Friday, November 30, 2012

Helen Weaver's The Awakener translated to Greek

I just learned that Helen Weaver's fascinating book, The Awakener: A Memoir of Jack Kerouac and the Fifties, has been translated into Greek. Click here for her interview with Greek journalist, Michalis Limnios, featuring a great picture of Helen from 1961.

Way to go, Helen!

Click here for my review of The Awakener.

Click here for my interview with Helen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

RIP to a little known but influential San Fran art scene maven

You may have never heard of Alix Geluardi, but she was influential in San Francisco's North Beach art scene over the years. Quick to help out a struggling artist in whom she saw potential, Alix at one point aided no less than Gregory Corso and Lew Welch.

Click here for a SF Chronicle story about Alix.

I bet right now she and Jack Kerouac et al. are organizing a hell of a poetry reading . . . .

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Advanced instruction for watching On the Road: Slim Gaillard and Yip Roc Heresy

Not being familiar with Slim Gaillard's (in)famous song,* Yip Roc Heresy,** I was curious about it while watching On the Road and thought Daily Beat readers who haven't seen the movie yet might benefit from some advanced instruction.

From what I can piece together, Slim wrote this song about his time living in Detroit where an Armenian woman had taken him in and often cooked him Arabic food. The song, Yip Roc Heresy, is made up almost entirely of Arabic food names. "Yip roc" is actually "yabraq," stuffed grape leaves, and "heresy" is actually  "heressah," a sweet semolina dessert.

So when you watch Sal and the gang singing along with Slim in the movie, you'll now know what the hell they are saying.

You're welcome.

*Apparently, it was banned from at least one radio station.
** Lots of different spellings of this on-line.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Loving and Hating Charles Bukowski by Linda King

Just received this in the mail, directly from  Linda, and I plan to read it soon and then post a review. I want to read something other than by or about Jack Kerouac for a short spell (given what lies ahead for the spring semester: teaching a Kerouac course), and this will suffice given that it's a biography (which I love) and it's about someone I'm intrigued with (I love Bukowski). 

From the back cover:
Linda King, a young, beautiful poet and sculptor in Los Angeles in the 1970's at the beginning of the women's liberation movement. She meets Charles Bukowski, an underground writer/poet and columnist of Notes of a Dirty Old Man for the Los Angeles Free Press. She offered to do a sculpture of his head. While sculpting his acne scarred face, he seduces her with his letters, writing and wit. They fall in love. This is the story of their passionate and humorous relationship of loving and hating, fighting and splitting. Ms. King doesn't hold back on the pain or the pleasure in this true life story.
Sounds promising. I'll let you know . . . .

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I was thinking this morning about all the things I have to be thankful for, and toward the top of my list - after family, health, and prosperity - are all of the amazing people I've met because of Jack Kerouac. That includes people who I've met in person and on-line as well as all of you who only read my words on The Daily Beat.

It's a rich life, and richer because of you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jack Kerouac's Daily Routine?

Click here for advice on writing routines from famous writers compiled by Maria Popova on Brain Pickings. Our boy Jack is represented, although I'm not sure it's the quote I would have culled from everything he's said on the subject.

Other authors represented include:

Ray Bradbury
Joan Didion
E.B. White
Susan Sontag
Henry Miller
Simone de Beauvoir
Ernest Hemingway
Don DeLillo
Ben Franklin
Haruki Murakami
William Gibson
Maya Angelou
Anais Nin
Kurt Vonnegut

Jack's certainly in good company, yes?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to Gerald Nicosia

Today is Gerald Nicosia's 63rd birthday. Readers of The Daily Beat need no introduction to Gerry, who wrote the critically acclaimed Kerouac biography, Memory Babe. Click below for a couple of Daily Beat interviews with Gerry about his work on the On the Road film and his experience at its Cannes debut.

Memories of Cannes, June 2, 2012
The Making of On the Road, May 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Gerry, and many more.

Upcoming San Francisco Kerouac/On the Road Event

San Francisco Public Library

On the Road: The Book, The Movie, and What Comes Next

On Thursday, January 10, 2013, the San Francisco Public Library is hosting a panel presentation in its Koret Auditorium (100 Larkin Street) at 6:00-7:30 PM titled, On the Road: The Book, The Movie, and What Comes Next. Moderated by Kerouac scholar Gerald Nicosia, author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, the panel includes the following members:

  • Peter Coyote - actor, author, activist, founding member of The Diggers, narrator of Jack Kerouac, The Movie (1985)
  • Joanna McClure - author of Wolf Eyes and poet who was at the famous Six Gallery reading in 1955
  • Dennis McNally - author of Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, And America and the  Grateful Dead's historian/publicist
  • Brad Parker - Lowell native and author of Kerouac: An Introduction
  • Rick Dale - author of The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions and yours truly

Does that sound bomber or what? As you can imagine from the title, panelists will be discussing the importance of Kerouac's book, On the Road, its cultural impact, and what effect the release of the movie version will have on both. As you can further imagine, I am not a little bit freaked out by the opportunity. For confidence, I will continue to harken back to what Gerry said about my book (he picked up a copy from Jack's grave in Lowell during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac in October 2011):

“It’s a lovely book, rich in Jack’s spirit, and full of his beating heart." 
~Gerald Nicosia about The Beat Handbook

Praise like that from a such a noteworthy Kerouac scholar gives me confidence that I might have something to say.

So, if you're not doing anything January 10, come to San Francisco for a happening Kerouacian event!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy 82nd Birthday to David Amram

From left to right: Larry Rivers, Jack Kerouac, David Amram, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso (in white hat)
World-renowned musician/composer David Amram, whose verve reminds me of the Energizer bunny, turns 82 today. If you're reading this blog, you probably don't need an introduction, but David was a friend of Jack Kerouac's and is a pillar at the annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac event. In 2009 we swapped autographed books there, his (Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac) for mine (The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions). I'm not sure he remembers that but he always recognizes me at Lowell and we exchange a few words.

David Amram and Rick Dale at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, October 2009

David's inscription on my copy of his book

David Amram with Crystal at Cappy's, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, October 2012

This year at Lowell, David and Jack's good friend, Billy Koumantzelis, took questions from the audience at Cappy's. It was wonderful to listen to them reminisce. Click here for a picture.

Click here for a number of links and some of David's memories of Jack, including his obit for Jack in the 1969 Evergreen Review.

Happy Birthday, David, and many more. "All joy for music and stay beat."

See you in Lowell next October!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jack Kerouac and Veterans' Day

Jack Kerouac's 1942 Naval Reserve photo

Today is Veterans' Day here in the U.S. Some folks - not me - will have tomorrow off from work as part of the celebration. The Kerouac connection is that Jack joined the U.S. Naval Reserve on December 8, 1942. He didn't even make it through boot camp in Newport, RI, eventually ending up in the Bethesda (Maryland) Naval Hospital where he was diagnosed with "dementia praecox" (read about that here) and discharged for "unsuitability." Click here for more details.

Jack later served in the Merchant Marine and served on the S.S. Dorchester when it sailed for Greenland in 1942. Jack used that experience in his novels, Vanity of Duluoz and The Sea is My Brother. The Dorchester was later sunk by a torpedo from a German U-Boat on February 3, 1943, taking 704 American lives.

I'm not a veteran, although I toyed with the idea of enlisting during one particularly disjointed phase of my life. My son, Jason, served for four years in the U.S. Army Airborne, stationed at Fort Bragg the whole time but seeing some deployments in places such as Thailand and Jordan. I'm proud of him for that (I don't think I could ever jump out of an airplane).

I'm not a fan of war, and I oppose killing in general (yes, even the death penalty) - although in self-defense I would not rule it out - and yet I do stand in appreciation of those who put their lives on the line in our military despite our government's generally misguided use of our armed forces in other parts of the world.

It's too bad we need a military. Humans have the capacity to create a world where it's unnecessary, but we choose otherwise. That said, let's take a moment today to remember all the veterans past and present who put their lives on the line in service to others. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

6 Degrees of Jack Kerouac: On Golden Pond

Faithful readers of The Daily Beat know that I live along a beautiful lake in Maine, but did you know that it is the twin lake to the one that inspired the play that became the famous movie, On Golden Pond? No, they didn't film the movie in Maine: Squam Lake in New Hampshire got the nod for that. Nevertheless, the play's author, Ernest Thompson, wrote the play about his summers on Great Pond in Belgrade, Maine, which empties into our lake via Mill Stream. I'm sure Thompson spent some time on our lake, too.

Thinking about On Golden Pond made me want to play 6 Degrees of Jack Kerouac, and it turns out to be pretty easy. Granted, I usually connect Jack to a noteworthy person, but in this case I'm connecting him to a famous movie. It's my game. I make the rules.

Here's the rundown:

1. English alternative rock band The Smiths performed a song titled, Pretty Girls Make Graves, which they named after a quote from Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums.
2. Post-punk Seattle band Pretty Girls Make Graves named themselves after The Smiths' song.
3. Pretty Girls Make Graves recorded a song titled, "Bring It On Golden Pond."

So, On Golden Pond's Jack Kerouac number is 3.

Who knew?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mill Valley Literary Review features Gerald Nicosia

The Mill Valley Literary Review says that it "is a quarterly e-zine dedicated to providing exposure, encouragement, joy and resources to Marin County, California's literary talent, as well as enthusiastic readers." The current issue (Winter 2012) features poems by and an interview by John King with Gerald Nicosia, noted Kerouac scholar and author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac.

Click here to read the current issue. Click on "Salon" for the interview.