Monday, August 19, 2019

Catching up with Kerouac-related August dates

Given our travels (that's Crystal and me in front of our new Winnebago part-way through our recent 11-day trip), I have been neglectful of posting Kerouac-related birth and death dates for August, so below are some in bulk in order to catch up.

August 1     Ramblin' Jack Elliott born 1931 (Jack Elliott in Book of Dreams)
August 2     William S. Burroughs died 1997 (Old Bull Lee in On The Road, etc.)
August 5     Leo Kerouac born 1889 (Emil Alcide Duluoz in Visions of Gerard, etc.)
August 6     Diane di Prima born 1934 (not sure she appeared in a Kerouac work)
August 8     Herbert Huncke died 1996 (Elmer Hassel in On The Road, etc.)
August 14   David Kammerer died 1944 (Dave Stoheim in Visions of Cody, etc.)
August 15   Bea Franco died 2013 (Terry "the Mexican Girl" in On The Road)
August 23   Gerard Kerouac born 1916 (Gerard Duluoz in Visions of Gerard, etc.)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Today's date -- July 31 -- is a Kerouac "twofer"

Elise Cowen (L) and Gore Vidal (R)

Today's date -- July 31 -- is Kerouac noteworthy for two reasons. First, it is Beat poet Elise Cowen's birthday (1933). She appeared as Barbara Lipp in Kerouac's Desolation Angels. Read about her here (a website I just discovered).

Second, on this date in 2012 writer and bon vivant Gore Vidal died. He appeared in The Subterraneans as Arial Lavalina and in Old Angel Midnight as Gore Bedavalled. Read about him here.

Friday, July 26, 2019

JAPHY license plates came today!

Our license plates for the camper came today and I put them on (as you can see). It's an homage to my favorite Kerouac book, The Dharma Bums, and, of course, the main character in the story, Japhy Ryder (real-life Gary Snyder). Of the available plates, most of the Kerouac and related permutations were already taken. We could have had ONTHERD, for On The Road, but this way gives us a name for the camper, which is apparently a "thing" in the RV world.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Happy Birthday to Chandler Brossard

On this date -- July 18 -- in 1922, American writer Chandler Brossard was born. He would have been 97 today. Brossard appeared as Chris Rivers in Jack Kerouac's and William S. Burroughs' And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. Some claim Brossard's Who Walk in Darkness (1952) was the first Beat novel. Brossard was not pleased with being associated with the early Beat writers, but given the content of Darkness it is hard to dismiss the connections. I wrote about that book here.

So Happy Birthday, Mr. Brossard, wherever you are!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Happy Birthday to Robert LaVigne

On this date -- July 15 -- in 1928, artist Robert LaVigne was born. LaVigne (I've seen it with the V capitalized and not capitalized) was Guy Levesque in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels.

A well-known story about LaVigne is that it was his portrait of Peter Orlovsky -- his model and lover -- that caused Allen Ginsberg to request an introduction to Orlovsky, beginning a life-long relationship.

LaVigne has papers archived at Columbia University. See (this resource includes a concise biographical sketch).

Friday, June 28, 2019


We recently purchased this 2019 Winnebago Travato 59K and are about to get it registered. We will get a vanity plate for it, and since we plan to take a cross-country trek in it next year, we may have it read ONTHRD. Faithful readers will know what that means. It could be misinterpreted as ON THIRD, but then it's good to separate the true Kerouac fans from the rest. I'll know by the reactions of passing motorists. Thumbs up means they "get it."

P.S. Another idea is JAPHY. Which do you prefer?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Random Kerouac quote

Below is the last paragraph of a particular Kerouac book. Can you name it without raiding your bookshelf?
I'll go light candles to the Madonna, I'll paint the Madonna, and eat ice cream, benny and bread --"Dope and saltpork," as Bhikku Booboo said--I'll go to the South of Sicily in the winter, and paint memories of Arles--I'll buy a piano and Mozart me that--I'll write long sad tales about people in the legend of my life--This is my part of the movie, let's hear yours

Seems to me Jack was answering Mary Oliver's provocative question: "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"