Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kerouac v. Gandhi

Click here for an article in the Psychiatric Times comparing Kerouac's and Gandhi's differing responses to trauma. The author's take on Kerouac relies a bit too much on viewing On the Road as autobiography, but it's still an interesting read.

"The Mexican Girl" gets a book

Finally, someone has seen fit to write about real-life Bea Franco, the "Mexican girl" (Terry) in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Another book I have to buy!

Click here for the author's blog.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Kerouac's day job

(c) Grant Snider

Click here to see day jobs of famous poets, including the above (only one of many day jobs that Jack Kerouac held).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kerouac: Model for teen drivers?

A recent Huffington Post article bemoans the trend wherein less teenagers are getting a driver's license (click here). Fine. But then it invokes Jack Kerouac:
When Jack Kerouac finished his iconic book On the Road in 1951, the United States was surging with post-war optimism, and the automobile was its symbol for youthful independence, exploration and possibility. Acquiring a driver's license -- earning the right to drive -- became an important rite of passage for American teens, a way for them to launch off on their own toward a bright, if unknown, future.
Someone should break it to author Peter Weddle that Jack never got a driver's license.

Friday, April 26, 2013

My week with a Beat legend

I consider Gerry Nicosia a Beat legend, albeit a controversial one "if you believe the talk" (movie reference). In my opinion, his biography, Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, stands as the most comprehensive and well-researched (e.g., 300+ interviews) Kerouac biography to date. Gerry is a walking Beat encyclopedia. The only original Beats he didn't meet in person were Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, and he became friends with many of them. And Gerry's skills go beyond Kerouac and Beat scholarship, having written the national bestseller, Home to War, about the Vietnam Veterans movement. He's currently writing the biography of Ntozake Shange, famous author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.

I used the word "controversial" above in reference to the on-going tension between Gerry and the Kerouac estate (aka John Sampas). Details on that whole mess are forthcoming in a future post. Maybe.

How I got to know Gerry is an interesting story. We like to say we met because of Jack Kerouac, which is true enough on the surface but we think it was more providential than that. As you may know, for several years during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac (LCK) in October I have left a copy of my book, The Beat Handbook, on Jack's grave (in a ziplock bag to protect it against the weather) with a note to "please steal this book and pass it along." The one I left in 2008 reappeared in 2009 in the hands of a Notre Dame student (see my October 9, 2009 post). I don't know what happened to the one I left there in 2009 (some say John Sampas retrieves the items periodically and disposes of them in some fashion). I didn't attend LCK in 2010. I left a copy there in 2011.

In early 2012 I got an e-mail out of the blue from Gerry saying he retrieved my book from the grave the previous October, took it back to his hotel and read it. He loved it, saying it was funny and "full of Jack's heart." Of note is that it was Gerry's second trip to the grave that day. He went out in the morning but Roger Brunelle had a mob of people there so he left. Later in the day he returned, but only because an acquaintance asked him for a grave tour. I had always held Gerry up on a pedestal, so communicating with him was a real treat and it turned into a friendship. We send handwritten letters and postcards back-and-forth just like Jack and his friends did.

I'm teaching a first year seminar at University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) right now focused on Jack Kerouac, and last year Gerry and I got to talking about bringing him to UMF as a visiting scholar. I checked with our Provost and he was willing to support the visit, and so this past week Gerry taught my class and gave a mid-week presentation open to the public. Here's a rundown of the week.

I picked Gerry up from the airport Monday, which gave us a chance to visit on the way home from the airport (he stayed at my house all week). I had a surprise in store for Tuesday - I got to meet Jacques Kirouac, founder and first president of the Kirouac Family Association. Jacques had driven down from Quebec City to see Gerry. We had a great lunch with Jacques and then he sat in while Gerry taught my class. We were in the middle of The Dharma Bums, so Gerry spent a large part of Tuesday's class on that topic, and the students were very engaged and asked a number of great questions. We had a good discussion about the spiritual meaning of Ray's statement, "you can't fall off a mountain." We then went to dinner with Jacques, which again was a pleasure. He is a charming man and full of life (and spry at 85 years young).

