Saturday, November 17, 2018

Quoting Jack Kerouac

If you have occasion to quote Jack Kerouac -- or anyone, for that matter -- it is important to make sure of two things:

1. The quoted person actually said or wrote the words.

2. The quoted words are accurately reproduced.

This is easier said than done in the Internet age, as quotes run amok on-line. 

Your safest bet to quote Kerouac and be sure he said or wrote the words (#1 above) is to get your quote directly from one of his published books. You then can rest assured that he wrote them (more or less -- publishers fuck up, too). It helps to cite the book title and copyright date and publisher and page number(s). Then quote away. Even if it doesn't meet #2 above, you can blame it on the source (as long as you reproduced accurately). This includes his published letters, which, again, if it doesn't meet #2, you can blame it on the source. Another option that is less safe is to quote a legitimate secondary source such as one of the many well-regarded biographies. This won't ensure meeting #2, but, once again, you can blame it on the source.

What you should not do is take a quote from Goodreads or any of the many other quotation sources on-line. They are often not cited at all, or correctly cited, and they are often not accurate. That is, they don't meet #1 or #2 above. Note the difficulty in capturing an accurate Kerouac quote that I posted about here.

One exception to this rule seems to be the Jack Kerouac Wikiquote. It seems to meet #1 and #2 and even includes a list of misattributed Kerouac quotes. If you find a mistake on there, fix it. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Still, your best bet is to open a book like On The Road and carefully transcribe your Kerouac quote directly from the source.

And cite your work. For posterity. Please.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Kerouac: Beat Painting

I didn't know there was another book of Kerouac's paintings in addition to Departed Angels: The Lost Paintings by Jack Kerouac (curated here). This is "the catalog of an exhibition mounted, between December 2017 and April 2018, at the MAGA Gallery at Gallarate in northern Italy" according to this article in the Los Angeles Review of Books. The Amazon description (see link below) says that most of the 80 paintings and drawings included here have never before been published, so you may want to get this for your Kerouac bookshelf as a supplement to Departed Angels.

Hopefully, MAGA doesn't stand for an American political slogan. I think it stands for Museo Arte Gallarate, but, if so, why the extra A? Asking for a friend . . . .

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Recent book sales and a subversive idea

I had 2 sales of my book on Amazon last month. That is infinitely better than most months (during which I sell zero books). This is a shout-out and a thank you to the person or persons who made the purchases. You rock and I hope you (or the recipients if it's a gift) enjoy it.

FYI, a while back I started donating my book royalties to a podcast -- Middle Theory -- that doesn't charge for its content but relies solely on donations from listeners. It doesn't amount to much as I don't sell many books and, when I do, the royalty is only about 27% ($7.96 total for those last two books with a cover price totaling $29.98). By the way, I highly recommend the Middle Theory podcast -- it's the only one I listen to regularly.

I know I've been hawking my book a lot this week, but Christmas is coming and it makes a great gift. It's versatile, too. You can use it as a drink coaster, kindling for a fire, wobbly table leveler, frisbee, papier-mâché material, journal (lots of white space), or -- and this is a subversive thing you can do with it -- as an item to reverse shoplift. That is, buy a copy and sneak it onto the bookshelf at a brick-and-mortar bookstore just for a prank. Finally, you could leave a copy at a Beat landmark like the White Horse Tavern in NYC or Vesuvio's in San Francisco. In fact, if you are inclined to do either of the latter and want a free copy for doing so, send me an e-mail with your plan. I'll pick the best proposal I get after a couple of weeks go by and send the chosen person an inscribed book to leave at the identified location. My e-mail is

Now let's get cracking with those proposals . . . .

Click here to purchase or use the link over on the right ----> 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kerouac backstory on a photographer from Pull My Daisy

Happened on this article today and thought it would be of interest to readers. The author's father was a photographer who worked on the famous Beat short film, Pull My Daisy, adapted from Kerouac's play, The Beat Generation. You'll have to read almost the whole piece to find that tidbit.

