Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Today's date -- July 31 -- is a Kerouac "two-fer"

Elise Cowen (L) and Gore Vidal (R)

Today's date -- July 31 -- is Kerouac noteworthy for two reasons. First, it is Beat poet Elise Cowen's birthday (1933). She appeared as Barbara Lipp in Kerouac's Desolation Angels. Read about her here (a website I just discovered).

Second, on this date in 2012 writer and bon vivant Gore Vidal died. He appeared in The Subterraneans as Arial Lavalina and in Old Angel Midnight as Gore Bedavalled. Read about him here.

Friday, July 26, 2019

JAPHY license plates came today!

Our license plates for the camper came today and I put them on (as you can see). It's an homage to my favorite Kerouac book, The Dharma Bums, and, of course, the main character in the story, Japhy Ryder (real-life Gary Snyder). Of the available plates, most of the Kerouac and related permutations were already taken. We could have had ONTHERD, for On The Road, but this way gives us a name for the camper, which is apparently a "thing" in the RV world.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Happy Birthday to Chandler Brossard

On this date -- July 18 -- in 1922, American writer Chandler Brossard was born. He would have been 97 today. Brossard appeared as Chris Rivers in Jack Kerouac's and William S. Burroughs' And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. Some claim Brossard's Who Walk in Darkness (1952) was the first Beat novel. Brossard was not pleased with being associated with the early Beat writers, but given the content of Darkness it is hard to dismiss the connections. I wrote about that book here.

So Happy Birthday, Mr. Brossard, wherever you are!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Happy Birthday to Robert LaVigne

On this date -- July 15 -- in 1928, artist Robert LaVigne was born. LaVigne (I've seen it with the V capitalized and not capitalized) was Guy Levesque in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels.

A well-known story about LaVigne is that it was his portrait of Peter Orlovsky -- his model and lover -- that caused Allen Ginsberg to request an introduction to Orlovsky, beginning a life-long relationship.

LaVigne has papers archived at Columbia University. See (this resource includes a concise biographical sketch).