Wednesday Gerry and I went to lunch with four other faculty members and we had an interesting discussion that ranged from Kerouac to the Beats to the Vietnam War veterans movement to history of the 50s and 60s. That afternoon we ran into a former student of mine, Taresa, who is on her own Keroucian adventure and after a lively discussion we told her about the presentation that evening (which she ended up attending). Wednesday evening Gerry gave a public talk, "Why Jack is Back," focusing on why Jack and the Beats were back to change our lives once again. Before a crowd of about 30 people (students, faculty, and community members), Gerry expounded on several  things the Beats stood for: human interaction (community, presence, companionship); the evil of materialism; and, the dignity, value, and divine spirit in every human being. He gave plenty of time for questions at the end and there were a number of very thoughtful ones. Gerry demonstrated his profound knowledge of not only Jack Kerouac and the Beats but also about literature in general as well as the history of the United States. After the presentation we got ice cream, and Gerry had apple pie to go with it "in honor of Jack."

Thursday we had a late lunch and then it was time for class #2. Gerry managed that class as a purely Q & A about Kerouac, the Beats, the On the Road movie, etc. I had asked the students to prepare five questions for Gerry and they kept the class moving along. I'm sure the students learned a lot because Gerry was addressing topics in which they were interested. At our invitation, Taresa and a friend attended class and we had another spirited discussion afterwards. We had to break it off as we were heading to join Crystal in Hallowell to read at an open mike at Hattie's Chowder House (Maine!). Gerry read about five of his poems, included the excellent one about Gregory Corso's ashes (click here and scroll down), and I read four (all from my poetry blog). Then we headed home to make it an early evening since we had to get up at 6 AM Friday to give us time to make his return flight to California.

Friday morning we headed for Portland International Jetport and said our goodbyes. Gerry is part of a panel at the Salem State University Kerouac Symposium on May 2 and 3 (click here), so he will be back east in a week. It's three hours away and I'm tempted to go.

Throughout the week, we had lots of opportunities to talk, and our conversations invariably turned to Kerouac and the Beats. I stand in awe of Gerry's knowledgeand ability to retrieve and share it. Period.

It was a great week and a number of students and faculty and community members - including me - know a lot more about Jack Kerouac and the Beats.


Monday, April 22, 2013

The Beat Handbook in China

Click here for proof that The Beat Handbook is officially in China. It's in the hands of Beatdom creator David S. Wills, whose new book, Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult,' was just reviewed on The Daily Beat here.

Given the subversive nature of my book, I hope Chinese authorities don't find out about it!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Dharma Bums Quiz Chapters 11-21

Here's a quiz I gave my college students about Chapters 11-21 in The Dharma Bums to make sure they did the reading. For some reason, they like my quizzes. I don't think it's because they're too easy because there is a scattering of scores, and I don't think one would do too well without reading the assigned chapters because the distracters make sense (for the most part). How would you do? If you post your answers as a comment, I'll let you know.

1. Who makes it to the top of the Matterhorn?
a. just Japhy
b. just Ray
c. just Morely
d. Japhy and Ray

2. What did Japhy do a couple of times while climbing?
a. vomited from overexertion
b. went so far ahead that the others were worried about getting lost
c. took off his pants and climbed in his jockstrap
d. had visions and told the others about them

3. Japhy wouldn’t go in the first restaurant they stopped at after the climb because:
a. he had no money at all
b. he wasn’t dressed well enough
c. the restaurant was full of bums
d. he wanted to get to San Francisco in a hurry

4. Japhy predicts:
a. the United States will become mostly Buddhist
b. a rucksack revolution of Zen Lunatics
c. he and Ray will live out their lives in Japan
d. Ray and Princess will get married

5. What was Rosie worried about?
a. plutonium in the drinking water
b. Cody leaving her
c. everybody getting arrested
d. a rucksack revolution

6. Rosie died from:
a. slashing her wrists and jumping off a 6-story roof
b. slashing her wrists
c. shooting herself with Ray’s gun
d. overdosing on pills

7. What technique to cure his phlebitis did Ray learn from a bum?
a. drinking vinegar
b. jogging
c. standing on his head
d. meditating

8. On his first night back east at his mother’s, Ray:
a. goes out in the wintry woods to meditate
b. gets in a big fight with his mother
c. goes out to a bar and gets drunk
d. finds out his beloved cat died

9. What is something Ray didn’t do during his stay in North Carolina?
a. write poetry
b. meditate
c. shoot basketball
d. hit the bars frequently

10. A major tension with his family during Ray’s stay in North Carolina was over:
a. his drinking
b. his not working
c. his Buddhism
d. his cat

Good review of On the Road in the Cornell Daily Sun

Click here for a good review of On the Road in the Cornell Daily Sun.

