Monday, February 27, 2012

Kristen Stewart interview in UK GQ

Click here for a lengthy article in the UK version of Gentlemen's Quarterly in which Kristen Stewart discusses her role as Marylou in the upcoming movie version of Jack Kerouac's On The Road.
"It's a pretty big deal for me," she explains. "Of course, all the actors took the responsibility of bringing such a work to visual fruition incredibly seriously. But we knew our stuff; Walter [Salles, the movie's director] demanded it. We had a four-week rehearsal period where we did a sort of beatnik boot camp - sounds a little corny, but it was awesome. There was dancing and listening to music, and he had us watching Shadows a bunch of times. We had Kerouac biographers come over and give us talks, and Marylou's daughter - or rather the daughter of Luanne [sic] Henderson [who Marylou is based on] - came to spend time with us all and that gave us such brilliant insight." Was Kristen already a fan of the book? "It was my first-ever favourite book."
The article states that the movie is now slated for a January release, which is news to me. One Kerouac biographer she refers to is Gerald Nicosia, who wrote the definitive Kerouac biography, Memory Babe, as well as recent books about Lu Anne Henderson (One and Only, reviewed here) and Jack's daughter, Jan (Jan: A Life in Memory, to be reviewed here soon). I feel compelled to point out that if Kristen were really knowledgeable about the beats, she would not have used the word beatnik. You can read why here. It's a forgivable mistake, but one that annoys me because Jack considered the word a pejorative (and it was intended that way by its creator, Herb Caen). I've never seen Shadows, but now I want to. I assume that someone knowledgeable suggested it as part of their boot camp training, in which case it must have some redeeming value. It won the Critics Award in 1960 at the Venice Film Festival.

You learn something every day . . . .

Literary character images via law enforcement composite sketch software

The Composites" is a pretty cool collection of images of literary characters created using law enforcement composite sketch software, but don't click here expecting to see any of our beat generation literary characters (I went through it so you don't have to).

However, there is one entry (see below) related to a reference in The Beat Handbook. Can you identify which one it is?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thoughts on fathers

Hugh Dale in High School

As I often do, I posted a quote from Jack Kerouac this morning on Twitter. It was, "The most beautiful idea on the face of the earth is the idea the child has that his father knows everything...." It's an undated entry from his "Forest of Arden" journal.* My Tweet received this reply: "That's pretty rich from Kerouac considering how he treated his daughter."

I am not about to defend Jack where his daughter is concerned. Nor am I going to defend hypocrisy in general, despite the annoying little fact that we are all guilty of it.

I will, however, say a couple of words about the matter.

First, I find it interesting that I happened to post that particular quote. I'm right in the middle of learning about Jan Kerouac, reading Gerald Nicosia's book Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, and yet I didn't consciously pick that quote. It was just the next quote I happened upon as I paged through Windblown World looking for passages I had previously underlined or new ones that struck my fancy.

Tangential side note: My new Kerouac friend, John J Dorfner, author of Kerouac: Visions of Lowell and Kerouac: Visions of Rocky Mount, responded to my post with a picture of his father, and I responded in kind. Please follow me on Twitter if you want to see that interchange (@thebeathandbook).

But back to the direct topic.

Second, I'm not so sure I'd say Kerouac "treated" Jan any particular way. He disavowed her for a time, and then ignored her (except to pay child support). They only met twice. According to what I've read so far, Jan rarely if ever spoke ill of Jack, understanding that he belonged to the world and that his particular contribution to the world didn't include the role of "father."

Would I trade Jack's work for his having been a good father to Jan? Now that is a question for the ages, one which I wish I hadn't just asked and one which is going to haunt me for some time.

Because, and I hope I've lived this statement, being a parent is a sacred duty. An impossible, sacred duty. Jack ignored that duty, for any number of reasons, and yet he wrote that passage. Hypocrite? You bet. Complex human being with foibles and good intentions and all the rest of it? Absolutely.

