Saturday, August 8, 2020

Remembering Herbert Huncke


On this date-- August 8 -- in 1996, Beat Generation core figure Herbert Huncke died. Huncke was Elmer Hassel in Jack Kerouac's On The Road; Huck in Desolation AngelsBook of Dreams, and Visions of Cody; Hunkey in Lonesome Traveler; and Junkey in The Town and the City.

Regular readers of The Daily Beat need no introduction to the man from whom Kerouac likely learned the word, "beat." Click on the link above if you want to read a short bio.

We curated an excellent Huncke biography by Hilary Holladay HERE.

RIP, Mr. Huncke.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Beat poet Diane di Prima turns 86 today

Today is award-winning Beat poet Diane di Prima's 86th birthday. I don't think she appeared in any of Jack Kerouac's works, but he appeared in hers in a randy sex scene in her Memoirs of a Beatnik. I liked that book a lot, in particular how she graphically but sensitively described her various sexual experiences.

We reviewed her 2015 poetry book, The Poetry Deal, HERE, and curated it HERE. We curated Memoirs of a Beatnik HERE.

In honor of her birthday, you can read about Diane and find some of her poetry HERE.

Happy Birthday, Ms. di Prima!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Jack Kerouac's father was born on this date in 1889

Leo Kerouac, Jack Kerouac's father, was born on this date -- August 5 -- in 1889 in Saint-Hubert-de-Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada as Joseph Alcide Léon Kirouack. Leo appeared in several of his son Jack's books: Emil Alcide Duluoz in Visions of Gerard, Emil (Pop) Duluoz in Doctor Sax/Visions of Cody/Vanity of Duluoz, George Martin in The Town and the City, Emil in Maggie Cassidy/Desolation Angels, Pa in Book of Dreams, Charlie Martin in The Sea is My Brother, and Joe Martin in The Haunted Life and Other Writings.

Happy Birthday to the man without whom there would be no Jack Kerouac!

Monday, August 3, 2020

We missed some Kerouac-related dates

Ruth Weiss, William S. Burroughs, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott (L-R)

I was away and therefore missed some important Kerouac-related birth and death dates in July and August.

What reminded me of my omission was seeing Jerry Cimino of The Beat Museum post on Facebook that noted Beat poet Ruth Weiss died recently (July 31). She would have made my recent post about Gore Vidal and Elise Cowen into a "three-fer" had I known. HERE is a link to her obit in the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook. I could not verify whether she appeared in any of Kerouac's works.

We missed musician Ramblin' Jack Elliott's birthday on August 1 (1931), and core Beat Generation member William S. Burroughs' death date on August 2 (1997). Neither needs an introduction to regular readers of The Daily Beat. Burroughs appeared in several of Jack Kerouac's works: as Old Bull Lee in On The Road; Frank Carmody in The Subterraneans; Bull Hubbard in Book of DreamsDesolation AngelsDoctor Sax, and Visions of Cody; Bull in Tristessa; Bill/William Seward Burroughs in Lonesome Traveler; Wilson Holmes Hubbard in Vanity of Duluoz; Bill Dennison in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; and, Will Dennison in The Town and the City and And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. Elliott appeared as Jack Elliot in Book of Dreams.

RIP to Ms. Weiss and Mr. Burroughs and Happy Birthday to Mr. Elliott.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Another Kerouac two-fer date

Gore Vidal (left) and Elise Cowen
Writer and bon vivant Gore Vidal died on this date -- July 31-- in 2012, and Beat poet Elise Cowen was born on this same date in 1933. Vidal appeared in Jack Kerouac's The Subterraneans as Arial Lavalina and in Old Angel Midnight as Gore Bedavalled. Cowen appeared as Barbara Lipp in Desolation Angels.

I said a little bit more about each on their birth and death dates HERE and HERE. Gore was born 8 years before Cowen but outlived her by many years (86 v. 28).

Given my personal history with depression, I should note here that Cowen ended her own life (not dissimilarly to Natalie Jackson) by throwing herself out of her parents' 7th floor window.

If you are thinking about suicide or just need someone to talk to about emotional distress in your life, you can text Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

RIP, Mr.* Vidal, and Happy Birthday, Ms.* Cowen.

*These are guesses at preferred pronouns. If I'm wrong, let me know.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Happy birthday to Robert LaVigne

On this date, July 15, artist and Jack Kerouac friend Robert LaVigne was born in Idaho in 1928. He was Guy Levesque in Kerouac's Desolation Angels.

We said a bunch about LaVigne back on February 20 (click HERE), so there is no need to repeat ourselves today. Don't believe what Ginsberg said in the above picture about LaVigne being Robert Browning in Big Sur. See my February 20 post for an explanation.

Happy birthday, Mr. LaVigne.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I provide a Jack Kerouac quote and you figure out the book (6th in a series)

This is the 6th in a series of posts where I provide a quote from one of Jack Kerouac's books and you figure out which one. Post your answer as a comment. Here's the passage:
The original hobo dream was best expressed in a lovely little poem mentioned by Dwight Goddard in his Buddhist Bible:Oh for this one rare occurrenceGladly would I give ten thousand pieces of gold!A hat is on my head, a bundle on my back,And my staff, the refreshing breeze and the full moon.

Good luck! Remember our policy on comments (over there on the right).