One small correction: the '49 Hudson wasn't stolen. Dean bought it with savings from his railroad job.

Kerouac still inspires

Click here for an article on how Kerouac is still inspiring people to go go go. No, Jack wouldn't own such a vehicle or drive it, but who are we to judge how someone digs the ride?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Christmas shopping early?

If you're trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, this signed first edition/second printing copy of On the Road is going for only $2,200 on eBay right now. Hint hint . . . .

Gerald Nicosia: Recent Interview

Gerald Nicosia in Paris, September 2012. Photo by Noemie Sornet.

Click here for a recent interview with acclaimed Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia in a blues blog from Greece.

New look for The Daily Beat

I've settled on this new look for my blog - at least for now. What do you think? Please leave me a comment.

Shall we change our look?

It strikes me from looking at other blogs that The Daily Beat is looking a bit . . . outdated. I really like some of the WordPress blogs, and Paper.li has a great look. However, I am not that tech savvy and don't know if I could export my 1,000+ posts from Blogger to another blog platform. Plus I'd worry about losing the data.

So, I think I am going to experiment with one of Blogger's Dynamic templates. If you visit The Daily Beat in the next little while and it appears different or even completely screwed up, it's because I'm playing around with the template. Hopefully I won't lose my posts.

I am concerned that I won't be able to use the colorful header (above) you are used to, although there must be a way to do that. I'm pretty sure I can always revert to the old template if I'm not happy with the new one.

Here goes nothing.

Wish me luck. If I go with a new look, I'll be asking for feedback and I hope you'll give me some.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' by David S. Wills

In Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult,' David S. Wills, founder and editor of Beatdom, traces Burroughs' involvement with Scientology from his early introduction to Dianetics in the late 1950s and continuing throughout his life. Beginning with a general biography of Burroughs' early years, detailing some of the trauma that caused him the psychological scars that made him susceptible to L. Ron Hubbard's teachings, Wills exhaustively mines other Burroughs biographies and Burroughs' own writing (novels, published and unpublished letters and essays including material in the Berg Collection) to uncover in detail the significant influence Scientology had on Burroughs.

Wills' thesis is succinctly stated on p. 119:
He [Burroughs] was a deeply scarred human being with a mind full of awful memories and what he perceived to be handicaps  - his homosexuality and drug addictions. He had sought to fix his problems through therapy, yet evidently Scientology was a quicker and more effective fix. As intelligent as Burroughs was, he was nonetheless fragile, and as wary as he was of being a "mark," he was so desperate to find a cure for his pains that he would have walked into any trap set just for him. And looking back at his history of beliefs, and his long line of particular problems, no trap was as custom-made for this man as the Church of Scientology.
Wills details and makes connections between Scientology and Burroughs' interest in Hassan ibn Sabbah, the Mayans, Wilhelm Reich's orgone energy theory, and other bizarre beliefs which Burroughs loved to say were "scientific" but was hard-pressed to provide evidence supporting his claims. According to Wills, even Burroughs' Cut-up Method is tied "quite explicitly to Scientology," citing a letter from Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg (p. 64).

Burroughs comes across in Wills' book as the conflicted man he obviously was, and he waffled back-and-forth between being a true believer in Scientology (having reached the stage of Clear) and being L. Ron Hubbards' nemesis, getting into written scuffles with the latter or his supporters in published essays. From astral projection to time travel to immortality in space, Burroughs believed in all sorts of fringe science notions and other oddball theories, but through it all remained a prolific writer and an iconic figure who far outlasted his Beat Generation credentials. Also throughout most of his life he maintained that certain aspects of Scientology had great merit (e.g., the E-meter, the reactive mind, exteriorization, and silence).

Wills makes a good case for his thesis, and it's an interesting read throughout. Never having been a big Burroughs fan - I barely slogged through Junky - the fact that I read this 209-page hyper-focused treatise over the course of three days is a testament to Will's clear and engaging style as well as his presentation of interesting content. My one criticism is how Wills cites his resources, using notes as the end of the book with no references within the text, making it a bit hard for the reader to identify what resources he used for specific claims. Even a simple numbering scheme like MLA Style would help immensely.

If you're a William S. Burroughs or a Beat Generation fan, this is a must-read. Others may find something of interest here as well, as Wills obviously has a passion for the topic and it comes through in his writing.

Personally, I never knew just how bizarre Burroughs' was (or why), but now I have a new appreciation for his travails. I was also a bit clueless as to how prolific a writer Burroughs was, and I have a whole new list of books to read. As if I needed more.

Wills' book was published by Beatdom Books and is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book versions.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What's News in the Kerouac World

Just some thoughts about what's news in the Kerouac world, at least from where I'm sitting.

On the Road is enjoying a limited release around the country to mixed reviews. The more I sit with having seen the movie on the big screen, the more I think Salles did an admirable job. It will be interesting to see if it gets any Oscar nods (or was it disqualified from the next round because of premiering at Cannes?). Anyway, if you missed my review, click here.

Two more Kerouac films are slated for release this year: Big Sur, an adaptation of the book by the same name, and Kill Your Darlings, about the infamous murder of David Kammerer by Beat Generation muse Lucien Carr.

Next week Gerry Nicosia will be a visiting scholar at the University of Maine at Farmington. He'll be teaching a couple of classes and presenting Why Jack Is Back (see above). The latter is free and open to the public. A week later (May 3) he'll be at Salem State College for Memory Gardens: The Kerouac Symposium 40 Years Later (click here for information).

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac has released its dates for 2013: October 10-14. Mark your calendar and keep checking here for event details as they emerge.

The Jack Kerouac Group on Facebook continues to thrive. If you're not already a member, click here and request to join. The Jack Kerouac subreddit on reddit is growing, having 65 subscribers to date (click here). These are two good sites to visit frequently as a way to stay up on the latest Kerouac happenings (in addition to The Daily Beat). There's some repetition across the sites, but that's okay.

David S. Wills has a new book out: Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult." I'm almost finished with it and a review is forthcoming. Jack doesn't feature prominently, but he is mentioned, and anything to do with Burroughs should be of at least some interest to Kerouacians.

I've been showing What Happened to Kerouac? in my Kerouac class, and I'm enjoying it, especially the videos of Jan Kerouac and of Neal Cassady, neither of which I had seen before. I recommend it.

I got a new Kerouac tattoo a couple of weeks ago. Next up: "Dig the ride" or the yin yang symbol. Teaching The Dharma Bums in class has me thinking and reading about such things.

Between three suicides in Farmington in the last week, the Boston marathon bombing, and the West, Texas explosion, mayhem rules the news and I keep reminding myself of Jack's admonition in The Dharma Bums: "Compassion is the heart of Buddhism." Man, do we ever need to extend compassion to all sentient beings now more than ever!

That's what comes to mind for now. Dig the ride!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jack Kerouac and food

What Jack's characters ate in The Dharma Bums and On the Road is a common theme in The Beat Handbook, so I really dug this article (click here) from Good Food Stories.

Chef Boyardee and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese! No wonder I loved Jack right off the bat.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beat Hero #3?

This story (click here) appeared in the paper today and it blew my mind. Christopher Knight lived in the woods alone for 27 years, talking to another human being only once in all that time! He spent his time reading and meditating. Yes, he stole to sustain himself, but only what he needed to survive just as Kerouac and company did in their road trip years ( "You know what President Truman said," Remi would say. 'We must cut down on the cost of living.'"). Mr. Knight didn't even have heat, and I know how cold and snowy and windy it gets because his "camp" in the woods near Rome, ME, is probably less than a couple of miles from our house!

I think this guy might be Beat Hero #3.

