Edited and published GNAOUA in Tangier featuring William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Jack Smith and Irving Rosenthal.

1966-1970: Started the Universal Mutant Repertory Company and became "The Father of Mylar Photography," making celebrated photographs in bendable mirrors of Jimi Hendrix, Charles Ludlam, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Robert LaVigne, etc.

1966: Brought out The Hashish Cookbook under the name of Panama Rose, and Jilala, an LP record of Moroccan Trance Music.

Wrote The Goblet of Dreams for Playboy Magazine.

1968: Directed and starred in the award winning film The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda.

Appeared in Jack Smith's Reefers of Technicolor Island.

Produced Paradise Now in Amerika, a film of the Living Theater's historic 1968 American tour.

1970s: Went to Kathmandu and started the Starstreams Poetry Series under the Bardo Matrix imprint, publishing on rice paper the work of Gregory Corso, Charles Henri Ford, Angus MacLise and Paul Bowles (among others). Also published his own work including Poems From The Cosmic Crypt, Seven Marvels and Gilded Splinters.



1980-1985: Three photos by Ira Cohen (of Jules Deelder, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg) were produced as part of a limited-edition silkscreen series (1980-1993) by Kirke Wilson, and published by Ins & Outs Press, Amsterdam, Holland. Ira and Kirke Wilson later collaborated independently on an Akashic Silkscreen Edition print, a portrait of Charles Henri Ford from Ira's photograph. Ins & Outs Press also published a series of postcards, which included many of Ira's photographs, most notably the Bandaged Poets series.

1980 to present: Moved back to New York.

Photographic exhibitions worldwide include: Kathmandu Portfolio, The Bandaged Poet Series, Kings with Straw Mats, Dangerous Visions, Retrospectacle, About Faces (with Carol Beckwith), New York Slings hots, From The Mylar Chamber, a two-man show at the Lessing Gallery in NYC with Man Ray, a two-man show at Space Time Light New York) with Jack Micheline, etc. Photographs have appeared in The London Sunday Times, Avant Garde, LIFE Magazine, Facade Paris), Nexus, Nieuwe Revue (Amsterdam), Caliban, etc.

Galleries include: Wildfire Gallery (Amsterdam), Photo Boutique (New York), ART
(New York), October Gallery (London), Visionary Gallery New York), Deer Gallery (New York), Susan Cooper Gallery (Woodstock, NY), TAM TAM Gallery (Prague), Caravan of Dreams (Ft. Worth, TX), Varia Theater (Brussels), Nul Gallery (Amsterdam), Merlin Theater (Budapest), TB Institute (Tokyo), Anya Gosseln Gallery (Dublin), Gallery of Photography (Dublin), Plateau (Akashic Weekend, Brussels)

He has photographed many book and record covers including: John McLaughlin's Devotion and Spirit's The 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. Recently, he has made photographs for Bill Laswell and Axiom Records, including Blues in the East. A silk-screen edition of a Mylar portrait of Jimi Hendrix, called Ref1ections, was also used on the recent CD The Ultimate Experience. Also did photos for Pharoah Sanders' CD Message From Home (Verve) 1996

He has exhibited photographs of Southern Ethiopia and produced The Goblet of Dreams (Marrakesh 1987)

1986-1995: Uncountable poetry readings from Okinawa to San Francisco. He has also been a featured reader in Paris (Paysage du Nord-Ouest, Brussels John Cage Tribute), Prague, Portland (Artquake) and Texas (Mandalay Poetry Festival). He appeared in Dublin with the Burroughs-Gysin Here to Go Show.

Contributing Editor to: Ins & Outs (Amsterdam), Third Rail (Los Angeles), Ignite (New York), Nexus (Dayton, OH), XPress (Bohemia, NY) 15 Minutes (St. Louis), Growing Hand (San Francisco). Edited Jack Smith's Historical Treasures for Hanuman Books. Co-edited The Great Society with Bobby Richkin. Published Petroleum Petroleum by Gustav Meyrink (Akashic Bulletin #1, 1991).