Here's a link to Pull My Daisy in case you haven't seen it: click here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

10 Kerouac Christmas gift ideas

Christmas gift idea #1

If you're reading this blog, I presume it means you are a Jack Kerouac fan or at least interested enough in Kerouac to land on this post. That means you might have family or friends who are interested in Kerouac, and since Christmas is coming, perhaps you would entertain some Kerouac-themed gift ideas.

To wit, below in no particular order (except #1) are 10 Kerouac-themed gift ideas for Christmas.

1. The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions by Rick Dale
This book -- my book -- answers the question, "What would Kerouac do?", by mining The Dharma Bums and On The Road. Click here to order it from Amazon. It's a great companion reader for ##7 and 8.

2. A Kerouac T-shirt
There are any number of places on-line to order Kerouac T-shirts. Just Google "Kerouac T-shirt" and you'll see options like Etsy and Teepublic, etc. Zazzle used to have some but I think the estate got after them. I only know that because they discontinued one that I created, citing copyright reasons.

3. A Kerouac coffee mug
Again, just Google the phrase and you will see options like Zazzle (not sure why the estate didn't get after them about this one) and CafePress.

4. A Kerouac button
Like the one my friend, Richard Marsh, got me as a surprise gift. You can find it on eBay by clicking here.

5. A Kerouac poster
At Redbubble you will find not only posters but also T-shirts and mugs. Click here.

6. A Kerouac video
There are lots of choices here, not the least of which would be one of the film adaptations like On The Road or Big Sur. Or the documentary, One Fast Move or I'm Gone would be a good choice. Check out The Beat Museum gift shop for some videos as well as other Kerouac schwag.

7*. On The Road by Jack Kerouac, first edition first printing inscribed by Kerouac
This is only $89,378.06 at Abebooks. What a present this would be for someone! If you need my mailing address, let me know . . . .

8*. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, first edition first printing
Click here. Not as expensive as #7, but still pricey. Again, let me know if you need my mailing address . . . .

9. The Portable Jack Kerouac edited by Ann Charters
Here's a lot of Jack in one spot for that special someone on your list.

10. A bottle of Blanton's Kentucky single barrel bourbon whiskey
I know some will say it's heresy to include booze on a Kerouac-themed Christmas gift list since he died of alcoholism, but I'm hedging my bets in case someone uses this list for ideas for me and happens upon this item. I love this bourbon like no other I've tried. Expensive. You can buy it online here.

10a. Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades by John Suiter.
This is an alternative to #10 in case it offended you. This is a beautiful, beautiful book and would be a great gift for anyone, Kerouac fan or not.

So there you have it. 10 Kerouac-themed Christmas gift ideas to spur you on as you tackle your shopping this season. If you have other ideas, let us know in a comment.

Have fun!

*A nice, cheap used copy of On The Road or The Dharma Bums or any other Kerouac novel would also be a great gift. Good alternatives are Visions of Gerard or Big Sur or Dr. Sax or The Subterraneans.

Monday, November 12, 2018

RIP to Kerouac close friend William "Billy" Koumantzelis

One of Jack Kerouac's close late-in-life friends from his hometown of Lowell died last month. William "Billy" Koumantzelis was 92. You can read about him here in the Lowell Sun.

Here's a picture of Billy that I took at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac in October 2012.

That's Billy to the left of David Amram (center, partially hidden by microphone).

Hearing Billy speak that night was a highlight of the festival for me. You can read my report from LCK 2012 here.

RIP, Billy. Say hi to Jack for us . . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Kerouac-inspired film: The Long Dumb Road

Keep your eyes peeled for The Long Dumb Road, a film inspired by Kerouac's On The Road. I can't really vouch for the film because I haven't seen it, but it may be worth checking out. Here's a snippet from Deadline Hollywood about it:
The Long Dumb Road came out of a road trip a friend of filmmaker Hannah Fidell had taken some years back. The friend was obsessed with the Jack Kerouac classic novel, On The Road, so set out for a life experience and along the way befriended a drifter while en route to Los Angeles.
Here's a link to the entire article (scroll to the end): The film got 6.9/10 on IMDB and 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, so it probably doesn't suck.

