Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jack Kerouac on eBay

If you haven't looked around on eBay for all the Kerouac-related items, you might want to do that some day when you have time. It can be both entertaining and instructive.

Just now, an eBay search for "Kerouac" brought up 1,841 items. On eBay you can list the items by relevance, price, distance, or time the sale is ending. The highest priced item I saw was a handwritten postcard from Jack to his girlfriend, Joyce Glassman (later Johnson) in 1957, asking her - among other things - to send him copies of reviews of the recently released On The Road. No bids are allowed on the item, but the Buy It Now price is $18,000. You read that right. Eighteen thousand simoleans.

Next in price is an autographed letter to Lois. It's priced at $13,000 (also with no bids allowed). The next two items are also not biddable: checks made out by Kerouac going for $6,999 each.

These first no-bid items seem to come from the same "company." I wonder about a Sampas connection there.

Then we hit an item that you can bid on: A signed first edition hardcover with dustjacket of The Town and the City. Price: $4,500. There have been some offers but they all expired. I don't know if there is a minimum. Bid a buck and find out (if you wish).

Next comes the expected slew of Kerouac books, with some curiosities like collaborations with Robert Frank mixed in.You can get Jack's blues and haikus LP for $360. You'll see a signed copy of Carolyn Cassady's Heart Beat.

A Jack Kerouac bobblehead produced for the Lowell Spinners in 2003 is available for $209.99. I wrote about this previously on The Daily Beat (click here).

You'll see Good Blonde and Others with a preface by Robert Creeley that's signed by Creeley. $174.99.

There are also Kerouac boots for sale by John Varvatos. I wonder if they paid the Sampas family for the privilege of naming their boots after Jack.

There are books by other authors about Jack. Or not, as I saw a signed first edition of Trainsong by Jan Kerouac (a highly recommended read, by the way) going for $99.

It will pain my friend John J Dorfner to see his book, Kerouac: Visions of Lowell, going for $69. He'd prefer you contact him directly for copies:

There's a 1976 Tom Waits LP. $46.75.

You'll see various photographs for sale. Playboys featuring short stories by Jack (I bought one a while back). A copy of Memory Babe by my friend, Gerry Nicosia (a must-read if you are a Kerouac fan). A 1957 edition of Evergreen Review featuring some piece by Jack (unidentified in the ad). T-shirts are a common listing. A 1970 newspaper article about Jack (why anyone would pay $35 for it is beyond me).

And the beat goes on. Here are some additional items that caught my eye:

  • 1960 Escapade (men's magazine) featuring a Kerouac piece
  • Stainless steel Thermos with On The Road Penguin Books logo
  • Passport cover (same logo as above)
  • Safe in Heaven Dead by Jack Kerouac (a book I never heard of - be wary of this one)
  • Jack Kerouac "Pot Belly" (miniature figurines with secret compartments)
  • Jack Kerouac buttons
  • Dollhouse miniature replicas of various Kerouac books (who knew?)
  • Baby Driver by Jan Kerouac (highly recommended, and cheap - $4.99)
  • A Trivial Pursuit game card featuring a Kerouac question ($3.99 - I may bid on this).

And last on the list, a copy of On The Road for $1.58, shipping not specified.

Now you have a good idea of what's on eBay related to Jack Kerouac, and it didn't take you half an hour of scrolling because I did the work for you.

You're welcome.

Now, what's the latest bid on that Trivial Pursuit card . . . ?

P.S. I didn't see any copies of The Beat Handbook for sale, at least in the search I did. Maybe I should list signed copies for some exorbitant fee!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beat Generation icon makes cover of The London Library Magazine

Guess who's on the cover of the current issue of The London Library Magazine?

Allen Ginsberg on that dangerous word: Should

Click here to read a short piece by Richard J.McCarthy about the time he saw Allen Ginsberg speak at UMass Amherst in 1969.

I've long railed against the word, "should." It's especially dangerous when we use it against ourselves, as in "I should be [insert various judgmental adjectives or participles]. When we should on ourselves, we are resisting "what is," which leads to suffering, and we are laying down a guilt trip, which likewise leads to no good. I wrote the following in my LiveJournal (long since abandoned) on November 13, 2006:
I think I have written about how using the word "should" - aloud or in our mental commentary - may well be a sign that we are in the land of judgment, which means resistance to what is, which leads to suffering. 
Today, listening to Eckhart [Tolle] on the trip to campus (and he was NOT discussing this point but because I was conscious my creativity emerged), I realized that "should" is a past and future word! Any time we say "should" we are either saying something about the past (what "should" have happened) or the future (what "should" happen). I just cannot figure out a way to use "should" in reference to THIS moment. Even if I say "This moment right NOW should be different," by the time I utter or think that statement, it is too late to apply it to the present moment.

I think Jack Kerouac would dig my analysis, as it aligns nicely with Buddhist teachings.

In McCarthy's article, he recounts how after repeatedly peppering Ginsberg with questions, the beat poet said:
Should. Should. Should. Should. Should. You keep making this sound, "Should." I don't think anybody "should" do anything.

McCarthy got the point.

Do you?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Force Google to search a specific website

Did you know that you can force Google to search a specific website? This can be helpful with sites that do not have built-in search features (like Blogger!).

Here's how. You simply have to type the following in the Google search window:

search term site:URL

Don't leave a space after the colon.

For example, let's say you wanted to find all the past posts on this blog, The Daily Beat, where I've reviewed a book or a movie. If you type the following in a Google search window, you will see that it returns only posts from The Daily Beat that include the word "Review."


When have I mentioned the word "zombie" on The Daily Beat? To find out, type the following in a Google search window:]

To search my blog for posts with the word "pirate," type the following in a Google search window:


Ninja would look like this:

Got it?

Happy searching....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Milkman's Matinee by John J Dorfner

Last night I finished Milkman's Matinee: A Boy Remembers His Father by John J Dorfner, and I experienced that familiar but too rare feeling when you finish certain books: sadness that there isn't more. I also was left with a strong motivation to write a memoir of my youth, and I would aspire to rise to Dorfner's fascinating level of detail and command of poetic prose.

The official blurb about the book is as follows, borrowed from Dorfner's Cooper Street Publications website:
Milkman's Matinee is the story of a young boy's observation of the world through the clean windshield and open doors of his father's milk truck. Hard lessons are learned and life's tough struggles are confronted as 'little john' listens to his father and watches him smoke cigars and laugh at life's simple pleasures. Using flashback mixed with delicate prose, the author takes readers on an unforgettable ride along the city streets of Kingston, New York, during summer and winter mornings of the early 1960's.  
Readers of The Daily Beat will recall that I reviewed two other books by Dorfner, Kerouac: Visions of Lowell and Kerouac: Visions of Rocky Mount. Dorfner is a real Kerouac enthusiast and collector who has met a number of Beat luminaries, and one striking feature of Milkman's Matinee is that it is very much like reading Kerouac. I say that as high praise, because just about anyone can imitate Kerouac, but Dorfner pulls it off in his own "delicate prose" and it is, like Jack's work, immensely fun to read. It's like he channeled Jack as he wrote. Being such a Kerouac-ophile, Dorfner probably has read so much Kerouac that those spontaneous bop rhythms are ingrained and the prose just comes out naturally.

Because I grew up in northern Pennsylvania at about the same time Dorfner was growing up in Kingston, NY (near Woodstock), 229 miles away, many of his memories are similar to mine, from the milk delivery stories (my grandfather was a milkman), to the culture zeitgeist of the time. Consequently, reading this book was like stepping into a time machine and visiting my own past. For me, it was eerily familiar and strangely comforting.

One technique Dorfner uses with skill is popping back-and-forth in time. He does this effortlessly and with great effect. One minute it's 1961 and you're in Kingston peering out of the milk truck at the buildings along Flatbush Avenue, the next you're on the "gray metal deck" of a destroyer in 1945 (his dad's war experience), and then it's 1963 and two of his childhood friends are killed by lightning. Early on, we learn that Dorfner's dad committed suicide "one spring dusk up at the Atwood Peak." It's an important piece of information, and Dorfner treats it respectfully, never dwelling on it as some memoirists might.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, especially if you like memoirs and a spontaneous style. I'll be reading it again some day just because it was damn fun, and I don't say that about too many books.

I tip my hat to Dorfner on writing a memoir that is both highly descriptive and engaging. He has stated on his Twitter feed (@KerouacJack) that he will never stop writing Milkman's Matinee, and I am hoping for an expanded version at some point in the near future. In the meantime, Dorfner is adamant that readers not buy his books from Amazon and the like, but, rather, contact him directly at johnjdorfner@gmail.comYou'll save money and get an autographed copy to boot.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Being tipsy improves creativity in men

Time just published this article on a study finding that being tipsy enhances creativity (in men).

Like we didn't know that [hic]. Now go down a shot and get writing that novel!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why Kerouac Matters

Do not click here expecting something about John Leland's book, Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On The Road (They're Not What You Think). Instead, you'll find an interesting little article in The Globe and Mail that starts out thusly:

A friend of mine who owns a second-hand bookstore in Toronto claims he has to keep his Jack Kerouac titles behind the counter, and not on the shelves with the rest of his stock, for fear of teenage shoplifters. Forget the Pulitzer or the Giller Prize; this is real writerly fame. 
Not that the majority of these thieving literary neophytes are attracted by the contents of the books themselves; what compels them to apply a five-finger discount to On the Road and The Dharma Bums is the author himself.
Love that picture of Jack!

Enjoy . . . .

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Atlantic jumps on the Kerouac bandwagon

It's no coincidence that The Atlantic (click here) just published Jack Kerouc's "Belief and Technique for Modern Prose" (which I posted way back herebefore Jack became "newsy" again because of the press over the upcoming On The Road movie).

They're riding the Kerouac bandwagon!

Dig the ride!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Compassion Redux

I wrote this post about compassion on May 12, 2009 (click here), and, sadly, it's apropos again in the good ol' United States of Hate.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pics of Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings

Admittedly, the On The Road movie is all the buzz of late, but don't forget about Kill Your Darlings, also expected in 2013. It's an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac-Lucian Carr-David Kammerer, etc., real-life murder story that Jack and William S. Burroughs wrote about in And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks.

Click here for a short article and several pics of Radcliffe as Ginsberg.

Remember, as I've written before, Jack Huston is going to be excellent as our hero, Jack.

Never forget, Jack Kerouac loved the movies, so my seeming preoccupation with all the Beat movies coming out in the next year is completely forgiveable, even if you're a Beat literature purist. Well, that's what I think anyway.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NY Times review of The Sea is My Brother

Click here for the NY Times review of Jack Kerouac's The Sea is My Brother. It's on my reading list, so I can't say whether I agree with the Times; however, from what I know of the book, their review is quite fair. And surprisingly positive. For example:
"The Sea Is My Brother" is indeed a bad book, but it's a fun bad book and offers plenty of disarming insights into who Kerouac was as a person and writer before he slipped behind the mask of Beat Generation Zen-master channeling literature from the ionosphere. The book is enjoyable because, unlike Kerouac's later canonized work, it comes to its faults honestly, out of simple inexperience. 
Seems like the Times would know that you italicize book titles. Or am I wrong about that? And we won't even get into the whole issue of how Jack's estate is being handled. I'll save that for a future post.

Nevertheless, it's a review that makes me want to bump Sea farther up my reading list.

Bar None Group

If you haven't yet checked out the Bar None Group, please do (click here). Yes, it's a bit self-serving since the link takes you to one of my poems, but trust me, there's a lot of great writing to peruse at this site. Check out the Vault (right hand side) for past artwork, poetry, etc.