The question is: Will I ever get a chance to interview  him?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review of Walter Salles' movie adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On the Road

Pardon the clunky title of this post, but I am being sensitive to how Google searches blog posts as well as how readers decide which Google results to read. I am going to take a different tack for this review, in part because On the Road has been reviewed extensively by the American media and there's little left to say except whether one agrees or disagrees in part or in total with a particular review. If you want to read an exhaustive treatise by acclaimed Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia, click here. Gerry also talks about the film in this recent interview with Pacific Sun.

But I digress. Here's my plan for this post. First (Part 1), I will opine about my reactions to the movie very briefly. Then (Part 2), in order to take a unique tack, I will outline the entries in my book, The Beat Handbook (available here), that make an appearance in the film.

Part 1

Overall, I would give the film a B+ (using the traditional school grading scale of A, B, C, D, F). Given that On the Road has long been deemed "unfilmable," it's a good adaptation. I think it probably works better for Kerouac fans because we can fill in the holes which inevitably are left when adapting a 300-page novel to a 2-hour screenplay. I do wonder if I'd never heard of Jack Kerouac whether I'd grade the film the same way. I doubt it.

I've opined about the casting before, but I can't ignore it. I can understand why Salles chose star-power as he did, but I think he could have done better. The worst casting was Kristen Stewart as Marylou. That's not how I see Marylou at all, but I will give KStew kudos for breaking out - a little - from her typically flat performances. Sam Riley as Kerouac? I thought he was only okay. I can't wait to see Jack Huston as Kerouac in the upcoming Kill Your Darlings - that guy can brood. I bought into Tom Sturridge as Ginsberg, and Viggo Mortenson captured Burroughs effectively enough (although he didn't get enough screen time). The women in the film were about as fleshed out as Kerouac treated them. They all did well, especially Kirsten Dunst (who I've decided is actually the same actress as Julia Stiles - I can never tell them apart) as Camille. Steve Buscemi is always excellent, although I could have done without the graphic sex scene with Hedlund. Which brings me to Garrett. After three viewings now (only one of the U.S. version), I am a fan of his portrayal of Dean. I think he could have been more kinetic (the actor who played Neal in The Beat Generation performed at the Merrimack Repertory Theater in Lowell last October was perfect in the part), and I wish the screenwriters had given him more of Dean's spontaneous dialogue with the "yasses" and "ah-hems" and "yups", etc.

So, the acting was solid but not overwhelming. Not so the cinematography. It was excellent, and I'm glad I went to see it on the big screen. Eric Gautier definitely hit a bulls-eye, and the careful location selections made me really believe I was watching America in the late 40s.

I think the U.S. version was better scripted than the Cannes version because it better emphasized the relationship between Sal and Dean as well as the search for their fathers. Note I say "their" because Sal was searching for his father figuratively alongside Dean's literal search. They did leave out some material I would have liked to have seen, such as Sal's time living with Remi in California. Can't you just picture some of the scenes with Sal as a barracks guard, as well as their lunch on the old rusty freighter? I also wanted to see the scene where Kerouac gets sidetracked near Bear Mountain, NY, at the beginning of his first trip west. And how could Salles have omitted the Ghost of the Susquehanna? I admit I'm biased, having lived and worked in the Harrisburg, PA, area, but this is a seminal scene!

What they did include was necessary - I can't think of any throwaway scenes. I was especially glad they included "pisscall," as that is - for me - the funniest scene in the book. And, of course, "the mad ones" made it in, as well as the closing of the novel ("I think of Dean Moriarty").

I think a grade of B+ is pretty damn good given the well-acknowledged difficulty of bringing On the Road to the big screen. I'd only give the Cannes version a B, so Salles did well in his editing (with extensive input from Gerry Nicosia).

Part 2

Since the 78 On the Road entries in my book aligned with specific passages in the novel, and since I chose those passages because I thought they were important, I thought it would be interesting (for me, at least, and hopefully for some of you) to see which passages made the cut. That is, where did Salles and I agree on whether to include a passage. I used bold font to indicate the included passages.

Day 23, the mad ones passage, included
Day 24, the apple pie and ice cream passage, not included
Day 25, about hitchhiking (with a truckdriver), included (maybe not this specific incident but hitching was well-represented and there was the dynamite truck scene in the movie)
Day 26, about Eddie the hitchiker, not included
Day 27, about Sal seeing his first cowboy (in Omaha), not included
Day 28, about giving Eddie his wool plaid shirt, not included
Day 29, about Sal sharing his cigarettes on the flatbed with Gene et al., included (I'm giving this to Salles because he definitely included the flatbed scene, not necessarily Sal's generosity)
Day 30, pisscall, included (and was I ever glad)
Day 31, about trying to pick up a waitress by writing on the back of the bill, not included
Day 32, about how Sal rues not saving money and dawdling, not included
Day 33, about Sal making it to Colorado and thinking, "Damn! damn! damn! I'm making it!, not included
Day 34, about using the interjection, "Wow!", not included (I could be wrong about this)
Day 35, about the party in the miner's shack, not included
Day 36, about the Central City bar, not included
Day 37, about Sal's pickup line with Rita Bettencourt, not included
Day 38, about wanting a second chance with Rita, not included
Day 39, about calling each other "Yo," not included

Are you bored yet? Think how tedious this was for me!

Day 40, about getting a job as a barracks guard, not included
Day 41, about realizing everyone in America is a natural-born thief, not included
Day 42, about lunch on the rusty old freighter with Remi and Lee Ann, not included
Day 43, about reaching the end of America with nowhere to go but back, not included
Day 44, about wearing a flimsy Army raincoat purchased for three dollars in Oakland, not included
Day 45, about the pain of seeing a girl Sal loved going the opposite direction, not included
Day 46, about Sal's pick-up line with Terry, included (although it wasn't the same line as in the book)
Day 47, about drinking with Terry and a bunch of hobos, not included
Day 48, about repeating movie lines over and over ("What'd he do up in Weed?"), not included
Day 49, about sleeping until noon, not included
Day 50, about Terry's brother, Rickey, not included
Day 51, about Ponzo, Rickey's friend, not included
Day 52, about eating Mexican food, included (sort of)
Day 53, about "manana," not included
Day 54, about bicycling to get groceries, not included
Dar 55, about climbing a tree and singing "Blue Skies," not included
Day 56, about leaving Terry ("love is a duel"), not included
Day 57, about making salami sandwiches in a Hollywood john, not included
Day 58, about reading Le Grand Meaulnes, not included (I could be wrong about this)
Day 59, about necking with a girl on the bus and trading stories for meals, not included
Day 60, about walking with the Ghost of the Susquehanna, not included (big omission!)

You're halfway there. Press on!

Day 61, about Dean driving in a snowstorm with his head out the window, included
Day 62, about Dean jabbering on the way from NYC to Virginia, not included
Day 63, about sleeping all day on New Year's Eve, not included
Day 64, about Sal talking a bakery worker into giving him bread and coffee cakes for free, not included
Day 65, about Rollo Greb and all of his books, not included
Day 66, about the one and only function of the time, move, included
Day 67, about picking up hitchhkers and asking them for gas money, included
Day 68, about stealing gasoline with the attendant asleep, included
Day 69, about Dean and Marylou playing piggyback around some gas tanks, not included
Day 70, about barhopping in the French Quarter with Old Bull, not included
Day 71, about Old Bull's speech on planned obsolescence, etc., not included
Day 72, about Old Bull loving cats, not included (there is a scene with a cat in the orgone accumulator)
Day 73, about going to the horse races with Old Bull, not included
Day 74, about Dean and Ed and Sal playing basketball with Dodie's ball, not included
Day 75, about stealing food from a grocery store while the family ate supper out back, included
Day 76, about Dean stopping the car near Ozona and running naked in the sage, not included
Day 77, about everyone falling asleep in the car in Arizona, not included
Day 78, about Sal pawning a pocketwatch for gas money, included
Day 79, about Dean driving down Tehachapi Pass without using gas, not included
Day 80, about heating a can of pork and beans on an iron, not included
Day 81, about Sal taking a long walk and scrounging tobacco from butts for his pipe, not included
Day 82, about Dean standing naked in the window looking at San Francisco, not included
Day 83, about Sal showing up at Dean's unannounced, included
Day 84, about Dean remarking how Walter's wife was a real woman, not included
Day 85, about knowing IT and knowing TIME, included (at least the IT part)
Day 86, about Dean being happiest behind the wheel, included (by implication)
Day 87, about Sal's using two different urinals without spillage, not included
Day 88, about Dean's attire (levis and T-shirt), included
Day 89, about falling asleep in the grass near a church, not included
Day 90, about using travel bureau cars, included

Ten days to go. If you got this far, you'll make it to the end!