Plus, I presented that passage out of context. Here's more:

God as the Should-Be        (THE HUGE GUILT) 
The most beautiful idea on the face of the earth is the idea that the child has that his father knows everything, knows what should be done at all times and how one should live always.
     This is the idea men have of God. 
But when the child grows up and learns that his father knows very little more than the child himself, when the child seeks advice and meets with fumbling earnest human words, when the child seeks a way and finds that his father's way is not enough; when the child is left cold with the realization that no one knows what to do -- no one knows how to live, behave, judge, how to think, see, understand, no one knows, yet everyone tries fumblingly -- then the child is in danger of growing cynical about the entire matter, or despairing, or mad. 
But that children and fathers should have a notion in their souls that there must be a way, an authority, a great knowledge, a vision, a view of life, a proper manner, a 'seemliness' in all the disorder and sorrow of the world -- that is God in men. That there should be something to turn to for advice is God - God is the 'should-be' in our souls. No matter if actually there is nothing that should be done, no matter if science shows us that we are natural animals and would do better living without 'unnatural qualms,' without inner stress, without scruples or morals or vague trepidations, living like the animals we are, without guilt or horror -- that we believe that there should be something, that we are guilty thereby, is God.

With context provided, it is clear that Jack was discussing God and employing the oft-used "father metaphor" to do so. I don't think he was opining about proper father-son or father-daughter relationships per se, although I certainly understand why someone would bring up his relationship with Jan after reading my short Twitter passage (or even this longer one).

Which brings me to fatherhood in general. My father was a good man by all accounts, and he never mistreated me. He was quite engaged with his work - managing a large hotel where we lived - and so he was often busy with that. But I remember that he always stopped whatever he was doing at my bedtime and came up and said good night. He would rub my back and talk to me in his soothing voice. Of course, that stopped when I hit adolescence - mostly because of my discomfort I'm sure - and his attentions turned to playing catch with me or taking me skiing or fishing. He always made time for summer vacation at Keuka Lake, where I remember him driving the ski boat and barbecuing every night. I remember that during one of those vacations I saw him drunk for the only time in my life. I remember asking mom why he was leaning up against the tree in front of our cottage right after our across-the-lake neighbors dropped us off from a party at their house. I think mom said he didn't feel well, and I didn't make the connection to drinking. Years later I learned that those particular neighbors were real drink pushers and they facilitated dad getting wasted..

My dad was involved in my life in a number of ways, which is more than I can say for some fathers, and particularly those of that era. Indeed, my father was 51 when I was born, already older than Jack Kerouac ever lived to be.

I looked up to my father, and I'm glad he wasn't AWOL when I was growing up. I tell my students (future teachers) all the time that the best mindset to start with when working with parents is to take the position that all parents love their children and are doing the best that they can. Whether that's true or not doesn't matter because as teachers we work with the students that parents send us, and that means working with the parents that students have, whether we love their child-rearing behaviors or not. Parents play critical roles in their children's success in school, and if we start from a negative mindset, we may not make efforts to engage them.

I'll extend that same courtesy to Jack as a father. It's too to easy to sit in judgment about others, and that energy might be better spent keeping my own house in order. Speaking of which, it's Sunday. That means I'll likely to get to talk to my son, who lives 3,000 miles away.

It takes effort to stay connected with loved ones. Given a choice between staying connected and becoming a famous author, I'll take connection. But that's just me.

*Jack Kerouac: Windblown World by Douglas Brinkley, p. 143.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: One and Only by Gerald Nicosia & Anne Marie Santos

I just finished reading One and Only: The Untold Story of On The Road & Lu Anne Henderson, The Woman Who Started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady On Their Journey by Gerald Nicosia & Anne Marie Santos. Faithful readers of The Daily Beat (you know who you are, and thank you!) will recall that back on January 17 I posted about this book and said I'd review it if the publisher (or Nicosia) sent me a copy. The very next day, the publisher, Viva Editions, replied to my post that they would be happy to send me a review copy. Something even more interesting than that happened soon after, but I am saving that for its own post some other day in the near future. You will have to hold your breath on that one.

My first reaction when I took the book out of the mailing envelope was to notice the fantastic cover, featuring a classic picture of Jack and Neal (by our friend, Al Hinkle) and a headshot of Lu Anne courtesy of her daughter, Anne Marie (who co-authored the book). Indeed, Lu Anne was a beauty, and the book is replete with other photographs of the woman who inspired the Marylou character in On The Road.

The first four-and-a-half pages of the book feature reviews by various well-known authors such as Anne Waldman, founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, several beat authors such as JoAnna McClure, and even Jack's nephew, Paul Blake, Jr. It's all high praise, and well-deserved. As this intimate look shows, Lu Anne was instrumental in the relationship between Kerouac and Cassady; without her, they may have never forged their deep friendship, never have gone "on the road" together, and Kerouac may have never written the book that launched the beat generation. That's saying something, but the authors make their case.

The book begins with an introduction by Nicosia titled, "The Necessary Estrogen." In it, Nicosia provides the back story behind his 1978 interview with Lu Anne, presented here for the first time. In 1978, Nicosia was traveling around the country doing interviews for his critically acclaimed (and rightfully so) Kerouac biography, Memory Babe, and "there was a lot going on in the Kerouac realm" (p. 17). Despite new Kerouac biographies surfacing and the filming of Carolyn Cassady's memoir, Heart Beat, the real-life Marylou (Lu Anne) was notably absent in all the "neo-Beat hullabaloo" (p. 18). This book rights that oversight, presenting Lu Anne as not a "cliched sex symbol or ditzy blonde," but as "keenly observant, sensitive, and thoughtful not just about the lives of herself and her friends, but repeatedly about the human condition as well" (p. 29).

Thanks to the efforts of Nicosia, and of course Lu Anne's daughter, Anne Marie, this book allows us to meet the real Marylou, and our future re-reads of On The Road will never be the same. I just finished reading On The Road: The Original Roll (I refuse to call it the Original Scroll, because, as Nicosia himself told me, that isn't what Jack called it and the term "Scroll" was created as a marketing ploy), and now I want to read the original version yet again because now I have such a clear picture in my mind of the Marylou character (who, admittedly, was not Jack's focus in the book and consequently not very fleshed out as a character).

The interview with Lu Anne itself, which Nicosia painstakingly transcribed from two lengthy sessions, is presented in six parts taking up 117 pages. It's a fascinating glimpse into the woman who played such a critical role in Kerouac's and Cassady's lives. Following the interview, there's a chapter titled, "Lu Anne's Role in Beat History/Cultural History," in which Nicosia points out the demeaning manner in which Lu Anne is portrayed in many Beat histories. Nicosia wonders why no one has ever pointed out, "She must have been quite a woman to get this interesting and fabled guy [Cassady] to keep coming back to her, all his life -- right up to the moment when he left for Mexico and the death he seems to have foreseen coming" (p. 170).

Following this chapter is "Al Hinkle's Story," which provides a number of important insights about Lu Anne from Neal Cassady's best friend (Big Ed Dunkel in On The Road), who was one of the crew that traveled with Kerouac, Cassady, and Lu Anne, and someone who stayed friends with Lu Anne right up to her death. Al's memories are priceless and this was an excellent choice to round out Lu Anne's story.

Next is an unsent letter from Lu Anne to Neal that Anne Marie found among her mother's papers. She thinks it was written in Tampa, Florida in 1957. An actual image of the letter is provided, along with a transcription. It's a real Beat treasure.

Finally, the book concludes with a chapter titled, "A Daughter's Recollection," by Anne Marie. Here we learn about Lu Anne's early life, her marriages, her "inborn understanding" of how wrong racism was (remember, the Beats were definitely going against the grain of society at the time in their embracing all humanity despite the color of one's skin or cultural background), Anne Marie's first encounter with Neal, typical mother-daughter experiences that had nothing to do with the Beat life, Lu Anne's later years, and Anne Marie's experience working on the upcoming Walter Salles' movie version of On The Road.

This is a fascinating book compiled by an excellent writer and acknowledged Beat expert. Nicosia's style is engaging, accessible, and conversational, yet he never shies away from details or controversial topics. This book deserves a place on any Beat scholar's shelf and should serve as an excellent source of information for future work on the subject. It also deserves a place on the shelf of any Kerouac or beat generation fan, as it presents, for the first time, the untold story of the amazing woman who, quite literally, catalyzed a cultural movement.

The book is available from the publisher, Viva Editions. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beat publisher Barney Rosset dies

Many of us probably never heard of Barney Rosset, but we've heard of Grove Press, publisher of Burroughs' Naked Lunch and a number of Jack Kerouac's books.

Rossett died on Tuesday at the age of 89. That's how old Jack would be right now.

Click here for a remembrance in the Wall Street Journal. Grove/Atlantic, at least for the time being, is featuring an In Memoriam to Rosset on their front page. Finally, here's the NY Times obit.

I don't know much about Rosset, but he defied censorship and championed the beat authors. In my book, that's worth noting.

RIP, Barney. I wish I'd known you.

Spreading the Kerouac word

The Daily Beat currently has 75 followers. In May 2010 we had 46 (I know this because I blogged about it here). In November 2008 we had 4 (of course, that was right after inception). In January 2009, we had 16 followers. Other than that, I don't have much in the way of historical data.

Allow me to wax narcissistic for a moment. I would love to have more followers! And more pageviews! I think, on occasion, I post something that is either inherently worth reading or points to something that is. If you're already a follower (thanks!), you know that this is a Kerouac-obsessed blog and everything I post has some connection to Kerouac or the beat generation. That means I might post about Jack, or Neal Cassady, or Allen Ginsberg, or about books that are written by newer authors about the beat generation or at least are beat-inspired. I try to keep you up to speed on beat news (e.g., the upcoming beat movies, On The Road, Big Sur, and Kill Your Darlings) and events (e.g., Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!). Most of all, I try to be both informative and fun. Heaven knows there's enough trash on the Internet. I hope it's never a complete waste of time to visit this blog. If it is, let me know how we can improve things.

But I digress. This post amounts to a plea. If you're a fan of The Daily Beat, follower or not, please do what you can to increase traffic to this blog, whether followers or pageviews. You can spread the word on Facebook by sharing when I provide a link to my blog. If you're not my friend on Facebook, ask (but tell me it's because you read my blog so I'll know you're not some stalker). You can spread the word on Twitter by Retweeting my blog posts. If you don't already follow me on Twitter, search for "thebeathandbook." You can spread the word via e-mail to beat friends by providing them with direct links to posts (e.g., to my interview with the great Al Hinkle). You can spread the word in your own blog by providing a permanent link to The Daily Beat. Finally, you can spread the word in person using the old-fashioned method of face-to-face communication (I think we still call that "talking").

I'll return the favor if you have a blog! Just ask. I share on Facebook and Retweet on Twitter all the time, and if your blog is beat-worthy, I'll post a permanent link on my blog.

I make no money with this blog. Yes, you'll see Google ads, but that's a joke in terms of income. I've made $6.23 over the lifetime of the blog. Rather, it's all about sharing my love for Jack Kerouac and the beat generation with like-minded others. A "labor of love," so to speak. Once you're on the beat path, you feel compelled to connect with fellow beat travelers as well as do a little proselytizing.

So, if you like The Daily Beat, please spread the word however you can. And thanks in advance for your help.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kristen Stewart discusses her role in On The Road

At about 11:20 in this interview with Kristen Stewart, the actress discusses her experience playing Marylou in the upcoming movie version of our beloved On The Road. She says it was by far the coolest thing she has ever done in her life, and chalks it up to the inspiration of director Walter Salles.

I am so ready for this film to see its U.S. release. I'm just sad that the real Marylou, Lu Ann Henderson, didn't live to see it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

By The Exeter River by Donald Hall

In doing some research on the James Dickey-Jack Kerouac connection, I read in one of Dickey's letters how much he liked a poem by Donald Hall titled, "By The Exeter River." About that poem Dickey wrote to Hall, "It is one of the best ballad-like poems I have read in a long time."

That made me want to read "By The Exeter River," but the only legitimate source I could find on-line was in Google Books, which I don't think gives me the ability to provide you with a direct link to that particular poem. I fear the copyright police if I transcribe the poem here, but believe me, it's worth reading!

You can get to it by Googling "donald hall by the exeter river." One of the first hits - if not the first - should be a Google Books Result called Old and New Poems. Click on that link and the poem should appear. Or click here - no promises that the link will work.

Donald Hall. I see owning a book of his poetry in my future. If you want to read a few of his other poems, click here.

Katy Perry, Russell Brand, & Jack Kerouac

Click here for an article by Jerry Cimino of The Beat Museum about Jack Kerouac's influence on Katy Perry and Russell Brand. In her video clip, Katy doesn't paraphrase Jack's famous "mad to live" paragraph too well, but she seems sincere enough. Please give Russell the benefit of the doubt and watch his clip, even if you find him annoying (as I do). I think he gets "IT."

Who knew?

If you can't Kerouac . . . .

As a beat, it is necessary to visit the local used bookstore from time to time and search for anything by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, or other beat generation authors. I did that today and came up empty-handed. I'm not sure what that means, especially in a college town. However, I did score a James Dickey poetry book for 3 bucks. It contains "Falling," an amazing poem which I discovered a couple of years ago, as well as the complete Buckdancer's Choice, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1966. Jack Kerouac was still alive then. I wonder what he thought of Dickey. We know that Dickey thought of Jack enough to reference him at least a couple of times in his letters, captured in The One Voice of James Dickey: His Letters and Life, 1942-1969 (2003, The University of Missouri Press).

For example, in a 1958 letter to James Wright at the University of Minnesota, Dickey wrote, "This is truly, as I guess Jack Kerouac would say, a really mad life, and I don't know how long I can go on with it" (p. 288). 

You may know Dickey as the author of the novel, Deliverance, which was made into the excellent movie of the same name featuring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight. You may also know that Dickey himself had a small role in that film as the sheriff, who, at the end, tells Voight's character "Don't ever do nothing like this again." Menacing! I love it.

Anyway, you could do worse than read some of Dickey's poetry. Click here for a link to "Falling."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blaming Japhy Ryder

Kerouac fans have to love a book titled, Blaming Japhy Ryder: Memoir of a Dharma Bum Who Survived. Author Philip A. Bralich used The Dharma Bums as his inspiration to write this memoir detailing his psychological and spiritual triumph over difficulties caused by series of traumas he endured in the Peace Corps in West Africa in 1978. 

I just tweeted Balboa Press to see if they'll send me a review copy. Stay tuned . . . .

Your chance to honor Jack Kerouac

We've talked about the On The Road 4 Kerouac Project in the past here on The Daily Beat, and now they have produced this awesome trailer (click here). In effect, using entries from folks like you, the Project's creators are trying to "reinvent the scroll" to celebrate Jack Kerouac and the Beat spirit. Their goal is to have a scroll as long as Jack's by September 2012. And it's going to be put on display in The Beat Museum in San Francisco!

Below are directions on how to contribute (taken directly from Please join me in helping out with this fantastic project!

Send us your written tribute, photos or drawings 
and reinvent the scroll !

To help you find some inspiration, you can take a look at the following tips :

- How has Kerouac affected/inspired you ?

- What does 'the road' symbolise to you?

- What is your most treasured memory on the road?

- How did you feel after reading of On The Road, or other novel of Jack Kerouac ?

 Don't forget to sign , then add your name, age, country and city.

Send your work to the following email address :

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Al Hinkle book and photographs

This is a picture of the great swag (that's pronounced "shwag," by the way) I recently received from Al Hinkle, who I interviewed for The Daily Beat (click here for the interview). Al was a close friend of Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac and accompanied them on the cross-country ventures that Kerouac made famous in On The Road.

You can order your own pictures (personally autographed) and books (personally autographed and numbered - I got #28/200) by visiting Al's website: . Just hit the Shop Al button.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New book with Burroughs letters

Daily Beat fans may be interested in a new book by Bill Morgan, Rub Out The Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs, 1959-1974. Click here for a NY Times review of the book. Regular readers will know Morgan as the author of Beat Atlas, reviewed here on March 13, 2011.

As always, I am keeping my fingers crossed that the publisher (Ecco/HarperCollins) will read this post and decide to send me a review copy.

Jack Kerouac with suitcase

I love this picture of Jack. I got it from On The Road 4 Kerouac's Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Andy Clausen, beat poet, returns to Berkeley

I just stumbled across this article about Andy Clausen, a poet who used to read at Berkeley and about whom Allen Ginsberg said:
Andy Clausen's character voice is heroic, a vox populi of the democratic unconscious, a 'divine average' thinking workman persona. As 'one of the rough,' a Whitmanic laborer, precisely a union hodcarrier long-standing, his bardic populism's grounded on long years' painful sturdy experience earning family bread by the sweat of his brow.

Impressive, coming from Ginsberg. It would appear that Andy is returning to read at Berkeley from 6-9 PM tonight (Valentine's Day 2012). If you live in Berkeley or nearby, get over there. There's still time (I'm posting this around 5:50 PM California time).

Click here to read some of Andy's poetry.

So many poets, so little time . . . .

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Some "backstory" of On The Road

I'm not sure whether Gerald Nicosia would agree with all of Lionel Rolfe's conclusions in this piece, but it's an interesting read that beat generation fans will enjoy.

I'm currently reading Nicosia's One and Only, and will be reviewing it here in the near future.

Kill Your Darlings adds cast members

Friends, the cast of Kill Your Darlings, based on the true-life murder described in the novel And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, continues to impress. Now they've added Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Weeds). Click here for more details.

We already reported on the other cast members, including Jack Huston as Kerouac, an excellent casting decision (he plays Richard on Boardwalk Empire).

Between this and On The Road and Big Sur, it promises to be a big movie year for beat fans!

Friday, February 10, 2012

OTR to open in Brazil in June

My beat friend, Fernanda, found this article* about the movie version of Jack Kerouac's On The Road premiering in Brazil in June. I've heard nothing (yet) about a U.S. release date. We may all have to get ourselves down to Brazil in June. Always wanted to see Rio anyway.

You in, Crystal?

*It may appear to you in Portugese, but Google Chrome will translate the page for you.

Happy Belated Birthday to Neal Cassady

Yesterday was Neal Cassady's birthday. Were he still alive, he would have turned 86 years old.

I intended to post something yesterday, but life and work intervened.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Neal. You'd understand how yesterday I was in a go go go situation and it was absolutely ahem-er necessary to choose not to uh-hmm post on your birthday. Yass yass!

In honor of Neal's birthday, I have a question for Daily Beat readers. I think everyone has had - or has - a "Neal" in their life. Tell us about yours.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


We all like a little recognition and praise from time to time, so I was quite pleased to see this post on Jade Leaf Willetts' What would Neal do? blog. Make sure to check out Jade's whole blog and read his other posts and writings!

Thanks, Jade!

Happy Birthday, William S. Burroughs

Today is William S. Burroughs' birthday. Daily Beat readers need no introduction to Bill, who was Old Bull Lee in On The Road and appeared in several other of Jack Kerouac's books.*

We've mentioned Bill over 30 times in past posts. For example, see this synchronicitous post on his birthday in 2009. It's kind of weird that Neal Cassady died the day before Bill's birthday. Or maybe it's not weird at all. As Bill reportedly said, 

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. 

Happy Birthday, Bill. 

*Check out Empty Mirror Books for a useful Kerouac character key.

Love Always, Carolyn

I just learned about the film, Love Always, Carolyn, from Kerouac scholar, Audrey Sprenger. Looks like something well worth checking out to me. Definitely watch the trailer - there are some great clips in there!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Neal Cassady died this date in 1968

Jack Kerouac's muse, Neal Cassady, died on this date in 1968 at the age of 41 (4 days short of his birthday). Circumstances surrounding his death seem unclear, but you can read what his wife, Carolyn, has to say about it here. Neal's death must have come as a shock to Jack Kerouac, who lived an additional 1 year, 8 months, and 7 days before his own untimely death at the age of 47.

Now, 187 is slang for murder, and I have posited here on The Daily Beat in the past that I wonder sometimes if Jack wasn't, in effect, technically "murdered" because of the beating he took not long before he died.

Anyway . . . RIP, Holy Goof.

Jade Leaf Willetts

Jade Leaf Willetts is a UK-based writer who maintains a blog titled, What would Neal do? The banner on his blog features the classic photo of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady with their arms around each other.

Jade is trying to promote his writing, and he contacted me via e-mail to see if I would create and post a video of me reading one of his poems. Beats stick together, so of course I said yes. Here is the result.

Top 10 Posts of All Time on The Daily Beat

The Daily Beat has had almost 40,000 visitors and 70,000 pageviews since inception in 2008. Dr. Audrey Sprenger, a legitimate Kerouac scholar, got me thinking about making lists in this Tumblr post. I decided to make a list of the top 10 posts of all time here on The Daily Beat. The question is: according to what criteria?

