Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jack Kerouac and March 5

Jack Kerouac at  the Village Vanguard, December 1957

It's March 5. What can we say about that date and Jack Kerouac (during his lifetime)?

Well, we've been blogging about Jack Kerouac here at The Daily Beat since July 15, 2008. That will make 9 years come this summer. How many times do  you think we've blogged on March 5 in those 9 years?

The answer is twice. Once in 2009 and once in 2012.

And now 2017.

But what else can we say?

I searched the Cosmic Baseball Association's chronology in vain for a March 5 event, and, in fact. by my count the month of March only shows up 23 times in the whole chronology. That in itself is weird, weird, weird (see my post about the number 23 here).

I next turned to the two volumes of selected letters edited by Ann Charters covering 1940-1956 and 1957-1969. Guess what? No entries for that date.

I didn't mine any of my many Kerouac biographies because that would be pretty tedious going. There may well be something in there.

A Google search for "March 5 and Jack Kerouac" yields one interesting but inaccurate hit. According to This Day in Jazz History, Kerouac recorded Poetry For The Beat Generation with Steve Allen on this date in 1957. I'm not sure that's accurate. The CBA's chronology shows Kerouac in Tangier from February through March 1957, and it's pretty clear from multiple sources that the recording happened after Kerouac's disastrous Village Vanguard performance. The latter was certainly December 1957.

The information accompanying Rhino's The Jack Kerouac Collection states that Poetry for the Beat Generation was "Possibly recorded March 1958." It would seem that the official re-release of this recording would state its exact date were it known. What we're left with is that Kerouac may or may not have made this particular recording on March 5, 1958.

One fairly certain Kerouac event on a March 5 was John Brooks' review of The Town and the City appearing in The New York Times (Source: The Beat Generation FAQ, p. 52).

Another is that Kerouac wrote a journal entry in 1948 (Source: Windblown World, p. 58). It had to do with writing 500 words, typing a manuscript, and going into N.Y. at night and running into a "big crowd of new people" (with "much drinking, talking, etc.").

All of this makes me wonder if it would be possible to create a daily Kerouac calendar showing an event from Kerouac's life each day of the year. I'd buy it.

What Kerouacian event can you cite that occurred on this date between March 12, 1922 and October 21, 1969?

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