Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Denver Kerouac fans take matters into their own hands

According to this article at Denver Westword News, a group in Denver has taken it upon themselves to rectify a wrong: none of The Movie is being filmed in Denver, a city that played a vital role in Kerouac's travels (not to mention the creation of Cassady). According to the article:

For the last few months, cloaked in secrecy and carrying a copy of On the Road and a handful of stencils, this group has been visiting known Kerouac hangouts and doing the writer a favor he may or may not have gotten around to himself: tagging them with a likeness and the words "JACK WAS HERE."

It sure can't hurt business, especially once the interest in all things Kerouacian surges after The Movie's release. Which reminds me. What ideas do you have for me to capitalize on forthcoming release in order to sell a few books?

On The Road app for Android

FYI, there is a free app for Android phones that gives you the entire text of On The Road (yes, because it's free there are annoying ads). Just go to the Marketplace and search for Jack Kerouac.

Kerouac reference in a NY Times-reviewed book

In my on-going efforts to spare you daily Googling for Kerouac news, I bring you this NY Times book review of The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting. Click here for the article.

The review starts out:
Jack Kerouac said many things better than other writers have said them, and among those things, in "On the Road," is this: "I suddenly began to realize that everybody in America is a natural born thief."

Yes, I too would prefer they italicize book titles, but that is tangential.

The author, Dwight Garner, goes on to say:
Ms. [Rachel] Shteir shares, on a certain level, Kerouac’s abiding fondness for grifters and scammers and bandits, at least those of the stylish and relatively harmless kind. Kerouac had put his finger on one of America’s founding impulses. We stuffed the colonies into our breeches while England’s head was turned.

For those of you who have read my book (available here), this is not news. Several of the 100 Kerouactions discuss stealing. For example, Day 41 is titled, "On Stealing." In it, I say:
Sal Paradise (Kerouac) talks about stealing food from the cafeteria barracks where he served as a guard. His co-worker and shack-mate, Remi, justified it by saying, "Paradise, I have told you several times what President Truman said, we must cut down on the cost of living" (pp. 70-71).

Now I am not advocating breaking the law. But "helping oneself" to those things necessary for survival – food and clothing, for example – is not beyond the beat way. So if it’s a matter of survival – and realizing that stealing can have consequences you may not enjoy (e.g., like jail) – "on the road" and traveling light, you might think about a little pilfering. I recommend that it be from those who won’t miss it (like certain mega-corporations that weren’t in existence during Kerouac’s time).

Suggested Kerouactivity:
Devise a plan for survival on the road without any money.

Day 58, "On Possessions," also has some relevant advice:
When you’re traveling the beat way – for example, by hitchhiking or public transportation – you don’t need reading material because you can occupy your time “reading the American landscape.” If you do want a book, steal it. Then give it away. You don’t need possessions. You only think you do. Possessions are not needs. Possessions are strategies to meet needs. What needs of yours does the strategy of possessing things meet? Is there another strategy to meet those same needs? Think about it . . . .

In the meantime, pay attention to what you see out there in the great outdoors every day. You may find you don’t need any or as many possessions. Do you have to possess the mountain or the sunset to revel in it?

Suggested Kerouactivity:
List your top ten most prized possessions below. Give one of them away by the end of the month, no strings attached.

Or Day 68, "On Gasoline for Free":
There’s more than one way to score some gasoline for your road trip. One, of course, is to pick up hitchhikers in exchange for gas money (see Day 67). Another is to pump your tank full and drive off without paying. Now that was probably a lot easier to get away with back in Kerouac’s heyday, and certainly I am not recommending breaking the law or stealing. But it would be a very, very beat thing to do. Get my drift?

Suggested Kerouactivity:
Take a road trip. Do not fill up with gas first. Do not take any money or credit/debit cards. Just head out and keep going. Go go go until you run out of gas. Now figure out a way to get some gas. It will tap your beat ingenuity.

For 93 more Kerouactions, buy my book! Better yet, steal it.

P.S. Don't forget about "reverse shoplifting," wherein ignored self-published authors leave copies of their books on the shelves at big brick-and-mortar bookstores just to mess with the man. That's why there have been copies of The Beat Handbook spotted at Barnes & Nobles from Augusta, ME to Lowell, MA to Corning, NY to San Francisco, CA. Go ahead, arrest me. Please. Talk about free advertising.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The new On The Road app outsold the Bible last week

Jack's back in a big way, outselling the Bible last week with the On The Road iPad app.

Click here for details and a video.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Celine's influence on Jack Kerouac

In Pomes All Sizes, Jack wrote:


Where the madman plays with his fertilizers
Where the mad priest comes in the window covered in mud,
Where the submarine knocks down the walls of the publishers,
Celine, Celine, Celine.

The 50th anniversary of Celine's death approaches, and many are vexed by a dilemma: does honoring one of the most influential writers of the 20th century validate his anti-Semitic writing? Click here for details.

According to the latter article, Celine influenced the style-driven writing of authors from Thomas Wolfe to Jack Kerouac to Hunter S. Thompson.

I haven't read any Celine yet, but he's on my list. I'm not forgiving his anti-Semitism, but if I didn't read any authors with biases and flaws, my library would be pretty empty.

Travis Tribble, Beat Hero #1

As I read about current characters who exemplify beathood, I will be naming each of them as a "Beat Hero" and featuring them here on The Daily Beat.