Two different approaches came to mind. One is to use Google stats and report the 10 posts with the most pageviews. The other is to comb through all 758 posts by hand and decide on my own favorite top 10.

Given to indecision, I have decided to do both. I have provided hotlinks to each post for you who wish to delve beyond the lists themselves. Picking my favorites was no mean feat, but it was fun to reminisce. I could have easily included a top 20 or 30. Tomorrow I might review my posts and come up with a different list.

Top 10 Posts of All Time on The Daily Beat Based on Number of Pageviews

1. Kristen Stewart topless in On The Road movie, August 7, 2011
2. Kerouac tattoos, October 12, 2010
3. Pics from On The Road, February 13, 2011
4. March 25: On Rucksacks, March 25, 2009
5. Kerouac tattoo, August 3, 2011
6. Actress Alice Braga discusses her role in On The Road, January 11, 2011
7. Jack Kerouac's 1942 Naval Reserve photo, November 12, 2011
8. Jack Kerouac, Kristen Stewart, nudity, tattoos, rucksacks, and pictures, January 2, 2012
9. Naked women serving coffee, February 26, 2009
10. How to write like Jack Kerouac, November 16, 2008

Top 10 Posts of All Time on The Daily Beat Based on Rick Dale's Opinion

1. Interview with Al Hinkle, January 31, 2012
2. Interview with Helen Weaver, November 17, 2009
3. Compassion Doesn't Discriminate, May 12, 2009
4. Why Kerouac?, March 9, 2009
5. Kerouac, Krishnamurti, Burroughs, and the number 23, December 18, 2008
6. Warning: Kerouac myth #2 spoiled, December 23, 2008
7. Autodidacticity, January 1, 2009
8. Review: Helen Weaver's The Awakener, November 11, 2009
9. Interview with Travis Tribble: Beat Hero #1, August 15, 2011
10. Interview: Kerouac's Dog Magazine, October 27, 2011

As you can see, the lists are mutually exclusive. I hope that, over time, some of my picks will end up on the top 10 list based on Google stats. It's obvious I have a bias toward interviews, isn't it?

What's your favorite post of all time on The Daily Beat?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Review of Kerouac: Visions of Rocky Mount

Last night I finished John J Dorfner's Kerouac: Visions of Rocky Mount, and, like his other book, Kerouac: Visions of Lowell, it kept me engaged from start to finish. It includes many pictures from actual places in and around that part of North Carolina where Jack lived and wrote some of his famous works. Dorfner took the time to search out and take pictures of specific houses, intersections, and even the kinds of trees that Jack mentioned in such novels as On The RoadThe Dharma Bums and Visions of Cody. Reading it made me want to visit the area so I can see the places for myself. Dorfner's other book was especially fascinating for me because I've spent a bit of time in Lowell.

The introduction is a concise bio of Jack's early years and then his time in North Carolina. The numerous pictures are accompanied by Dorfner's musings as well as various Kerouac quotes referencing those particular places around Rocky Mount, NC, where Jack occasionally lived with his sister, Nin, her husband, Paul, and their baby son, Paul, Jr. It's the place Jack refers to as being in Testament, Virginia in On The Road, where he and his mom (Memere) were visiting when Neal (Dean), LuAnne (Marylou), and Al Hinkle (Ed Dunkel) showed up from out west in the '49 Hudson and used it to move furniture to New York City in a mad frenzy of driving and talking courtesy of the Holy Goof.

If you've ever wanted to see actual images of some of the places around Rocky Mount that Jack wrote about, this is an essential edition to your Kerouac collection. That it's a fun and informative read is icing on the cake.

Kerouac enthusiasts will want a copy, and the best way to do that is to contact the author at His website is

Neal Cassady finally gets his high school diploma

Al Hinkle just posted this article on his Facebook page (have you liked Al's page yet?) about Neal Cassady being awarded his high school diploma from Denver East High School.

Well now-ah-ahem-yass, yass, you've arrived, Neal, and it's absolutely necessary er-um, of course, to raise a glass in your honor at exactly er-uh eight-fourteen this very evening.