What's not to love about a decent road/buddy movie?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Tao of Kerouac

Sometimes a title for my next book -- yes, I just put that concept out there into the universe so now I need to make it manifest -- comes to me without much in the way of an overall theme or plot. Yesterday, for some unknown reason, the title, "The Tao of Jack Kerouac," popped into my mind.

I really like that title for several reasons. First, I think it's catchy. Second, it lends itself to a lot of directions, not the least of which is exploring the Eastern religious aspects of Kerouac's life and work (remember, The Dharma Bums is my favorite Kerouac novel). Finally, it hasn't been used yet.

Or so I thought. Just in case, I Googled the phrase and found this article from December 2016: The Tao of Jack Kerouac. I didn't find a book by that title.

Not wanting to be accused of copying but undaunted, next I Googled "The Tao of Kerouac." Nothing by that title -- either book or essay -- came up, although I did happen across this: "The Beat Generation Worldview in Kerouac’s On the Road." It contains a section titled, "The Tao of On the Road." As I expected, my own blog post, "Jack Kerouac and the Tao of Fried Eggs," appeared in the search results, but it appears that no one has written a book or essay titled, "The Tao of Kerouac."

So let the word go forth from this time and place that I am place-holding "The Tao of Kerouac" as a potential future book title. If someone jumps on it before I get around to using it, so be it and you're welcome.

What will it be about? Translated, it means "The Way of Kerouac." I can think of lots of different directions to take that concept, but I need a thesis. But could the world stand one more book about Jack Kerouac? What are your thoughts?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Ntozake Shange and Jack Kerouac

You've probably been wondering about the connection between poet/playwright Ntozake Shange (she wrote For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf), who died recently, and Jack Kerouac. Or maybe you haven't, but remember: everything connects to Jack Kerouac.

I was reading a remembrance piece about Ntozake in the San Francisco Chronicle and came across this line:
In addition to her well-known connections to the Black Arts Movement, Shange had Bay Area influences, including the Beats, the first artists she heard combining music and poetry . . . .
Click here for a link to the article.

So the Kerouac connection is clear: Jack and his Beat compatriots were an influence on Ntozake. We'll probably learn more about those connections when Gerald Nicosia finishes the biography he has been working on about her.

Here is the article link for future reference:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"A Slightly Embarrassing Love for Jack Kerouac" by Amanda Petrusich

I've been catching up on my on-line Kerouac content. I've been so focused on my Kerouac bookshelf curation project since February that I haven't been keeping current with Kerouac news and articles.

Click here for an article from the New Yorker by Amanda Petrusich titled, "A Slightly Embarrassing Love for Jack Kerouac."

It's a good essay, honest and insightful, published to coincide with Jack's birthday week. I missed it in March but I enjoyed it this morning -- I think you will, too.

Here's the actual link for future reference:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Beats and Catholicism

I just ran across this article in Angelus-- dated today -- about the Beats and Catholicism. I don't agree with the author on every point. I agree that religion influenced Beat literature, but to say the dominant religious influence was Roman Catholicism is a stretch once you go beyond Kerouac. Fortunately, the article focuses mainly on Jack, whose writing explicitly reflects his Catholic upbringing and beliefs.

Angelus appears to be the magazine of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (the word means a Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation). It's interesting to see an article about the Beats in a Catholic magazine -- I suspect they will take some grief for the subject matter since the Beats espoused behaviors that were antithetical to Catholic dogma.

Here is the actual link for future reference:

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

For once, don't follow my book's advice

Click here to find the answer to "What would Kerouac do?"