Day 91, about picking up hitchhikers, included
Day 92, about going unshaven and barechested and hanging out with bums, included
Day 93, about making it 1180 miles to Ed Wall's ranch in seventeen hours, not included
Day 94, about the importance of parking a car in a position where it's ready to go, not included
Day 95, about seeing George Shearing, not included
Day 96, about using a movie theater for a place to rest, not included
Day 97, about Dean telling Sal to "dig the ride," not included
Day 98, about cleaning up at a bathhouse, not included
Day 99, about Dean giving the Mexican girl a wristwatch, not included
Day 100, about the "forlorn rags of growing old," included

By my count, that's 20 out of a possible 78 entries from my book that show up in the film. That's about 26%, or, in baseball terms (since we're talking about Kerouac) a .256. Most batters wouldn't mind that as a batting average, so I'm not displeased.

Now that you got this far, I thought it only appropriate to give you one more chance to buy my book on Amazon just in case this exercise made you curious. Click here for the ordering page.

In summary, I recommend you see this film, but definitely see it on the big screen since the cinematography is the film's strong suit.

Finally, the anticipation for On the Road is over. Now on to Big Sur and Kill Your Darlings.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Down Kerouac Alley

Click here for an interesting Kerouac site I never saw before.

Rick Dale talks about Jack Kerouac at the San Francisco Public Library January 10, 2013

Click here to watch a video of my presentation at the San Francisco Public Library on January 10, 2013 as part of a panel that included Gerald Nicosia, Peter Coyote, Joanna McClure, Dennis McNally, and Brad Parker.

Below are links to the other presentations.

Gerald Nicosia

Peter Coyote

Joanna McClure

Dennis McNally

Brad Parker

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pics of real-life On the Road characters in one image

From the Facebook page of  Les √©ditions derri√®re la salle de bains

Haven't verified the accuracy of all of these but most of them look right and it's a great idea.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Kerouac tattoo

Finally got that new Kerouac tat I mentioned previously (at least I think I mentioned it).

It works on a few different levels.

  • It's simple and in typewriter font.
  • It has multiple and important meanings for me (Kerouac, a reminder to combat the opposite energy).
  • Even its location is significant (other than being concealable by my watch band).
  • Once I no longer have to appear respectable (e.g., retirement), it can be incorporated into a sleeve (can't wait for Crystal to read that)

I expected it to hurt more than my others, but it hurt less.

I had it done at One of a Kind Tattoos in Farmington by a UMF psychology (hold the jokes) grad, Jeremiah.

Ouch! Vermont's Independent Voice, Seven Days, pans On the Road

Click here for a very negative review of On the Road by Seven Days, "Vermont's Independent Voice."

The movie's not nearly that bad (although I haven't yet seen the U.S. version), and the author, Rick Kisonak, ignores the fact that not all of us came to Kerouac when we were 16. Some of us, like me, became smitten in our 40s, and so I cannot agree with him when he says:
When you’re 16, Kerouac’s book may seem to concern something more cosmic, but crack those covers once you’ve got a little mileage on you, and you’ll see the harsh truth that it’s basically a diary of visits.
I again point out that no less than acclaimed poet Anne Waldman says that there's a spiritual architecture to Kerouac's work, and Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia frequently points out that On the Road is a profound spiritual quest. And certainly not just a "diary of visits."

Regarding Kerouac, Kisonak doesn't get "It."

Readers of The Daily Beat do. See the movie.

The 10 latest movie reviews of On the Road

For your convenience, below are links to the 10 latest movie reviews of On the Road (via a Google search) all in one place. Reviews are mixed. After I see the U.S. version this Saturday, I will opine.

1. Urban Tulsa Weekly

2. Film Threat

3. Woodbury-Middlebury Patch

4. Des Moines Register

5. Omaha World-Herald

6. Boston Herald

7. Boston Globe

8. Salt Lake Tribune

9. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

10. Indy Week