Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Time pans On The Road

Click here for Time's review of Walter Salles' On The Road. Critic Richard Corliss concludes:
Though there’s plenty of cool jazz in the background, the movie lacks the novel’s exuberant syncopation — it misses the beat as well as the Beat. Some day someone may make a movie worthy of On the Road, but Salles wasn’t the one to try. This trip goes nowhere.
Memory Babe author Gerald Nicosia saw the premiere in Cannes. I hope to get some insight from him about the movie and share it here on The Daily Beat.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jack Kerouac and Memorial Day

Jack Kerouac's grave in Lowell, MA, October 2011
(c) Rick Dale 2011
It's Memorial Day here in the U.S. It's always the last Monday in May, and it's a federal holiday. Originally called Decoration Day, it was dedicated to remembering the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Now it has morphed into a day for remembering the dead in general, military or not. When I was in high school, there was always a parade through town that culminated in the cemetery. Veterans gave speeches and it was a solemn atmosphere. As one of the lead trumpet players in the marching band, there was always a point in the ceremony where I played taps. Most of the time there were three of us who played taps, one of us close by, one of us farther away, and one of us quite far away. It gave those in attendance kind of an eerie effect as each iteration of taps came from farther away in the cemetery. It's common to see people visit cemeteries and leave flowers on the graves of loved ones. I don't do that, in part because my nuclear family members are all buried or interred 550 miles away. Even when I lived nearby I seldom visited, Memorial Day or not. If I were there today I think I might. Age has a way of increasing one's sentimentality.

But back to Jack Kerouac. Don't be confused - I hadn't mentioned him yet. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. In Douglas Brinkley's Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954, there are two entries on Memorial Day: May 31, 1948 and May 30, 1949. I only know those dates were Memorial Days courtesy of Google and being able to pull up calendars from 1948 and 1949 (with only a couple of clicks!).

Because, you see, Jack doesn't mention Memorial Day in either entry. Neither does he mention any activity that could reasonably be attributed to Memorial Day festivities. In 1948 he is in N.Y. and talks of typing 4,000 words and "the fear of virtue." In 1949 he is in Colorado and talks of being scheduled to ride in a rodeo at Table-Top (perhaps a Memorial Day activity?) but missed it because he was too sore from riding the previous day.

My copy of Memory Babe is with Crystal at camp, so I can't reference it to see if there is more about Jack and Memorial Day. A Google search yielded nothing of note, but we can say with certainty that Jack was alive on 47 Memorial Days from 1922-1969. That isn't much, but it's something. I can imagine little Jack watching the annual parade in Lowell, MA, attending the accompanying festivities and scampering around with his friends, enjoying the freedom of having the day off from school and thinking about the meal Memere would have waiting for him back at the house.

As someone recently wrote, "it's not National Barbecue Day," so take a moment and remember the dead. Jack would approve. You don't have to write an entire book about it like he did (e.g., Visions of Gerard), but you could at least pause for a moment and contemplate loved ones lost and all those who died in service to our country. It's okay to do the latter even if you're a rabid anti-war type - I give you permission.

We remember you, Jack, with or without all the hoopla of THE MOVIE.

And I remember Billy, Hugh, James, Elizabeth, and many others who took on the void in years past.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chicago Tribune piece acknowledges Nicosia

Kudos to the Chicago Tribune for acknowledging Gerald Nicosia's contribution to beat boot camp in preparation for the film version of On The Road. Click here to read the article.

Don't let the title - Cannes 2012: Kristen Stewart Embraces Topless, Beatnik Role in 'On the Road' - put you off. It's really about more than that.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Irish Times pans On The Road

The Irish Times pans On The Road here, titling it, "Kerouac's road trip too far."

The pieces concludes: "Sorry, man. But this flick is a drag."


But let's face it: the critic who wrote the piece didn't like the book. How could s/he be expected to like the movie?

Just another critic clueless to the brilliance of Jack Kerouac.

Picture of Walter Salles and On The Road cast with Canadiens flag

Click here for an article by Cedric Belanger in the Journal de Quebec. It features a picture of Walter Salles and the On The Road cast behind a Montreal Canadiens flag. You will remember Viggo Mortensen unfolding the flag at the press conference. There is more to the story, and hopefully we can talk about it in a future post.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rain Taxi interview with Gerald Nicosia

Click here for an interview with Gerald Nicosia by Rain Taxi about the current interest in the beat movement.

French reviews of On The Road mostly positive

Click here for snippets from several French reviews of On The Road.

Summary of reviews of On The Road

Click here for a summary of reviews of On The Road by The Inquisitr. Some are quite positive!

Hollywood Reporter likes On The Road

Click here for a positive review of On The Road by The Hollywood Reporter. At least someone saw its redeeming qualities!

Variety's review of On The Road is mixed

Click here for Variety's take on the movie version of our favorite novel, On The Road. While the review is mixed, they do say some positive things (thankfully)!

Film School Rejects gives On The Road a C-

Click here for a review of On The Road by Film School Rejects.

On The Road review by Little White Lies

Click here for another negative review of On The Road, this one by Little White Lies.

Ouch. I'm officially feeling a bit depressed, given the reviews. Did my worst fears come true?

Cannes On The Road Press Conference

The narration is in French, but this is still worth checking out: Cannes On The Road Press Conference.

Is it me, or does Kristen Stewart look less than thrilled to be there?

On The Road review by Indiewire

Indiewire gives On The Road a mixed review here.

On The Road review by London Evening Standard

On The Road gets a so-so review by the London Evening Standard here.

On The Road review by The Telegraph

The Telegraph - which looks for every possible opportunity to trash on Jack Kerouac for some unknown reason - gives On The Road a crappy review here.

On The Road review by Jerry Cimino of The Beat Museum

Jerry Cimino of The Beat Musuem saw a prescreening of On The Road a few days ago and just released this review. It sounds promising!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On The Road premieres today

It's already Wednesday in France, so On The Road premieres today! I've got some friends in Cannes for the premiere, and hopefully they'll keep us posted on reactions to the film. For us America-bound folks, click here to read an overview of the film's making that appeared in the NY Times today.

If you haven't done so already, please check out my exclusive interview with author Gerald Nicosia on the making of the film. It features exclusive photos from beat boot camp of Kristen Stewart and the other actors, Walter Salles, and even MK2's Charles Gillibert.

On The Road "cut-up" poem

Today I wrote a "cut-up" poem (a la William S. Burroughs) using the first four paragraphs from Jack Kerouac's On The Road. Words in the poem appear in the order they appear in the novel. Click here to read it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New clip from On The Road featuring Marylou and Sal (Kristen Stewart and Sam Riley)

Click here for a new clip from On The Road featuring Kristen Stewart (Marylou) Sam Riley (Sal). Garrett Hedlund (Dean)makes a brief appearance, too.

Two more days until the lucky folks at Cannes get to see the whole thing!

How to pronounce "Cannes"

Since On The Road is premiering at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday (May 23), this topic may come up in conversation and, like me, you may stumble on pronouncing the city's name.

Pronounce it just like what beer comes in: can. Yes, that's a short vowel sound. And the s is silent.

If you need auditory help, click here.

You're welcome.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Increasing your blog traffic

If you want to increase traffic to your blog, interview someone well-known and then Facebook and Twitter about it. That's what I did on 5-18-12, and you can see the results below.

Interestingly, Google stats (below) and Sitemeter (above) do not agree. However, they reflect the same spike on 5-18-12.

To read the interview, just visit the previous post. Then, of course, you will become part of the above statistics.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Making of On The Road: Exclusive Interview with Gerald Nicosia

Gerald Nicosia reading poetry in San Francisco,  2008. Photographer unknown.
As readers know, The Daily Beat recently received a copy of the Official Special Issue of Trois Couleurs #8, dedicated to the upcoming Walter Salles-directed adaptation of Jack Kerouac's beloved beat generation novel, On The Road. Knowing that author Gerald Nicosia helped train the actors at Salles' "beat boot camp," I was surprised that Nicosia wasn't mentioned in the Salles interview. I was further surprised that Nicosia's Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, considered by many to be the definitive Kerouac biography, wasn't listed among the 22 entries in the issue's bibliography. To find out what's going on, I interviewed Gerald Nicosia by e-mail. That interview follows verbatim, and I've also included a number of pictures taken by Nicosia (or Anne Marie Santos) that document his involvement. Importantly, this is the first time some of these pictures have been made public.

The Daily Beat: We understand that your involvement with Walter Salles and the film goes back to 2006. Can you tell us how you came to be involved and describe your early encounters with Salles?  We also know that you were involved in Salles' "beat boot camp" in Montreal in 2010. Tell us how you got involved in that and how Salles took advantage of your extensive knowledge of Kerouac and your collection of recordings, books, etc.

Director Walter Salles listening to tapes in Gerald Nicosia's office
(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Gerald Nicosia: Walter Salles had just gotten the rights to ON THE ROAD from Francis Ford Coppola. He felt, being Brazilian, that he had to familiarize himself with the Americanness of Kerouac before he could make the film, follow the same highways, talk to the people who knew Jack, or knew about him, like myself. He decided he would make a documentary of his journey, and he did, called IN SEARCH OF ON THE ROAD. It hasn’t been released yet, but I saw a rough cut of it at the San Francisco International Film Festival in May 2010. I was one of the people who was interviewed in it. That interview was done at my home, in my office upstairs, in Corte Madera. Salles and his film crew spent about four hours with me. They filmed about two hours of interview with me. I also played them dozens of tapes, which I had just gotten back from U Mass Lowell, having won that lawsuit (by settlement). These were the MEMORY BABE taped interviews, which I had put at U Mass Lowell for public study in 1987, and which were locked up because of threats from John Sampas in 1995. So I had just gotten them back, in time for Salles to hear them. He was much taken by the interviews of Lu Anne Henderson and John Clellon Holmes, among others. I also showed him hundreds of photographs, showed him footage of Jack Kerouac shooting pool at the Pawtucketville Social Club in Lowell, filmed by a Montreal TV crew—which Salles hadn’t known existed—he was blown away by it. I also played music for Salles, like Wynonie Harris’s “screaming blues” song, “I Love My Baby’s Puddin’,” which was Neal Cassady’s favorite song. Salles hadn’t heard that either.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jack Kerouac opening lines

For your scholarly convenience, below are the opening lines from a number of Jack Kerouac's novels all in one place.

On The Road
"I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up."

The Dharma Bums
"Hopping a freight out of Los Angeles at high noon one day in late September 1955 I got on a gondola and lay down with my duffel bag under my head and my knees crossed and contemplated the clouds as we rolled north to Santa Barbara."

 Big Sur
"The church is blowing a sad windblown "Kathleen" on the bells in the skid row slums as I wake up all woebegone and goopy, groaning from another drinking bout and groaning most of all because I'd ruined my 'secret return' to San Francisco by getting silly drunk while hiding in the alleys with bums and then marching forth into North Beach to see everybody altho Lorenz Monsanto and I'd exchanged huge letters outlining how I would sneak in quietly, call him on the phone using a code name like Adam Yulch or Lalagy Pulvertaft (also writers) and then he would secretly drive me to his cabin in the Big Sur woods where I would be alone and undisturbed for six weeks just chopping wood, drawing water, writing, sleeping, hiking, etc. etc."

Dr. Sax
"The other night I had a dream that I was sitting on the sidewalk on Moody Street, Pawtucketville, Lowell, Mass., with a pencil and paper in my hand saying to myself 'Describe the wrinkly the tar of this sidewalk, also the iron pickets of Textile Institute, or the doorway where Lousy and you and G.J.'s always sittin and dont stop to think of words when you do stop, just stop to think of the picture better--and let your mind off yourself in this work.'"

The Subterraneans
"Once I was young and had so much more orientation and could talk with nervous intelligence about everything and with clarity and without as much literary preambling as this; in other words this is the story of an unself-confident man, at the same time of an egomaniac, naturally, facetious won't do--just to start at the beginning and let the truth seep out, that's what I'll do--."

Desolation Angels
"Those afternoons, those lazy afternoons, when I used to sit, or lie down, on Desolation Peak, sometimes on the alpine grass, hundreds of miles of snowcovered rock all around,. looming Mount Hozomeen on my north, vast snowy Jack to the south, the encharmed picture of the lake below to the west and the snowy hump of Mt. Baker beyond, and to the east the rilled and ridged monstrosities humping to the Cascade Ridge, and after that first time suddenly realizing "It's me that's changed and done all this and come and gone and complained and hurt and joyed and yelled, not the Void' and so that every time I thought of the void I'd be looking at Mt. Hozomeen (because chair and bed and meadowgrass faced north) until I realized 'Hozomeen is the Void--at least Hozomeen means the void to my eyes'--"

Lonesome Traveler
     before we all go to Heaven
All that hitchhikin
All that railroadin
All that comin back
        to America
Via Mexican & Canadian borders...

Less begin with the sight of me with collar huddled up close to neck and tied around with a handkerchief to keep it tight and snug, as I go trudging across the bleak, dark warehouse lots of the ever lovin San Pedro waterfront, the oil refineries smelling in the damp foggish night of Christmas 1951 just like burning rubber and the brought-up mysteries of Sea Hag Pacific, where just off to my left as I trudge you can see the oily skeel of old bay waters marching up to hug the scummy post and out on over the flatiron waters are the lights ululating in the moving tide and also the lights of ships and bum boats themselves moving and closing in and leaving this last lip of American land."

Maggie Cassidy
"It was a New Year's Eve, it was snowing in the North."

Vanity of Duluoz
"All right, wifey, maybe I'm a big pain in the you-know-what but after I've given you a recitation of the troubles I had to go through to make good in America between 1935 and more or less now, 1967, and although I also know everybody in the world's had his own troubles, you'll understand that my particular form of anguish came from being too sensitive to all the lunkheads I had to deal with just so I could get to be a high school football star, a college student pouring coffee and washing dishes and scrimmaging till dark and reading Homer's Iliad in three days all at the same time, and God help me, a WRITER whose very 'success', far from being a happy triumph as of old, was the sign of doom Himself."

Visions of Gerard
"Gerard Duluoz was born in 1917 a sickly little kid with a rheumatic heart and many other complications that made him ill for the most part of his life which ended in July 1926, when he was 9, and the nuns of St. Louis de France Parochial School were at his bedside to take down  his dying words because they'd heard his astonishing revelations of heaven delivered in catechism class on no more encouragement than that it was his turn to speak--"

Visions of Cody
"This is an old diner like the one Cody and his father ate in, long ago, with that oldfashioned railroad car ceiling and sliding doors--the board where bread is cut is worn down fine as if with bread dust and a plane; the icebox ('Say I got some nice homefries tonight Cody!') is a huge brownwood thing with oldfashioned pull-out handles, windows, tile walls, full of lovely pans of eggs, butter pats, piles of bacon--old lunchcarts always have a dish of sliced raw onions ready to go on hamburgs."

Orpheus Emerged
"Paul stood in the Book Shop facing a shelf of books"

Satori in Paris
"Somewhere during my ten days in Paris (and Brittany) I received an illumination of some kind that seems to've changed me again, towards what I suppose'll be my pattern for another seven years or more: in effect, a satori: the Japanese word for 'sudden illumination,' 'sudden awakening' or simply 'kick in the eye.'--"

The Sea is My Brother
"A young man, cigarette in mouth and hands in trousers' pockets, descended a short flight of brick steps leading to the foyer of an uptown Broadway hotel and turned in the direction of Riverside Drive, sauntering in a curious, slow shuffle."

"Ain't nobody never loved me like I love myself, cept my mother and she's dead."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book about Bea Franco (Terry in On The Road)

Alice Braga as Terry
I just ran across this article about American Book Award winner Tim Z. Hernandez tracking down Bea Franco, the real-life model for Terry in Jack Kerouac's On The Road, and interviewing her for an upcoming fictional book written from her point of view. He's currently shopping the novel.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kristen Stewart talks to MTV about On The Road

I'll show some integrity and not mention the n-word, but I thought you might find this MTV News piece of interest.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On The Road London premiere August 16

Click here to read about the London premiere of On The Road August 16.

Kerouac's On The Road roll to be displayed in France

In case you hadn't already seen the news, Jack Kerouac's famous On The Road roll* will be on display at a Paris museum for 3 months starting May 16. Click here for details.

This nicely coincides with the premiere of the movie version at Cannes.

*Jack didn't call it a "scroll." He called it a "roll," so that is what we call it here on The Daily Beat.

Kerouacian thoughts on Mother's Day

Jack Kerouac with sister Nin, mother Gabrielle, and father Leo, 1944
I was just reading all the Mother's Day posts on Facebook, and it struck me that one of the criticisms often leveled at Jack Kerouac - that he lived with his mother for most of his adult life - could also be seen as a character strength. When Jack's father Leo was dying of stomach cancer in 1946, his dying words to Jack were, "Take care of your mother whatever you do. Promise me."

Whether we agree with how he did that for the next 26 years (until his own death at age 47), Jack gave it his best shot. Admittedly, Gabrielle ended up taking care of Jack as much or more than vice versa, but there's no doubt in my mind that Jack loved his mother.

That seems to be all that mothers want on their special day: to know they are loved.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jack Kerouac city poll

What cities do you think of when you think of Jack Kerouac? Let us know by responding to this post. We'll take your feedback and create a poll here on The Daily Beat which will let you vote on your favorite one. Then we'll post the results.

I'll start: When I think of Jack Kerouac, I think of Lowell, MA.

What's your answer? If you don't want to post it here, feel free to e-mail your answer to the

Thanks in advance for participating! By the way, it's fine to send in more than one city. The more the merrier.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

100,000+ pageviews for a Kerouac-obsessed blog

Some time in the last day or so, The Daily Beat topped 100,000 pageviews since inception (it's currently at 101,223).

I am feeling the need to celebrate. While there may be exceptions, blogs exist to be visited and, more importantly, read. But you can't read one unless you visit, right? So, pageviews correlate with readership.

Pageviews have surged of late. We frequently top 300 per day, and often much more than that (over 786 yesterday). I attribute this surge to my increased usage of Twitter and networking there, but I also think it's related to the buzz about the On The Road film that is debuting this month at Cannes and in the late fall in the U.S. More and more people are searching for Kerouac on-line, and this is the one Kerouac-obsessed blog that I know exists. If there are others, I'd love to know about them. Other blogs have Kerouac in their name, but they don't focus on Kerouac virtually in every post. (Note: I know there's a Kerouac website, DHARMA beat.)

Interestingly, if you search Google blogs for "Kerouac," The Daily Beat doesn't appear until the second page. I could use some help figuring out how to do better with that (as long as it doesn't cost money - after all, this is an avocation only).

I know. Some blogs get 100,000 pageviews a day. Or an hour. But for an avocation with a budget of zero and staff of one, amassing 100,000 pageviews since 2008 seems like a pretty good number. And, as I said, a good bit of that number has occurred in the past few months.

It will be interesting to see what happens once the movie starts getting reviewed.

French press kit for On The Road at Cannes

Screen shot of where you can access the French press kit
Click here and you will see a link to the French press kit for On The Road at Cannes. Click the link ("French press kit On the road") to the right of Synopsis and it will take you to quite a number of images from the Trois Couleurs Special Issue we've talked about here on The Daily Beat. The text is in French, but the images are well worth checking out, especially if you don't have the Special Issue.

Thanks to Laura S. for alerting me to this info.


Folks, I don't mind opposing views here. I've published quite a few in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

That said, I will not publish comments that include ad hominem attacks. If you disagree with me or someone, it's okay to voice your opinion, but make your case with facts and data. If you think I or someone else is in error, point out the error - specifically - and substantiate what you see as a more correct view with a worthwhile argument. It would also help if your comments were not anonymous (and I am not speaking to anyone in particular here - we do get comments from someone with that screen name from time to time). It's just that it's pretty easy to be over-the-top snarky when no one knows who you are.

If you send comments calling people names and making baseless accusations, you won't see your comments posted. Period. Unless they're about Republicans. (Just kidding!)

Oh, and one more thing. I reserve the right to not post a comment at my whim. It's my blog. You can rant all you want on your own blog.

All that said, I do appreciate your readership and alternative views. But let's keep it civil, please.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gerald Nicosia's One and Only reviewed by Evergreen Review

Evergreen Review, the reputable literary quarterly started by Grove Press publisher Barney Rosset in 1957, just published a glowing review of Gerald Nicosia's One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road. Click here to read  it.

Kevin Riordan's review starts thus:
Celebrated author and Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia is the white knight of Beat scholarship, rescuing another damsel from the distress of obscurity, marginalization and an undeserved bad reputation.
It concludes:
In his summation, Nicosia makes a strong case for the debt of every countercultural movement of the late 20th century to this unsung woman; though she passed away before the book came out, she had the satisfaction of knowing the story would be set straight, particularly because her input, through Nicosia, was channeled to Walter Salles, the director bringing On the Road to the screen. That’s one reason why it’s probably a good thing it took over 50 years for the thing to be filmed.
As I said here on February 24, 2012, this is a highly recommended book for Kerouac and beat generation fans. Evergreen Review just confirmed my opinion.

Radio interview with Gerald Nicosia

Click here to listen to a KQED radio interview with author Gerald Nicosia, who discusses his book about the real-life Marylou from On The Road, Lu Anne Henderson. Nicosia talks about his experience training Kristen Stewart and her costars at beat boot camp in preparation for the upcoming film version of On The Road. He also ventures into related Kerouac topics, from the Steve Allen experience to how On The Road was actually written to beat generation philosophy (including a mention of Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti in the context of anti-materialism).

Nicosia is the author of the definitive Kerouac biography, Memory Babe, as well as a critically acclaimed history of the Vietnam veterans' movement, Home To War. He is current writing a critical biography of writer Ntozake Shange.

Because Nicosia is a leading Kerouac scholar and a great interviewee, listening to this interview is a required assignment for Daily Beat readers. You have until Friday at 4 PM, at which time a 2-page reflective paper is due.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On The Road release set for late fall!

Click here for an announcement about On The Road being released this fall! It will be jointly distributed by IFC Films and Sundance Selects, sister labels that are owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.


Happy Birthday, Gary Snyder!

Today is Gary Snyder's birthday. He is 82 years old. Daily Beat readers will recognize him as the model for Japhy Ryder in Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums. Click here for a brief bio or here to read some of Gary's poetry.

Coincidentally, we mentioned The Dharma Bums in yesterday's post. If you haven't read Bums yet, put it at the top of your list. It's one of Jack's best.

And yes, it's the inspiration for my license plate . . . .

Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: Jack Kerouac's Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha

Last night I finished reading Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha by Jack Kerouac. It was not what I expected at all. I went in blind, thinking it would be a fairly accessible biography of Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha. Instead, it was spontaneous prose meets esoteric obtusity. This book is neither for the faint of heart nor the Buddhist beginner. The insider terms come fast and furious, and comprehension is thus frequently stymied.

The main reason I stuck with it was because a goal of mine is to read everything that Kerouac ever wrote. Another reason is that at times it is fairly accessible, and, even when it soars into obscure Buddhist canonical scriptures, it is still Kerouac; hence, comprehension can take a back seat to simply marveling at his phrasing and rhythms.

According to the introduction by Buddhist scholar Robert A. F. Thurman, Wake Up was written in the first half of 1955 while Jack was living with sister Nin in Rocky Mount, NC. It didn't see publication until 2008, with the copyright assigned to "John Sampas, Literary Representative of the Estate of Jack Kerouac." One therefore might be tempted to assign this book to the "profiting-off-Kerouac's-legacy" category; however, it is certainly a masterful treatise and my major complaint, as I said earlier, is accessibility. Thurman, as a Buddhist scholar, praises the book highly, and I have no basis to argue. One Amazon reviewer described the book as a "meditative ecstasy," and that strikes me about right.

While I'm glad I read Wake Up, I'll stick with The Dharma Bums, my favorite Kerouac novel, which Thurman describes as "the most accurate, poetic, and expansive evocation of the heart of Buddhism that was available at that time" (p. viii). In an "Author's Note," Kerouac describes Wake Up as "a handbook for Western understanding of the ancient Law" (p. 5). At least for me, he partly failed on that score, but it's good to read something challenging from time to time and Wake Up certainly fits that bill.

If you're a Kerouac fan or interested in Buddhism, you might find Wake Up your cup of tea. Without either (or both) of those factors going for you, I'd avoid it.

As the world's biggest Kerouac fan and someone with a passing interest in Buddhism, I'm still going to tackle Some of the Dharma, but not right away. My brain needs a rest . . . .

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Henry David Thoreau died 150 years ago today

Henry David Thoreau
As this commentary points out, Henry David Thoreau died 150 years ago today at the age of 44. We've mentioned Thoreau previously on The Daily Beat (January 1, 2009). That was in regard to autodidacticity and included a reference to an entry in The Beat Handbook which points out that Jack Kerouac was a fan of Thoreau.

I've loved Thoreau since high school. I'm not sure which English teacher (Gill, Stahler, Butler?) introduced me to his writings, but I've always been partial to his theme of nonconformity. And when someone can write an essay that keeps me focused on every word from beginning to end, well . . . .

My copy of Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
Crystal and I visited Thoreau's grave on our way home from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac last year. It's a fairly simple, as one would expect, gravestone and typically has offerings of natural materials (pinecones, stones, etc.) left there by admirers.

Rick Dale at Thoreau's grave 2011 (photo by Crystal Bond)
I don't have anything academically gifted to say, but I happened upon Dolan's commentary and it struck me that Thoreau died at age 44. I guess in 1862 that wasn't so unusual, but I still wonder what he might have accomplished had he kept his health and lived another 20 or 30 years. For one thing, perhaps he would have revisited Maine and written more essays, adding fodder to the essays collected as The Maine Woods.

I won't bore you with yet another rehash of a Thoreau quote. Grab your copy of Walden or Civil Disobedience and remind yourself of Thoreau's genius.

Interview with Jake La Botz by Noemie Sornet

Kristen Stewart, Jake La Botz, & Rocky Marquette in On The Road (c) MK2
Noemie Sornet just scored an interview with On The Road movie actor Jake La Botz and posted it here. Jake played the Okie hitchhiker in the film. Noemie administers the blog where this interview is posted as well as the OnTheRoad4Kerouac Project, which we have mentioned a number of times here at The Daily Beat.

After you're done reading this great interview with Jake, submit your tribute to Jack Kerouac to the OnTheRoad4Kerouac Project by clicking here!

Way to go, Noemie!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Take Kerouaction!

As regular readers know, I wrote The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions (available at Amazon). I like to think I coined the term Kerouaction, which is a one-word description of the answer to the question, "What would Jack Kerouac do?"

What Kerouaction am I asking you to take? Submit a Jack Kerouac tribute to the OnTheRoad4Kerouac Project!

Let me make it easy for you.
1. Answer these questions in writing:
-How has Kerouac affected/inspired you?
-How did you feel after reading On The Road or some other Kerouac novel?
2. Send your response to the above with your name, country, and valid e-mail address to:
3. You may also submit pictures or drawings along with your answers to the above questions.
4. Click here to see what's been submitted so far.
Bonus: If you submit by May 27, you are eligible to win a copy of Trois Couleur's special On The Road issue.

