Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2016 (and the secret word)

Each year, a dedicated group of Kerouacians put on the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival in Jack's beautiful home town of Lowell, Massachusetts. This year is no different and the festival is slated for October 6-10. You can view and download the schedule at this link:

Notice that this year the central focus is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Satori in Paris. If you haven't read that particular Kerouac novel yet, it's time -- especially if you plan to attend LCK this year (which I highly recommend). You will note that there is a marathon reading of Satori scheduled for Saturday. Unfortunately, we have to sneak away to a wedding that happens to be in Massachusetts that day and will miss it, but I encourage you to sign up. I participated in a marathon reading of The Dharma Bums at LCK in 2008, and it was a lot of fun (you can read about it here:!

As regular readers know, for several years I have promised a signed copy of my book to the first person to whisper a secret word in my ear at the festival. Last year the secret word was "subterraneans," but, sadly, no one took me up on the offer, This year the secret word is "satori," and I hope someone will make the effort to win a free book! Hey, even if you don't like it for its reading value, it makes a great drink coaster, can be used to level a ladder, makes a great fire-starter, and, if nothing else, you can resell it on Amazon -- there's a used copy on there right now for $65.94 (

LCK! kicks off with the traditional Kerouac pubs tour on Thursday night, and we plan to be there in time for that event. It's a nice way to kick off the festival, strolling through Lowell from pub to pub with like-minded Kerouacians and enjoying a couple of adult beverages along the way. Check the schedule for other events that may strike your fancy. I particularly like Talking Jack on Friday and the Commemorative at the Commemorative and Open Mike at the Old Worthen (which we'll miss), but everything is worthwhile, from the Parker Lecture to tours by docents like Roger Brunelle and Bill Walsh.

You may be wondering where to stay while in Lowell, and I don't have great news about that. There is literally only one downtown hotel, the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center, and it is almost always booked solid. We are staying at the Courtyard by Marriott just out of town in nearby Chelmsford. The good news is that you can park for free at the National Historical Park in Lowell, which is nearby most events. Or you can take a quick cab ride as we have done in the past.

To sum, we'll see you this October in Lowell for the 2016 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival. You'll have a great time and you'll be helping keep alive the legacy of Jack Kerouac for future generations.

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