Books of Poetry: The Stauffenberg Cycle and Other Poems (Holland), From the Divan of Petra Vogt (Rotterdam), On Feet of Gold (Synergetic Press), Media Shamans Ratio 3 (with Gerard Malanga and Angus MacLise, Temple Press, England). Also, a CD of readings: The Majoon Traveler (with music by Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Moroccan trance music, etc., Sub Rosa, Belgium). Kaliban und Andere Gedichte (Altaquito Press, Gottingen)

President of The Akashic Record, a non-profit corporation dedicated to publishing and preserving sacred materials, lost scenarios, the hidden meaning of the hidden meaning. Staged at The Kitchen, NY, in collaboration with Sylvie Degiez and Wayne Lopes (Cosmic Legends, Gift of Eagle) an Akashic Event, ORFEO: The $500 Opera, based on the work of Angus MacLise. In May, 1995, he edited an Akashic Issue for Broadshirt, a magazine on a T-shirt designed by Phyllis Segura, with over twenty contributors including Paul Bowles, Brion Gysin, Judith Malina, etc.

Contributing Editor and Photographer, NY Black Book 1997-99 NYC. Performed with John Zorn Radical Jewish Culture Group at Lincoln Center December 1995, NY. Collaborated with Nadine Ganase Dance Company on Crossing the Border, a multimedia performance from 1996-99 in Brussels, Paris, Glasgow, Amiens, Hamburg, Hanover, etc. Audio cassette of Crossing the Border, readings by Ira Cohen and music by Philippe Franck (available from Transcultures). Reading at St. Mark's Poetry Project with Gerard Malanga Feb. 12,1997.

Jilala, CD release of historic 1966 recording with new material (Baraka).

Kings with Straw Mats, video documentary of the Hardwar Kumbh Mela, 1986 Mystic Fire Video, 1998). Online photo gallery ( Ira Cohen Portraits of India.


Minbad Sinbad, a book of writings and photos dealing with Morocco published in French (Didier Devillez, Brussels, 1998).

1998: Regular live broadcast bi-weekly on Internet called The Majoon Traveler (

1999: Photographic collaboration with Allan Graubard for his poem Fragments from Nomad Days

Forthcoming: October 1999 screening of The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda at the Whitney Museum, NYC

Release of Angus MacLise CD The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda sound track (Siltbreeze) A Book of photographs to be published in 2000 by Kargo (Paris).

A special symposium on the work of Ira Cohen to be held in Japan under the auspices of Electric Rexroth and High Moon Noon in 2001.


2001: Whatever You Say May Be Held Against You, a book of poems printed in handwriting facsimile in handwriting published by Shivistan, Woodstock, NY.

2004: Participant at famous Leukerbad Festival in Switzerland.

2005: Chaos & Glory published by Elik Press, Salt Lake City.

Participated in Sprachsalz International Festival in Tirol

Co-editor of Shamanic Warriors, a visionary book published in Scotland with J. N. Reilly.

Blood Clot to The Brain, Astral Projection from the Brooklyn Sound Kitchen, Vernal Equinox Plus 2, and his 70th Birthday Reading were all released as CDs published by Ira Landgarten under the imprint of Iraland.

2006: The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda and Paradise Now, from the Living Theater's historical tour in 1968 which is even more culturally relevant today then it was at the time, will be released as a DVD, will be produced and distributed by Jay Babcock of Arthur Magazine and Bastet.

Film clips of The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda were shown on Swiss TV in tribute to the great discover of LSD Albert Hoffman's 100th birthday.

A book of photographs from Ethiopia is forthcoming from Elik Press.

Invited to give a reading at the forthcoming Whitney Biennial which will also feature an exhibit of some photographs and a showing of The Invasion of The Thunderbolt Pagoda.

He is presently working with Will Swofford on the publication of a new literary arts anthology, Celestial Grafitti.


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Ira Online

Akashic Project-- Celestial Grafitti
Beehive: Bombay Boogie Woogie
East Village Poetry
Mystic Fire 1 and Mystic Fire 2
Asian Art Exhibitions
Jack Magazine: Fragments of Nomad Days with Allan Graubard and Ira Photos
Jacket: Ira Cohen in conversation with Nina Zivancevik
Jacket: Rice Paper Feature
Light and Dust (Poems)

milk magazine

Theatre of All Possibilities
Third Rail Press
Unlikely Stores (Poems)