The thesis of my book (above) is simple: To be a Beat, answer the question, "What would Kerouac do?" Then do that.

Just for today, I disavow that advice because -- as far as I can ascertain -- Jack didn't routinely vote. If and when he did, he likely voted Republican (e.g., see this NBC news transcript). Especially later in life, Jack espoused conservative views. But that is another blog post.

Now, it is not my place here to tell you how you should vote, but I am going to encourage you to do so (if you haven't done so already). The direction of the country is at stake, so if you like the way things have been going, or you don't, make your voice heard -- VOTE!

As for me, this time around I am voting to send a message that governing by negativity, hate, fear, lying, bullying, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, bigotry, racism, greed, chaos, conflict, division, and by being anti-poor, anti-old, anti-sick, anti-disability, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-healthcare, anti-Medicare, anti-Medicaid, and anti-Social Security is not okay with me. Not. Okay. With. Me. And while I've voted for Republicans in the past, the current situation in this country is such that I will not vote for a Republican for any elected office. As Crystal says, not even for dogcatcher ("Animal Control Officer" for PC folks).

If my being honest about my voting preferences turns you off from reading my blog in the future, while that makes me sad, it says more about you than it does me.

Support democracy and VOTE!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Reminder about Jack Kerouac on reddit

This is just a reminder that there is a Jack Kerouac page on reddit (a "subreddit") that focuses on all things Kerouac. It's not a very busy place (yet), but there are some interesting posts there. For example, 2 days ago someone posted that they were having a cognac at the Tangerrin, where Jack and the Beats drank. I think it's this place (albeit the spelling differences).

Click here to visit the Kerouac subreddit.

If you're not familiar with reddit, give it a chance. It takes some exploring to get used to how it works, but there is a lot of information there. Do some searching and if you find subreddits you like, subscribe to them and posts there will then show up in your reddit home feed.

Self-disclosure: I am the creator and moderator of this subreddit, but there's nothing in it for me except having just one more place on-line devoted to Jack Kerouac.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Kerouac's Mexico: Photo-Essay by John Suiter

Kerouacophiles know how important Mexico was in Jack's life journey and writing, yet for one reason or another I had not run across the below photo-essay by John Suiter until today.* You will remember that we curated Suiter's book, Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades, here. It is one of my very favorite Kerouac-related books, and I can't wait to check this photo-essay out more carefully. It should be good for two reasons: John Suiter plus it's a legitimate Kerouac website (UMass Lowell's The Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities).

Here's the link: Kerouac's Mexico.


*It's also possible I'd seen it and forgotten about it.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Kerouac Bookshelf Curation Project: Afterword

I'd be interested to know from readers what you thought of my recently concluded Kerouac bookshelf curation project, in which I curated every item on my Kerouac bookshelf starting on February 12, 2018 and proceeding through the 169 items that were on that shelf -- in order, top to bottom and left to right -- on that date. Did it inspire you to curate your own collection, or at least take a picture of it for posterity? Was it tedious in length or in similarity of posts (despite my efforts to put in some unique and relevant piece of information about each book)?

If the length bothered you, be glad I had 13* Kerouac or Kerouac-related items scattered about the house (living room bookcase, basket by the fireplace, bedside table, or even my Kerouac bookshelf but after I started the official curation -- a recent acquisition, say). Here's proof (picture taken today):

Kerouacophiles will be able to tell why I included all of these titles (5 of which are easy because they include -- exclusively or in part -- Kerouac's own writing).

1. City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
2. Selected Poems by Robert Creeley
3. Sleeping with Bad Boys: A Juicy Tell-All of Literary New York in the 1950s and 1960s by Alice Denham
4. A Buddhist Bible by Dwight Goddard
5. Mindfield by Gregory Corso
6. The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished & Newly Translated Writings edited by Todd Tietchen
7. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
8. Escapade magazine from December 1959
9. The Last Days of Jan Kerouac by Gerald Nicosia
10. Trickster Feminism by Anne Waldman
11. The Big Cage by Robert Lowry
12. Pomes All Sizes by Jack Kerouac
13. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

 If I had included all 13 of these items on my Kerouac bookshelf, the grand total would be 182. That qualifies me for the Kerouac Hoarder Awared given out yearly by the American Hoarder Society based in Dungsville, Indiana.