There. Easy as that wonderful apple pie Jack ate during his cross-country travels.

I look forward to seeing your tribute soon!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Special On The Road edition of Trois Couleurs is a winner!

Rick Dale with Trois Couleurs On The Road special edition (photo by Crystal)
Today I received my copy of Trois Couleurs' special On The Road edition.That's me above holding the special issue and wearing my Jack Kerouac shirt. Of course, my cat, Karma, insisted on getting in the picture (it was totally his idea - I think Jack was watching).

Folks, this special edition from Trois Couleurs is awesome and you absolutely need to get a copy. It is 242 pages of full-color Kerouac lore, with pictures you may have never seen (Jack at age 5 and 14, for example), and fantastic entries like a guide to all the characters in the film with pictures of the real-life person next to a bio and a picture of the actor portraying that character. There's a 2-page spread of many different On The Road book covers, descriptions of Kerouac's actual journeys, various articles ("Is There A Beat Look?"), and extensive information about the film itself, including interviews with the actors, pictures, etc.

All in all, this is an amazing compilation of Kerouac lore and pictures. I only have one complaint: There's a bibliography at the end with 22 entries representing "those that have accompanied us throughout the making of this special issue." The list includes Ann Charters' Kerouac: A Biography, Carolyn Cassady's Off The Road, Anne Waldman's The Beat Book, Brenda Knight's Women of the Beat Generation, and various other resources. But it doesn't include the most important Kerouac biography, Gerald Nicosia's Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac! What an oversight! Salles even used Nicosia at his "beat boot camp" to train the actors for the film!

I would love someone to explain why this is, but I am afraid I know the answer. It can be found starting on page 220, which begins a multiple page section of tributes written by the likes of Al Hinkle, Carolyn Cassady, Joyce Johnson, Jerry Cimino, and others. But no Nicosia. There is, however, an entry by John Sampas, and that tells the story. Sampas controls the Kerouac estate purse-strings, and given his battle with Nicosia as Jan Kerouac's literary executor, Nicosia is persona non grata whenever Sampas is involved in something.

Maybe there's another explanation, but I sure can't fathom what it might be. Truly sad.

Nevertheless, except for this obvious slight, Trois Couleurs has done a fantastic job and you will definitely want to get your hands on this special edition. It should be available on Amazon at some point. In the meantime, you can enter the OnTheRoad4Kerouac project's contest to win a free copy here.

Time to go - I have reading to do and can't wait to get started . . . .

Trois Couleurs On The Road special edition: You'll want one!

I just received the Trois Couleurs special edition about the On The Road movie, and I have to say that it blew me away on first glance. I haven't had a chance to peruse it yet, but at first glance it is very colorful and contains a lot of great pictures and information. I'll look at it more carefully after work today and post my thoughts.

In the meantime, I already know you will definitely want your own copy, which you can order from Amazon (unavailable right now) or, as you know, you can enter to win a free copy by contributing a Jack Kerouac tribute to the OnTheRoad4Kerouac project (click here for details).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Win a special On The Road edition of Trois Couleurs!

Click here for some scans from Trois Couleurs' special On The Road edition that you can win by submitting a Jack Kerouac tribute to the OnTheRoad4Kerouac project (click here).

Have you entered yet? The deadline is May 27. It's easy to contribute, and not only will you be paying tribute to our hero, Jack Kerouac, you will also be getting a chance to win a copy of a great collector's edition of Trois Couleurs!

What are you waiting for? Your help is needed to reinvent the scroll in 2012!

Because of his French-Canadian roots, Jack would really dig this whole scene.Vive le France! Vive le Jack Kerouac!

The Beats and Buddhism

Click here to read a long excerpt from Ellen Pearlman's book, Nothing and Everything: The Influence of Buddhism on the Avante Garde 1942-1962.

Good stuff.

P.S. I learned about this from Beatdom on Facebook.