Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Jack Kerouac bobblehead coming soon!

As you know from my December 12, 2009 post here on The Daily Beat, Jack Kerouac bobblehead dolls have existed since the Lowell Spinners (a Boston Red Sox affiliate) gave them out as a promotion in 2003. The little buggers are fetching a couple hundred bucks on eBay!

Now it appears that the Spinners, in partnership with the UMass-Lowell English Department, will be giving out the above version to the first 1,000 fans at their game on August 7 in celebration of the On The Road movie. This time, however, you will be able to buy one on-line for twenty bucks. The Spinners say yet a third Kerouac bobblehead will make its appearance in 2013.

Click here for the article this post was based on.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

72 of the best quotes about writing

Click here for a link to 72 of the best quotes about writing according to Writer's Digest. It includes three from our boy, Jack Kerouac. Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and William Carlos Williams are represented as well.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

On The Road wallpaper!

(c) 2012  Sloane Kelley (on Instagram)
Next time you're in San Francisco, you could stay in this On The Road-wallpapered room at the Triton Hotel.

Henry Miller writing advice

Occasionally we forge into the world of writing advice here on The Daily Beat. Of course, we have highlighted advice from Jack Kerouac a couple of times, as well as our own and others' takes on the subject:

April 6, 2012
January 22, 2012
August 15, 2011
January 10, 2010
November 16, 2008

Today I saw the below advice from Henry Miller. It was unsourced, as are many things on-line, and I didn't go to the trouble to do so. You can if you wish. Regardless, it contains some good writing advice for your consideration (I need to heed it more than anyone). I like #10 a lot.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jack Kerouac: Vindicated by Library of Congress!

Not that Jack Kerouac needed vindication in my mind, but it's good to see that the Library of Congress has acknowledged (in its latest exhibit) On The Road as one of the 88 books that "shaped America." Jack would be happy to see the company he's keeping, given such entries as Jack London's Call of the Wild (London was a Kerouac fav), William Carlos Williams' Spring and All (Williams was an influence on the Beats), and Howl by distinguished-member-of-the-beat-triumvirate Allen Ginsberg. Jack might not be too excited that In Cold Blood by Truman Capote made the list, since Capote described On The Road as typing, not writing.

No matter, the Library of Congress has designated On The Road as one of 88 books that shaped America, and we agree. Click here for the entire list. Too bad they misspelled Sal Paradise as Sol Paradise in the description. This is their Office of Communications e-mail address: Perhaps a few thousand of us should write and ask them to fix it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Making Jack Kerouac books available to the multitudes

I love this sign. It shows a real passion for the importance of reading. As Carl Sagan said:
A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.
It got me thinking about making Kerouac more accessible. I've sent Kerouac novels at no charge to friends who expressed an interest, and I've given away more copies of The Beat Handbook than I've sold.

But what else could I do? Or we do? Used copies of Kerouac's novels are available on-line for 5 or 6 bucks (it looks to me like prices have gone up since the movie hit Cannes, but I can't confirm that) and probably cheaper at bookstores and yard sales. Maybe it'd be a good idea to buy a few copies of favorite Kerouac novels and have them on hand to give away when the situation warrants. I'm thinking I might keep a few copies in my truck.

For example, I was reading Dr. Sax at the Fat Toad (a pub) the other day, and there was a new bartender. She asked me what I was reading, and it led into a brief Kerouac discussion in which she said she had tried to read On The Road but couldn't get into it. But she seemed interested in taking another try (she was reading 50 Shades of Grey on her Kindle and so I felt duty-bound to encourage reading something half-decent - by which I mean something with some literary value and not something that isn't bawdy). If I'd had a copy of The Dharma Bums in my truck I would have gotten it and given it to her (perhaps with the request to pass it along when finished). I think that's more accessible to a first-time Kerouac reader than OTR. But that's just me - opinions vary.

Maybe we need to establish a "free Kerouac exchange" on-line. I know there's BookMooch (there are only 7 Kerouac books up there right now), but what I'm thinking about would be specific to Kerouac (or maybe the beat generation). Maybe it wouldn't be an exchange, but a place where you could post a Kerouac book that you are willing to send to someone free of charge just for the asking. If thousands of us posted one book, think of how we could spread the gospel of Kerouac at little cost to us individually!

Maybe we could all check the local library to see what Kerouac books they don't carry and donate one. That wouldn't take much effort and, again, if thousands of us did that it would definitely make more Kerouac accessible to more people. How about if thousands of us donated a copy of a Kerouac novel to a used bookstore with no strings attached? We could write a note on the inside cover that says, "This book was donated in the hope that whoever reads it will pass it along to someone else." We could leave copies of Jack's books on his grave with a similar note (I think I'll do that this October during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac). I know, only Kerouac fans are likely to visit, but what if someone was visiting with a friend? It might be an opportunity. Or maybe a note inside could encourage donating it to library or bookstore where the person picking it up is from (yes, you should leave it sealed in a baggie in case of rain).

That's the extent of my brainstorming at this point. What ideas do you have?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ed Ruscha on Jack Kerouac

I thought you might enjoy this article on Ed Ruscha. It includes pictures (see one above) of his art that feature Kerouac's words from On The Road.

I wonder if he got "permission."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Drunk texts from famous authors

This Paris Review article (click here) is pretty funny, but it leaves out Jack Kerouac!

I have a solution. Let's think up some drunk texts that Jack might have sent and post them in the comment section (as others have done). If you do, let us know.

Represent, people!

A new poem: Velveteen Bird

I just wrote a new poem (my eleventh of the year if you are counting), and since our hero Jack Kerouac was a poet, it seems fitting to post a link to it here on The Daily Beat. Click here to read it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jack Kerouac-inspired quilt wins top prize

Click here for an article about an On The Road-inspired quilt winning the top prize in an art show in Virginia.

You just never know how Jack Kerouac will pop up in the news!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

HuffPo jumps on the Kerouac bandwagon

Thanks to the On The Road movie, we will now experience all sorts of Kerouac articles in various places. Click here for one in the Huffington Post. It's not a bad compilation of Kerouac sites in San Fran, but they are the obvious, touristy sites. The Beat Generation in San Francisco by Bill Morgan might be more up your alley if you're a real beat aficionado.

It's going to get harder and harder not to experience frustration with all the superficial Kerouactivities going on. Like Barbara Mandrell sang, "I was country when country wasn't cool."

We'll know that we loved Jack way before the Hollywood attention. Right?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jack Kerouac did NOT write On The Road in 3 weeks!

Click here for yet another example of inaccuracy when reporting about Jack Kerouac's writing of On The Road. As I detailed in my December 9, 2008 post, and mentioned again on November 1, 2010, Jack had been working on the novel for years before his famous 3-week frenzied typing spree in April 1951.

Note that, in the above review for The Age based on the film's airing at the Sydney Film Festival, reviewer Garry Maddox says Kerouac "wrote" On The Road in 3 weeks, which is just not so. Yes, he typed up an entire version in 3 weeks (which was subject to heavy editing/multiple drafts afterwards, by the way), but he surely didn't "write" it in 3 weeks. He was thinking about it and writing portions of it as early as 1947.

This is not to take anything away from Jack's amazing burst of creation during those 3 weeks in April 1951. What an accomplishment! That particular literary artifact is worth millions of dollars today.

But Jack didn't "write" On The Road in 3 weeks. To say that he did undermines the immensity of the actual work that he put into the novel over a period of years.

Garry, let's stop perpetuating myths about it. I've left you feedback via the comment feature at The Age website. I hope you get it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Previously unpublished Kerouac works!

Click here for an article by Jennifer Myers from The Lowell Sun on June 10 about a new anthology (May 2012), River Muse: Tales of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley.

Here's what it says that's of interest to Jack Kerouac fans:
The book is like a Whitman's Sampler -- it has something for everyone, including three previously unpublished pieces by Kerouac, provided by his former brother-in-law and keeper of Kerouac's estate, John Sampas.

"I wanted to include more classic writers in the book, including Kerouac, so Dave Daniel approached John Sampas and was handed a file of 30 to 40 unpublished pieces and told to `take whatever you want,'" Corricelli said.

As a bonus, he and Daniel also scored two poems by Kerouac's boyhood friend and Sampas' brother, Sebastian Sampas, who was fatally wounded in the battle of Anzio while serving in the Army during World War II.

Sounds like a potential entry for the Christmas/Birthday list to me.

It's published by CreateSpace, an Amazon company on-demand publisher (formerly Book Surge, who published The Beat Handbook), and is available here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Another review of On The Road that I respect

Click here for a review of Walter Salles' On The Road by Audrey Sprenger, a Kerouac scholar whose opinion I respect. Some of what she says concurs with what Gerald Nicosia said here on June 2, 2012, and that is sufficient triangulation for me.

Ring of Bone: Collected Poems by Lew Welch

I just received this new and expanded edition of Lew Welch's Ring of Bone, and hope to spend some time with it soon. It's available from City Lights (click here) and features a foreword by Gary Snyder (Japhy Ryder in Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums).

Click here for one of Lew's poems at If you like that, here are more.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

16th anniversary of Jan Kerouac's death

Jan Kerouac died on this date in 1996. Author of Baby Driver, Trainsong (both recommended!), and the unfinished Parrot Fever, Jan was the only daughter of Jack Kerouac.

You can read about Jan in Gerald Nicosia's 2009 book, Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, available here.

RIP, Jan.

The center of Saturday night in America

Visions of Cody by Jack Kerouac, 1993, Penguin Books
If you ever need to source a Jack Kerouac quote (they show up unsourced on the Internet all the time) and need help, try the Jack Kerouac Group on Facebook. Today I read this lead sentence in a NY Times article:
Jack Kerouac once said that no one, not the biggest drinker, fighter or lover, could find the center of Saturday night in America.
I love that, and it sure sounds like Jack. But, of course, the article (click here to read it) didn't provide a citation. I had no idea where to start looking in order to confirm that Jack said it or, if he did, where.

Enter the Facebook Jack Kerouac Group. I posted about this and, just like that, Dave Moore (moderator of the group), found the following in Visions of Cody on p. 57:
. . . no guy whether he was a big drinker, big fighter or big cocksman could ever find the center of Saturday night in America . . .
I checked my copy, and, sure enough, there it is on p. 57 (my version is Penguin, 1993).

Dave pointed out that this quote almost certainly influenced Tom Waits' song, "The Heart of Saturday Night" (click here to listen).

So, Jack said something pretty much like what the NY Times reported. They just didn't have the balls to print "cocksman."

Here's more from Visions of Cody for context:
Cody sat there, stunned with personal excitement as whole groups of them shouted across the smoke to other fellows in a tremendous general anticipation of the rapidly approaching almost unbearably important Saturday night in just a few hours, right after supper when there would be long preparations before the mirror and then a sharped-up city-wide invasion of bars (which already at this moment had begun to roar from old afternoon drinkers who'd swallowed their bar egos long ago), thousands of young men of Denver hurrying from their homes with arrogant clack and tie-adjustments towards the brilliant center in an invasion haunted by sorrow because no guy whether he was a big drinker, big fighter or big cocksman could ever find the center of Saturday night in America, though the undone collar and the dumb stance on empty streetcorners on Sunday dawn was easy to find and in fact fifteen-year-old Cody could have best told them about it . . . (Kerouac, 1993, p. 57).

That is the best description of certain Saturday nights in my long-ago past that I've ever read. If you haven't read Visions of Cody, what are you waiting for? Go go go, man, and dig the ride!


Kerouac, J. (1993). Visions of cody. London: Penguin Books.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Huffington Post article pans On The Road

I think this article deserves a response. Anyone game?

Happy Birthday, Allen Ginsberg

Beat poet Allen Ginsberg was born this date in 1926. He would have been 86 today. He died in 1997, living to  age 70 (versus Jack making it to 47).

I'm currently reading Kaddish and Other Poems 1958-1960. I recommend it.

Read some Ginsberg today in honor of his birthday at

Memorial mass for Jan Kerouac

The Kirouac Family Association has announced the following on Facebook:

1952 – 1996 
Une messe anniversaire sera célébrée à 11 heures, le dimanche 3 juin 2012, à l’église St-Mathieu, 3155, chemin des Quatre-Bourgeois, Québec, à l’occasion du 15e anniversaire de l’inhumation des cendres de Janet (Jan) Michelle Kerouac, au cimetière Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, Nashua, New Hampshire. 
Elle était la fille unique du célèbre écrivain franco-américain Jack Kerouac, qui a marqué la littérature américaine au siècle dernier. 
Elle–même romancière, Jan ne put achever son troisième roman, minée par la maladie et épuisée par un incessant combat pour sauver l’héritage littéraire de son père. 
Elle repose dans le lot familial de ses grands-parents paternels, Léo-Alcide Kirouac (Né à St-Hubert-de-Témiscouata) et Gabrielle Lévesque (Née à St-Pacôme), petite cousine de René Lévesque, ancien premier ministre du Québec. 
De la part d’un lointain cousin qui fut très près d’elle quand elle entreprit la recherche de ses racines québécoises et bretonne dont elle était si fière. 
Puisse-t-elle maintenant avoir trouvé la paix après tous les tourments qui lui ont été imposés pendant sa trop courte vie.

Jacques K.

If, like me, your French is rusty, the gist of the above is that there will be a memorial mass for Jan Kerouac today at 11 A.M. on the 15th anniversary of the interment of her ashes. As readers know, Jan was the only daughter of Jack Kerouac, and an accomplished writer herself, publishing Baby Driver and Trainsong during her lifetime. She died at age 44 on June 5, 1996, and was unable to finish her third novel, Parrot Fever. Gerald Nicosia, author of the definitive Kerouac biography, Memory Babe, recently published a tribute to Jan, Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memories of Cannes: An Interview with Gerald Nicosia (including a mini-review of On The Road)

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Sam Riley with Gerald Nicosia at the Cannes afterparty.

As promised, here is the interview with Memory Babe author Gerald Nicosia about his experience at the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of On The Road. As in past interviews here, this was conducted via e-mail. It's full of fascinating insights, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Thanks to Gerry for the exclusive photos, including some of Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, and Kirsten Dunst. Several miscellaneous photos appear at the end of the interview. Make sure to scroll all the way through for Robert Pattinson!

The Daily Beat: We understand that you just returned from the premiere of On The Road at the Cannes Film Festival, and that it was rather a last-minute decision. How did that trip materialize?

Gerald Nicosia: I had hoped to be at the premiere from the time I worked on the film in July 2010. Al Hinkle and his daughter Dawn, who are good friends of mine, had talked for months about how we hoped Walter Salles or the production company would bring us all to Cannes for the premiere. But neither Walter nor MK2 was in touch with us. The email I was using for Walter was not bringing any response, and it may be he doesn’t use it any more. But about a month ago, I was able to get in touch with his assistant, Maria Bruno, in Brazil, and from that point on, I could communicate with Walter on a frequent basis. He told me that it was going to be hard to get an “invitation” (which is what they call tickets to the premieres), but that if I came to Cannes, he would invite me and a guest to the after-party. My French friend Noemie Sornet arranged a place for me to stay, and I was able to get a moderately-priced air ticket, so there seemed no reason not to go. I really wanted to see the actors again—I mean the ones I had worked closely with: Garrett, Sam, and Kristen. There were others on the crew that I wanted to see again too, like cinematographer Eric Gautier, who is not only a complete genius at what he does, but is one of the nicest people I have ever met on this planet. The main theater holds 2400 seats, so I figured, with all the people I know connected to this film, someone would come up with a ticket for me. And that is just what happened. Charles Gillibert and Rebecca Yeldham, two of the producers that I worked with, managed to come up with a ticket for me just hours before the movie showed.

You know, I’ve spent 40 years fighting for the mainstream recognition of Jack Kerouac as a great American writer. 40 years ago, I was arguing with professors at the University of Illinois, telling them they should include Jack Kerouac in American literature courses, and they were laughing at me, figuratively “spitting in my face,” telling me that they would never teach “that cult leader, that chief of the beatniks,” in a college literary course. I think I can honestly say, without boasting, that the book I wrote, MEMORY BABE, the first critical biography of Kerouac (the first book to examine his works in detail), helped in a large way to further recognition and acceptance of Kerouac as a writer instead of a “chief of beatniks.” I felt strongly that the first showing of this film, ON THE ROAD, would be a watershed in terms of Jack Kerouac reaching a much larger, mainstream audience around the world. That is to say, I felt it would be a tremendously historic occasion—in the literary world, in the cultural world, and in the political world—so I wanted very much to be there for that moment in history. And I felt I had paid enough dues over the past forty years to earn the right to be there. Thank God, I was. (And of course, thank Noemie Sornet, Walter Salles, Kristen Stewart, Charles Gillibert, and many others who helped make it possible!)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Exclusive photos from Cannes

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Gerald Nicosia and Noemie Sornet waiting for the On The Road premiere.
We just received the below photos from Noemie Sornet, founder of the OnTheRoad4Kerouac Project. She and Kerouac scholar Gerald Nicosia attended the premiere of On The Road, and a post-Cannes interview with Nicosia is in the works for a future post here on The Daily Beat! It will be pretty exciting to get his take on the movie.

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Palais des Festivals, Cannes, where the premiere of the movie of ON THE ROAD happened on May 23, 2012. Marilyn Monroe wishes the festival a happy 65th birthday!

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Crowds of people would gather outside the Palais all day long, many of them holding up signs to ask for a ticket to some film. An “invitation,” as they are called, to ON THE ROAD was the hottest ticket in town, and the hardest to get!

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Gerald Nicosia with Chicago film critic Patrick Z. McGavin, on the Rue du Bivouac Napoleon, near the Palais, Cannes. 

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Crowd of attendees gathers on the red carpet, just before entering the Palais to see the premiere of ON THE ROAD.

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Audience members begin to ascend the red carpet into the Palais, prior to the showing of ON THE ROAD.

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Gerald Nicosia and Kristen Stewart at the afterparty, Magic Garden Meets the Baron club, Cannes, May 23, 2012.

(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012
Gerald Nicosia and friend Noemie Sornet, founder of the ON THE ROAD 4 KEROUAC project, underneath the giant poster of ON THE ROAD across from the Palais.

More pics to come with the Nicosia interview. Stay tuned.