You can follow them on Twitter (@barnonegroup) and Facebook (search for Bar None Group).

Thanks to the Bar None Group for featuring one of my poems. I dig it, and love the picture they used!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Interview with one of Jack Kerouac's closest friends

Click here for an interview at Empty Mirror with Seymour Wyse, a close friend of Jack Kerouac. The interview was conducted by Dave Moore, who John J Dorfner (Kerouac: Visions of Lowell and Kerouac: Visions of Rocky Mount) says knows so much about Kerouac that if he wrote a biography it would be "1 million pages long" (Twitter, @KerouacJack, 7:10 AM, March 12, 2012).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Kerouac's Day 2012

Jack Kerouac was Irish, you know. Click here for details.

Click here for another Kerouac-Ireland connection. Or here.

Jack Kerouac and me, fellow diasporadoes. Get it?

Happy St. Kerouac's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Check out Viggo Mortensen as Old Bull Lee

It would appear that the producers of the movie version of On The Road are releasing various "character" posters. Click here to see my source for the above poster of Viggo Mortensen as Old Bull Lee (real-life William S. Burroughs), who can be seen in the movie trailer shooting a gun and dissing on Dean Moriarty (real-life Neal Cassady) while shooting a gun.

Classic Burroughs.

Jack Kerouac singing Ain't We Got Fun

I've never before run across this clip of Jack Kerouac singing Ain't We Got Fun, but it sure sounds like him to me. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Kerouac's Night

If you're in St. Pete this Saturday looking for St. Patrick's Day festivities, you might want to stop by the Flamingo Bar for St. Kerouac's Night. Here's the scoop directly from the Tampa Bay Times:
St. Kerouac's Night While most bars are pouring green beer on Saturday, fans of Beat poet and onetime St. Pete resident Jack Kerouac will gather at the Flamingo Bar, which legend says is where Kerouac had his last drink. Ronny Elliott leads the pack alongside Americana favorite Rebekah Pulley and the Reluctant Prophets, Spark Notes, Dog Peter Pat, more at 8 p.m., 1230 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 510-5474. 
Click here for more on the festivities. "Burn, burn, burn" T-shirts! I love it . . . .

Kill Your Darlings location filming

On The Road isn't the only Kerouac movie in the hopper. Kill Your Darlings is shooting on location in NYC according to this article. And, as reported previously here on The Daily Beat, a movie adaptation of Big Sur is in the works.

Regarding KYD, I am definitely a fan of casting Jack Huston as Kerouac. He is awesome in Boardwalk Empire, and I can see the resemblance.

P.S. I am aware that there are those who resist any attempt to turn one of Jack's books into a film. My retort is simple: Jack himself wanted it to happen, at least for On The Road. He even knew who he wanted to star in the film (click here to see the letter he wrote to Marlon Brando).

So, save your drama. Especially The Gothamist, which has already posted more than one diatribe against the upcoming On The Road adaptation (without having seen it).

Yes, Kerouac is for reading, yet even though I think that, I will still go see Kerouac-based movies. And that's coming from the #1 living Kerouac fan (with a few possible exceptions).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Garrett Hedlund makes a Jack Kerouac birthday call

More from The Beat Museum's Jack Kerouac 90th birthday celebration. Click here.

Thanks to OTR4 Kerouac for posting this on Facebook!

Classic Beat Generation pictures

I know this site (click here) is in Turkish, but Google Translate can help and it contains some classic pictures of our Beat Generation heroes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life advice from Jack Kerouac?

I think it would be way cool if you visited this article and posted a comment suggesting that if someone wants concrete examples of Kerouactions, they should buy The Beat Handbook.

Singing Happy Birthday to Jack Kerouac at The Beat Museum

Click here for more from The Beat Museum's Jack Kerouac 90th birthday celebration, this one including the singing of Happy Birthday and Al Hinkle blowing out the candles on the cake.

John Allen Cassady and Al Hinkle speak on Jack Kerouac's 90th birthday

Click here for a video of John Allen Cassady, son of Neal Cassady, and Al Hinkle, Big Ed Dunkel from On The Road, speaking at The Beat Museum as part of Jack Kerouac's 90th birthday celebration.

Al shows up around the 9:00 mark.

World Premiere of a Kerouac play!

I just learned from a Facebook friend that UMass Lowell and the Merrimack Repertory Theatre are announcing today that they will be producing Jack Kerouac's only full-length play as a world premiere this October. It will be the centerpiece of the 2012 Jack Kerouac Literary Festival.

Click here for more details from the Lowell Sun.

Happy 90th Birthday, Jack Kerouac

Were Jack Kerouac still alive, he'd be 90 today. In honor of such an auspicious occasion, the good folks from the On The Road 4 Kerouac Reinvent the Scroll Project asked me to record a video reading Jack's "San Francisco Scene." They used my video as part of this awesome tribute to Jack (click here), which features Jerry Cimino, founder/curator of The Beat Museum in San Francisco, and a number of the OTR4Kerouac Team Scrollers from around the world. Very cool, huh?

If you haven't yet contributed to the Reinvent the Scroll Project, please click here and do so. What better day to do it than on Jack's 90th birthday? Their goal is to reach the same length as Jack's On The Road roll (37 meters), and they need a lot more contributors (there are 19 so far)!

Back to the birthday greetings. I've routinely posted on The Daily Beat in honor of Jack's birthday. Here are links to past entries:

March 12, 2009

March 12, 2010

March 21, 2011 (not a typo - I forgot to post on Jack's birthday last year)

What's left to say? We miss you, Jack, but we're glad you left us so much to remember you by. And soon, you're going to see a worldwide resurgence of interest in your work, spurred on by the On The Road movie and sustained by the brilliance of your work.

Here is Jack's version of "San Francisco Scene," and here is mine.

Happy 90th Birthday, Ti Jean . . . .

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pictures of Jack Kerouac at Slate

Click here for a bunch of great pictures at Slate of our birthday boy (almost), Jack Kerouac, and some other Beat notables. I love the one where he's wearing a beret and pontificating at the Seven Arts Coffee Gallery in 1959.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Jerry Cimino likes the OTR trailer

Sam Riley as Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) in On The Road
Jerry Cimino, founder and curator of San Francisco's Beat Museum, says in this article that we can all breathe a bit easier about the movie version of On The Road meeting our expectations. I agree. The trailer is well done, and parts of it definitely capture the feel of the novel.

The live jazz scenes are frenetic, the dancing sexual, the American scenery gritty and realistic. I loved the voice narrating for Jack. Was that Sam Riley? If so, wow. He (or whoever) captured Jack's timbre and cadence pretty damn well. And even though 53-year-old Viggo Mortensen is playing a 34-ish-year-old William S. Burroughs, it seems to work in the trailer, perhaps in part because Burroughs always seemed older than his actual age, and in part because of Mortensen's commanding screen presence in anything he does.

If the trailer is any indication, we're going to like this movie. We may even love it! I have to be honest: I get goosebumps watching it.

Click here for the trailer on YouTube and let us know what you think.

Friday, March 9, 2012

On The Road trailer released!

Click here for the the world premiere trailer of On The Road!

Try here if the first link doesn't work.

The real Neal Cassady dancing compared to Garrett Hedlund

Click here for clips of the real Neal Cassady dancing and Garrett Hedlund's interpretation.

OTR set pictures

I saw a couple of On The Road set pictures here that I hadn't seen before.

Still no trailer and no word on when it will be released . . . .

On The Road trailer delayed!

I just learned that the On The Road trailer promised for today is delayed because of technical difficulties. Not sure when we'll see it. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jack Kerouac rare video footage

If you haven't watched this video footage featuring Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lucien Carr in New York City circa 1959, you are missing something special.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On The Road trailer THIS FRIDAY!

Here we go go go. Click here for the official news that the On The Road trailer will be released this Friday. My fingers are crossed crossed crossed . . . .

Jack Kerouac on Jeopardy!

A Winthrop, ME farmer was on Jeopardy last night. The final category was revealed to be "American Authors." (I yelled, "Jack Kerouac!")

Here was the final clue:
A fellow author called him "A very unique cat - a Frenc Canadian Hinayan Buddhist Beat Catholic savant."
Can you dig that? And my fellow Mainer was the only one who didn't know it. Color me embarrassed. I have some work to do in my own state re: Kerouawareness.

Here's the news article from today's Kennebec Journal.

NY Daily News misses the best Urban Dictionary Kerouac entry

Click here for a NY Daily News article featuring selections from Urban Dictionary related to Western Literature. Our hero Jack is represented, but I feel compelled to point out that they neglected the best entry in Urban Dictionary related to Kerouac: Kerouaction.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Great piece of Kerouac trivia

Click here to see a picture of a book by R. G. Ingersoll that Jack Kerouac bought in 1943 in Liverpool. It's inscribed by Jack.

Ingersoll's works are available here.

New stills re: On The Road the movie

Click here for some new stills of Garrett Hedlund related to the movie version of Jack Kerouac's On The Road. One features our friend, Al Hinkle, in the Hudson.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Planning for Jack Kerouac's 90th birthday

Jack Kerouac's 90th birthday is one week from today. I'm feeling compelled to do something for Jack's 90th, but I'm not sure what. I originally had intended to see if some bar or coffeehouse would allow me to host a party, maybe with readings and musical accompaniment. I asked one place and didn't get a response, and then I lost my oomph and didn't pursue it. Besides, up here in Maine, I don't think a Kerouac bash would attract much attention. I also like the idea of a Kerouac flash mob, but that's way beyond my organizational skills.

Which leaves me with no particular plans for Jack's 90th. I suppose I could make a trek to Lowell, but I'm just not feeling it given that I work until late Friday afternoon. Nevertheless, as a public service, click here to find out what's going on in Lowell to celebrate, starting on Thursday March 8. I encourage you to go, especially if you're a Kerouac fan and you've never been to Lowell.

If you're out San Francisco way, The Beat Museum is doing it up on March 11 and 12 ( the latter being Jack's actual birthday), with appearances by Beat notables like Al Hinkle, John Allen Cassady, and Brenda Knight. Click here for details.

I'm of a mind to celebrate on Jack's birthday, not around it, but there's no way I'll be in San Francisco on the 12th. Whatever I do, it should involve his favorite drink, but that's a matter of disagreement depending on which resource you tap (no pun intended). Many websites say his favorite drink was a margarita (which I can get down with since I love them), but at the same time I don't remember his characters drinking them in his novels (I'm willing to stand corrected). I remember poor boys of Tokay wine, beer, and I know he drank whiskey. My friend Keith (my "Neal") always told me Jack drank Jack Daniels and ginger ale, but I can't confirm it (although I'm pretty sure he was no stranger to his namesake).

Perhaps you find it ironic that I would lift a glass to Jack in the first place. I find it necessary.

Another essential ingredient is, obviously, reading some Kerouac. I do that every day, so I will have to find a special passage to read.

A little quiet time out under a tree would be a nice touch. And petting a cat would be another Kerouacian touch.

Maybe I'll just come home from work, sit quietly in my easy chair, look at the trees outside my window, turn on the Beverly Hillbillies, pet my cat as he sleeps in my lap (his usual place), read a passage from Visions of Gerard, drink straight out of a bottle of Old No. 7, and croon Happy Birthday in my finest beat voice.

Because, after all, it's the thought that counts.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Kerouac Companion

If you're a Jack Kerouac fan, you need to visit The Kerouac Companion and look around. It features character keys for Jack's books, a list of 600 characters with pictures and bios, and Kerouac family trees.

I'm not vouching for accuracy, but the sheer volume of information is impressive.

Jack Kerouac's On The Road book covers

I learned about this page from On The Road - The movie on Facebook. It displays well over a hundred different versions of On The Road book covers.


Which one(s) do you own? The version I used to write The Beat Handbook is shown above.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Gothamist no fan of On The Road movie

Click here to see The Gothamist's rather negative opinion of a movie version of On The Road.

Candidly, I worry greatly about the film. If it's bad - and that's a big if since we haven't even seen a trailer - it may have the unintended consequence of steering people away from Jack's novels. On the other hand, if it's good, and people flock to see it, I worry that many of those people will decide that reading the book is unnecessary.

And that would be a shame, because reading Jack is the best and only real way to appreciate his genius.

I suspect lots of people will go see the film. Kristen Stewart fans will. Viggo Mortensen fans will. Steve Buscemi fans will. Jack Kerouac fans will. Beat Generation fans will. What's hard to predict is how much it will pull the average moviegoer with no interest in Jack or the Beats or any of the film's stars.

I'd like to think that Salles has done a good job. That's what it comes down to, because a great director can inspire great performances from even mediocre actors.

My fingers are going to be quite tired of being crossed by the time this film is released stateside.

Another review of Nicosia's One and Only

Click here for another review of Gerald Nicosia's One and Only, about Lu Anne Henderson, the real-life Marylou from On The Road.

Beat generation  fans: Buy this book!

Jack Kerouac's time in Detroit

Click here for a detailed account of Jack Kerouac's times in Detroit and with his first wife, Edie Parker.

I dig Check it out. Great pictures and quotes from or about Jack Kerouac.

On The Road - the movie's official Facebook and Twitter pages

Click here to go to the official Facebook page of the movie version of On The Road. Click here for the official Twitter page.

P.S. It wouldn't hurt my feelings one little bit if you posted about my blog (or my book) on either or both of these sites.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another review of Gerald Nicosia's One and Only

Click here for a review of Gerald Nicosia's One and Only, which I reviewed here a few days ago (click here). Bruce Hodder highly recommends the book, as I do, except he is much more eloquent in making his case.

Sadly, it appears that Hodder's blog, "the beatnik," which I just learned about, is going on hiatus. Hopefully it will be a short one.

On The Road movie trailer out soon?

Saw this on @kerouacx's Twitter feed just now:
BREAKING NEWS: according to the production company, the On The Road trailer will be released in the next few days.

Review of Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory

Last night I finished reading Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, published in 2009 by Noodlebrain Press. Edited by Jack Kerouac's definitive biographer, Gerald Nicosia, it's the first biography of post-Beat novelist and poet Jan Kerouac. The book contains 17 short remembrances of Jan written by notables such as Nicosia himself, Phil Cousineau, Adiel Gorel, John Zielinski, Lee Harris, John Allen Cassady (Neal's son), Carl Macki, Jacques Kirouac, Mary Emmerick, Brad Parker, Aram Saroyan, Brenda Knight, Lynn Kushel Archer, R.B. Morris, Buddah (John Paul Pirolli), and Dan McKenzie.

The book begins with an introduction by Nicosia in which he describes learning about his friend Jan's death in 1996 at age 44. At the time of her death, Jan was embroiled in the infamous legal battle over her father's estate, a battle which was joined by Nicosia as her literary executor. She didn't live to see the court decision in 1999 in which a Florida judge ruled that the signature on Kerouac's mother's will that left his estate to Jack's third wife, Stella Sampas (who in turn left it to her own siblings in 1990), was forged. Yes, you read that correctly: forged. I don't want to turn this post into an attempt to unravel this complicated legal battle, but I will point out that Jack said, in his final letter - written October 20, 1969, the day he was taken to the hospital where he died the next day - the following (I took this directly from Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1957-1969, edited by Ann Charters):
I just wanted to leave my "estate" (which is what it really is) to someone directly connected with the last remaining drop of my direct blood line, which is, me sister Carolyn [sic], your Mom, and not to leave a dingblasted fucking goddamn thing to my wife's one hundred Greek relatives.
Paul did not benefit in Memere's (Jack's mom) will. Nor did Jan. However, while Jack didn't mention Jan in his letter, it is eminently clear what he wanted: for his own bloodline to benefit from his estate. It is also blatantly evident what he did not want: for his wife's relatives to benefit at all. And yet, Memere's will left the estate to Stella Sampas. Now we know - from a legal ruling - that her signature on the will was forged. Asking "Who benefited?" from such a forgery is certainly instructive. Anyway, as this goes to press, the legal wrangling continues (I posted an article about it here).

Nicosia details systematic attempts to erase Jan Kerouac from literary history. Even while alive, she was expelled from a 1995 New York University conference about her father when she asked Allen Ginsberg for permission to address the audience about the need to preserve her father's literary estate intact (versus being sold off piecemeal as has happened since under Sampus control). Nicosia states:
There sat Kerouac Estate Executor John Sampas, right next to NYU's Program Director, Helen Kelly, yelling viciously, and perhaps even gleefully, "Get her out of here!"
Nicosia goes on about the effort to blacklist Jan, but I won't take the time to expound upon that here. He admits that this book is mainly a response to that blacklisting, but also says:
...this book comes from more than the fact that Jan Kerouac was a key part of Jack Kerouac's life--even if only the "missing element," as she liked to say, "who enabled him to be who he was." She was indisputably a tremendous writer in her own right, and her work needs to be revived, read, and studied as the contribution of a major post-Beat writer herself.
Consider me officially recruited in that effort. I am sure that Jack would want his daughter's work given its due. I have copies of Jan's two books, Baby Driver and Trainsong, and will be reading and reviewing them here in the coming weeks. If this puts me at odds with certain contingencies in Lowell, so be it. No one is going to tell me what to read or what to discuss in my own blog. Even bigger than that, right is right. I've witnessed firsthand in Lowell how Nicosia is treated - all because he went to bat for Jan - and it just tweaks my sense of justice.

But back to the book. Beyond the wonderful reminiscences previously mentioned, it contains over 40 black-and-white photographs of Jan at different points in her life, from an alluring 13-year old Jan in vamp makeup in New York City's Lower East Side, to a pensive Jan riding with Allen Ginsberg to the Grammies in 1990, to a wistful Jan in a "What now?" pose at Jack's grave in 1994, to a determined Jan taken about two months before she died.

The book concludes with an insightful, 35-page interview with Jan that Nicosia conducted in 1979. In it, she waxes philosophical about her father, her childhood experiences (including being locked up in Bellevue), her relationships, and her views of herself as an artist. This interview alone is an important contribution to Beat history, and by itself justifies the cost of the book. The wonderful pieces by various people who knew Jan are icing on the cake. Granted, the book was edited by a close friend and confidante of Jan Kerouac, but Nicosia makes this fact abundantly clear throughout. Any reader who cries bias is just stating the obvious, and the multiple reminiscences by various authors more than balance out any potential bias present in Nicosia's few subjective sections. 

I highly recommend this book. It's an intimate look at the life of Jack Kerouac's daughter, which should pique the interest of Kerouac fans. However, I hope you will consider getting a copy because you want to read about the fascinating life of a spirited and unique author, Jan Kerouac.

For information on ordering Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, click here.

On The Road movie poster critiqued

Not everyone is a fan of the recently released On The Road movie poster. Click here.

On The Road movie news from The Hollywood Reporter

Click here for an article in The Hollywood Reporter about the latest from the On The Road movie.

Jack Kerouac: The Long Island Years

I learned about this piece from the Long Island Press focusing on Jack Kerouac's years in Northport from Al Hinkle on Facebook. Good catch, Al.

I'm don't know if it adds any new information to the Kerouac story, but it's well done and contains a number of details of interest to Kerouacaficionados.

Happy reading.