Friday, April 30, 2010

Two things

Two Ginsberg things today.

First, I invoked Ginsberg in a Facebook post about the famous "topless parade" going on in Farmington as I type this (while I sit in class proctoring a quiz). I said the Allen Ginsberg in me wanted to attend: nude. Another commenter said he wouldn't want to see Allen Ginsberg nude. I mentioned that I had Ginsberg's poem, "America," on my desk at that very moment. He replied as follows:
I performed America at a speech tournament as an undergrad - had a coach who changed the word fuck to hell, and my judge was a big Ginsberger and wrote on my critique, "You changed the words, so fuck you." I never let my speech coach change anything I read after that.

I laughed outloud. One of the funniest, best, unsolicited beat stories I've read in a long time!

Second, I happened on this today, and thought you might enjoy it: Ginsberg in the 50s.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

News about the Road movie

The latest news is that On The Road may start filming this summer, with Garrett Hedlund slated to play Dean Moriarty. No news yet on who will play Kerouac. I blogged about this on November 26, 2008. Read the story here.

I sure hope they get this movie right. It's a long shot, I know, but I'm pulling for them.

The Subterraneans

I finished reading The Subterraneans today. I had a false start with it last year, and a few stalls this time around, but I finally got into it about half-way through.

Kerouac really pulls you into his love affair with Mardou, with all of the accompanying passions and anxieties. Easy to relate to if you've had a love affair. Kerouac is at his spontaneous best here, and if I hadn't forced my way through Visions of Cody I may have given up again.

The nice thing about The Subterraneans, compared to Visions of Cody, is that it is shorter and, in my view, the plot is easier to stay engaged with. If you want to experience Kerouac's truly spontaneous style (much moreso than in The Dharma Bums or On The Road), I recommend this book as a starting point.

As usual, you'll need a key if you want to know what real-life people the characters represent. I was proud of myself for figuring out on my own (from Kerouac's description) which character was John Clellon Holmes. Here's a key (if you don't already have one bookmarked): Jack Kerouac Character Key.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beat poet Michael McClure (Pat McLear in Big Sur) to read in Portsmouth, NH

Beat poet Michael McClure, immortalized as Pat McLear in Kerouac's Big Sur, will be reading in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as part of Jazzmouth's "Main Event" on Saturday April 24. Click here for details.

McClure recently published a volume of poetry titled Mysteriosos and Other Poems. It's available on Amazon. While you're there, think about picking up a copy of The Beat Handbook as a companion reader.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Interview with Malcom McLaren

Click here to read an interview with pop culture icon Malcolm McLaren, who died yesterday, in which he admits that our Jack was a major influence:
I definitely wanted to meet Jack Kerouac. Growing up in the 1950's and going to art school in London in the 1960's, these were ones [sic] heroes, one looked upon Jack Kerouac, this Beat Poet, this writer of the great Bohemian Novel, On The Road, and the guy who basically created the leather jacket, the blue denim jeans, the white T-shirt and the biker boot look. The people such as the group The Ramones are really just the grandchildren of the style of Jack Kerouac. Jack Kerouac was responsible for the creation of the original rock n roll in 1949 - and that was my guy.

You go, Jack. I never knew you were responsible for creating rock-n-roll!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jack Kerouac lives on and on

I routinely use Google's blog search to check for mentions of Jack. A day never goes by without at least a passing reference, if not an entire post devoted to him or his work. For example, click here to check out the post, "Rereading Jack Kerouac's On the Road," featured in the blog, A Designer's Musings.

Jack was obsessed with his own mortality, which contributed to his prolific writing habits, which in turn assured his immortality.

Forty years after I die, who will be reading something I wrote?

Alas . . . .

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jack Kerouac makes Esquire's "75 Best Dressed Men of All Time"

While it's no surprise to regular readers of The Daily Beat, Jack Kerouac was named to Esquire's "75 Best Dressed Men of All Time" list. He's number 23 in the list available here (don't get me started on the number 23 phenomenon - see my previous post on the matter here).

Jack's in good company with the likes of Steve McQueen, Sean Connery, and other sartorial role models.

When you see me in my flannel shirts, Carhartt workpants, and hiking boots, just remember: Jack thought of it first.

William S. Burroughs article

Click here for a short article about William S. Burroughs in The Wichita Eagle about his decision to live out his remaining years in Lawrence, Kansas.

According to the article, at Burroughs' funeral a University of Kansas faculty member said:

The world would not be what it is today had "Naked Lunch" [sic] not been written, or had the censors succeeded in suppressing it. . . . He stood for freedom for everyone — not, for example, just for the polite homosexuals who could mix easily in elite academic company, but for the drag queens and the hard-core leather-and-chains crowd as well. He challenged our mores and our conditioning to the core.

Huzzah to anyone who challenges our mores and conditioning!