Friday, July 31, 2009

Jack Kerouac Beat Travelogue

Crystal and I just got back from a week in California: a few days in 'Frisco and then a few with my son Jason. Below are some picture highlights.

No trip to 'Frisco would be complete without visiting City Lights Bookstore (Ferlinghetti's place) and Vesuvio Cafe (where Jack hung out). They are across Jack Kerouac Alley from each other on Columbus Avenue.

Here's a picture of me looking at a copy of The Beat Handbook that I had just reverse shoplifted into City Lights. (Later in the trip I also reverse shoplifted a copy into the bookstore at Venice Beach. Lots of beat characters in that place!)

Here I am at the Vesuvio Cafe.

In nearby Chinatown, every other place had the "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil" monkeys out front. I added my own interpretation.

During our visit with Jason we snuck out to Joshua Tree, a magical place where I spent a few days climbing with Keith, Levi, Ira, and Jason in February 2006. We showed Crystal where we camped and we scrambled some. It was 106 degrees! No climbers anywhere.

In Hollywood, Michael Jackson's star was adorned with all kinds of memorial mementos, so I left a copy of The Beat Handbook. I figure thousands of people have now seen it. Good idea, huh? I inscribed it: "Dear Michael, I hope you're digging the ride. -Rick"

One of the highlights for me happened in Hollywood. We were walking Hollywood Boulevard and a big guy next to me stopped to take a picture of Tom Cruise's star. I didn't think anything of it but the next thing I knew, Jason was talking to him like they were old friends. The guy shook my hand and Jason said, "Dad, this is Diamond Dallas Page." I about fell over. Jason and I are wrestling fans, and Jason recognized him in baseball cap and shades and without his long blond locks (he's retired). When Jason thought he knew who it was, he said, "You're awesome," and subtly made the diamond shape with his hands that was DDP's trademark and went, "Right?" to be sure it was him. DDP suggested pictures and had us pose with him in a special way. He said he might put them on Facebook

I had books with me and should have given him one, but didn't think of it until later. Check out his website: Diamond Dallas Page. He's into selling his fitness system now. I suspect that Mickey Rourke's character in "The Wrestler" was influenced by DDP, or easily could have been.

A great trip - hope you enjoyed the pics.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Susan Boyle: Bite me

I just read that Susan Boyle, in an upcoming interview on The Today Show, claims that adjusting to celebrity has been difficult for her.

You know what, Susan? Bite me.

Complaining about becoming famous is, well ... lame.

Bring on the fame....


I finally got a poem published in print. It's in the July 2009 Letter Founder, a small 'zine out of Lewiston, Maine. First page, too.

Jack would be proud.

Here's the cover:

Here's the page with my poem on it:

It's literally a cut-and-paste 'zine. I found it at Maine Poetry.

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! 2009

Fellow Beats,

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! 2009 is happening again this October 1-4. You can get on the e-list for the event by writing to Steve Edington at See the schedule below.



Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2009 Schedule
Dates: October 1—4, 2009


5:30 p.m.: “Historic Kerouac Pubs Tour” led by Mike Wurm. An interpretation of some of Kerouac’s favorite “watering holes” in Lowell. Begins at Lowell’s oldest pub, the Old Worthen Tavern on Worthen Street near City Hall and proceeds crosstown to Ricardo’s Café Trattoria (formerly Jack’s brother-in-law Nicky’s Bar) on Gorham Street; then to Major’s Bar on Jackson Street, finishing at Cappy’s Copper Kettle on Central St. Total estimated time: Two hours. Opportunities for volunteer readings at the pubs and en route. Call Mike at 978-0501-1021 for further information.

NOTE: A $5.00 donation is requested to help defray costs and to keep this annual event for future years. THIS IS OUR SUGGESTED DONATION FOR ALL LCK TOURS OVER THE WEEKEND.

7:30 p.m.: Music and Open Mike at Cappy’s Copper Kettle. Alan Crane, David Amram, and others. Emceed by John McDemott.


Morning: Poetry Competition at Lowell High School. Time TBD

Afternoon: Jack Kerouac: Lowell High School Class of 1939. Essay Contest winners will be announced and awarded, and will read their essays. Lowell High School. Time TBD.

4:30 p.m. Tour: The Merrimack: Mighty Napo of New England. Meet at the top of Merrimack Street at the “Watermelon Man Bridge.” [AKA The University Avenue/Moody Street Bridge] Led by Roger Brunelle.

7:00 p.m.: Remembering Jack: Some of Kerouac’s Classmates and Friends Offer Recollections of Jack Kerouac. [Tentative: To be confirmed.]

Presentation and Tour: Cutting Classes: An Account of Jack Kerouac’s Connection to the Pollard Memorial Library. Led by Roger Brunelle and Bill Walsh.

The two above events will be held in the Community Room of the Pollard Memorial Library.

9:30 p.m. After hours event at The Village Smokehouse with Tex MacNamara and His Bucking Broncos. [Suggested donation of $5.00 at the door.]


9:00 a.m. Tour: Mystic Jack: A Tour of the Sites in “Visions of Gerard.” Meet at the St. Louis de France Church on West Sixth Street. Led by Roger Brunelle.

11:30 a.m. Commemorative at the Commemorative. This year we will observe the 40th Anniversary of the death of Jack Kerouac on October 21, 1969.

2:00 p.m. “The Revelation to Ti Jean”. A presentation by Dr. Benedict Giamo, Professor of American Studies at Notre Dame University and author of Kerouac: The Word and the Way. In observance of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Doctor Sax.

Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center.

4:00 p.m. Tour: The Kerouac Places of Downtown Lowell. Begin at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center. Led by Roger Brunelle.

[5:30 p.m.: Open Mike—Village Smokehouse??]

7:30—Concert: Jack and Sebastian: A Multi-Media Concert

David Amram and the New England Orchestra

Eliot Presbyterian Church—273 Summer Street. Lowell, MA

9:30 p.m. Tour: Ghosts of the Pawtucketville Night. Meet in front of Cumnock Hall—North Campus, UML. Led by Roger Brunelle.


11:30 a.m. Screening of Brent Mason’s documentary: Grave Concerns—A Deadly Road Trip. Filmed in Lowell during the On the Road Scroll Exhibit. Produced by Hennings House Pictures. Café Paradiso.

1:00 p.m. Amram Jam. Café Paradiso. Open Mike readings with accompaniment by David Amram.


The 2009 LCK Festival is partially funded by the Lowell Cultural Council.

Dr. Giamo’s presentation is funded in part by the Parker Lecture Series.

Thanks to all who make the 2009 LCK Festival possible:

The Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL), The Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell High School, The Pollard Memorial Library, Café Paradiso, The Village Smokehouse, Cappy’s Copper Kettle, Ricardo’s Café Trattoria, The Old Worthen Tavern, The Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Kay Roberts and the New England Orchestra, The Estate of Jack and Stella Kerouac—John Sampas, Literary Executor.

And most of all, the many Friends and Donors to Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!


For additional information contact:

Steve Edington, President—LCK

Special thanks to Richard Widhu for the wonderful cover design!