To wit, click here to read about Travis Tribble, seen in this article busking outside Vesuvios in Jack Kerouac Alley.

Travis Tribble, Beat Hero #1 in a series. If you know any Beat Heroes, let me know.

Below is the text of the story and a picture for when the link dies (as it inevitably will). It is from SFGate on June 24, 2011.*

Following Dreams

A recent Tuesday at 12:14 p.m.:

Sitting on the edge of his sheetless bed, Travis Tribble takes a drag off the last cigarette in his possession. Soon he'll have to leave the tiny room he rents in North Beach in search of funds to buy more, but for now he needs to sing. A new idea just came to him. He scribbles lyrics on a notepad. He belts out a melody at the top of his lungs. He seems free. Tribble, 25, came to the city just two months ago by way of Seattle with $70. He bought a pawn shop guitar and after a few days of pavement pounding settled on the Liguria Hotel. The joint's gritty vibe and poetic inhabitants seemed to match his style. The fact that Caffe Trieste was just a stone's throw away may have helped clinch the decision. The down-the-hall bathrooms, however, did nothing of the sort. He says money isn't important to him. He works two days a week at a coffee shop to pay rent and busks on the sidewalk for other luxuries. His mom wants to know when he's coming home. Tribble insists he won't until his ambitions have failed. "It's the city of my dreams," he said.

*All copyright laws were summarily ignored in posting this information.
The following is from the Orland Sentinel on June 21, 2011:

The Orange County Regional History Center will display an original Jack Kerouac manuscript for “The Dharma Bums,” beginning Thursday. The 1957 work was created by the writer while living in Orlando.

Visitors will be able to see Kerouac’s handwritten notes to his editor — rejecting changes — and photographs taken of him for Time magazine by Orlando photographer Fred DeWitt.

Kerouac wrote “The Dharma Bums” in a house on Clouser Avenue in College Park. That residence is now known as the Kerouac House, operated by the Jack Kerouac Writers-in-Residence Project of Orlando Inc., which provides authors with rent, utilities and some meals while they write.

DeWitt took photos of Kerouac in the Clouser Avenue house. “Time” used one to run with a review of Kerouac’s “The Subterraneans.”

The manuscript is on loan from Bruce Gordy and the Kerouac Project. It will be on display at the history center for an extended run.

Given that TDB is my favorite Kerouac novel (evidenced by my new license plate: DHRMABM), I sure wish I could get to Orlando! If you go, send me a report and I'll post it here on The Daily Beat.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Diamond Cutter Sutra

In The Dharma Bums, Ray writes the following phrase on a piece of paper the size of a thumbnail and gives it to Japhy as a parting gift:


I've been wondering about that phrase (and mentioned it in a previous post). Today I found an on-line source for what is called The Diamond Cutter Sutra so I thought I'd share it as a possible reading that may have been influencing Jack at the time.

I think it's time for my next tattoo, and this phrase is at the top of my list. Not only is it a Kerouac reference, but it could also be a reference to Diamond Dallas Page's finishing move. Double entendre is a good thing, n'est pas?

Where is the only question left.

P.S. Here's a picture of me and Jason with DDP in Hollywood.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One of my favorite stills of Jack. I wonder what he was thinking....

Kerouac license plates

Here's the only Kerouac plate I've seen other than mine (courtesy of Kerri). Loyal readers of The Daily Beat have seen it before, but I'm posting it again as part of my effort to collect as many Kerouac plates as I can.

Jack Kerouac license plate

I just got a new vanity plate in honor of Jack. It's an homage to my favorite of his novels, The Dharma Bums. This is a temporary plate. I'll post the real one when it arrives.

How many other Kerouac plates are out there? Send me a pic and I'll post it in a future blog. I already have one that my friend Kerri sent me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On The Road app for iPad

Penguin has just released an iPad version of On The Road, featuring an interactive map of the route, rare audio clips of Jack reading from an early version of the book, photographs, letters between Kerouac and his editors, and more.

Read about it here.

It's almost enough to make me want an iPad.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jack Kerouac and Dostoyevsky

This is a very interesting article about Jack's purchase and annotation of a collection of short stories by "Dusty-what's-his-name."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kerouac and Marlon Brando

According to boing boing, this is an actual letter that Jack Kerouac wrote to Marlon Brando in 1957 trying to get him to make On The Road into a movie.

Sonic Youth and Jack Kerouac

Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth will spend July 4-10 as a visiting instructor at the Summer Writing Program at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, which is part of Naropa University in Boulder.

And Kerouac's not relevant today?

For more evidence, buy The Beat Handbook.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends

I had left this book by Bob Kealing at camp last year and never started reading it until Saturday. It's so good I decided to bring it home for the "pile," where it competes with Beat Atlas, Mexico City Blues, The Dunwich Horror and Others, and A Clash of Kings. I read a bit in each every night, more on weekends if I can.

Could I please find a job where all I have to do is read books I want to read?

A Kerouac comic

Zits from June 10, 2011; buy the print here

I thought readers of The Daily Beat would enjoy this recent Zits comic strip featuring Jack and On The Road.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2011

This year's Lowell Celebrates Kerouac weekend will start Thursday October 6 and run through the weekend with a myriad of events celebrating the life and work of America's greatest author in his hometown of beautiful Lowell, Massachusetts. Click here for details as they currently exist. I've been twice and it is a fun time!

Mark your calendar now. If Crystal and I go, you can bet there'll be a copy of The Beat Handbook left at Jack's grave!