Seriously though, assuming I am not going to curate those 13 items (which is a good assumption), what in the world am I going to blog about henceforth? What hasn't been said about Jack Kerouac here or elsewhere? What would Kerouac do?


* There may be more than 13 -- I didn't hunt very long or hard.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Curation #169 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Last Man Standing...Al Hinkle, interview with Stephen D. Edington


Item #169 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is a three-fer (it all came in one mailing): 2 signed photographs of Al Hinkle and a Stephen P. Edington interview titled, Last Man Standing...Al Hinkle. 38 pages (no page numbers), the book measures about 5.5" x 8.5" and is in very good condition. It is hand-marked 28/200 and inscribed thus:

Happy Trails
Al Hinkle
In Freedom & Liberty
Dear Rick Thanks so much
for the Books -- I enjoy
two or three Kerouactions
a day. Keep "the beat" going.
Feb 2012

The glossy pics measure about 8" x 10" and, yes, that is Jack Kerouac in one and Neal Cassady in the other.

The provenance of these items is that Al sent them to me after I interviewed him for this blog here, and had sent him a copy of my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions. I note in his inscription of the book that he mentioned my term, Kerouactions! How cool is that?

For those who are not diehard Kerouac fans, Al Hinkle is one of the last living characters represented in On the Road -- hence the book title. He was portrayed as Big Ed Dunkel in On the Road.

This book is a lengthy interview with Stephen D. Edington, whose book we curated here. It also includes another short piece by Edington titled, "Neal and Ike--A Meeting of the Icons," and a short piece by Al titled, "My Friend, Allen Ginsberg: A Short Ride with Al Hinkle."

There's some priceless stuff here. Remember that Al was in the car on that famous 1949 road trip that Kerouac immortalized in On the Road.

I don't know how you'd get your hands on a copy of these items other than contacting Al directly, and I couldn't get to work just now. Mine aren't for sale (unless you have a lot of dough to part with).

Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (23rd from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. In the past, this space has been reserved for "Next Up," but as we said above, this curation project is officially at a stopping point. If you enjoyed this post, there are 168 others that you can read by using the blog archive over on the right-hand side.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Curation #168 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Beat Generation: Glory Days in Greenwich Village by Fred W. and Gloria S. McDarrah

Item #168 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this 1996 Schirmer Books 1st printing of Beat Generation: Glory Days in Greenwich Village by Fred W. and Gloria S. McDarrah. 286 pages, it measures about 8.5" x 11" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that it was a Christmas gift from my son and daughter-in-law (via Amazon's handy gift list feature). Stamped on the top edge is "Columbus Metropolitan Library," so we know where it resided at one time.

I don't know what to say about this book. It is simply fabulous. In hundreds of vivid black-and-white pictures -- and text -- the McDarrahs* take us back to the Beat scene in the Village circa 1959. The McDarrahs were there, man, and they capture it like no others have or will. From the classic cover photo of Kerouac reading at the famous Artist's Studio to Ginsberg reading at the Living Theater to a cameo of Gary Snyder in NYC, it's all here, including a lengthy list of biographical sketches (a Who's Who of the Village Beat heyday).

If you haven't seen this book, order it right away, digest it, and then put it on your Kerouac bookshelf where it belongs.

*Google the McDarrahs if you aren't already familiar with them. Hint: Fred was a staff photographer for the Village Voice for years and he took some of the classic photos of Jack with which you are familiar.

Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (22nd from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Last Man Standing...Al Hinkle: An Interview with Stephen D. Edington.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf