Gift Guide for the Beat Reader

14 Dec

The writers associated with the Beat Generation were anti-Consumerism, and I have a hard time believing they’d want anyone to buy beatnik merch. They would want you to buy and read their literature instead. However, if you have friends who love Beat literature, you may be hesitant to buy them On the Road because chances are they probably already have dog-eared paperbacks of both the standard novel and the scroll version. Here are a couple of alternative Beat-inspired gifts.

Amram

Musician and author David Amram did jazz-poetry performances with Kerouac and other poets. He also wrote the scores to films such as Splendor in the Grass and The Manchurian Candidate and has jammed with a wide variety of musicians. David Amram: The First 80 Years chronicles his genius talent. (You can watch a video of me reading with Amram here.)

logo

Another gift-worthy film is Ginsberg’s Karma, a “documentary about the legendary poet Allen Ginsberg and his mythical journey to India in the early 1960s that transformed his perspective on life and his work.” The film was edited, produced, and directed by Ram Devineni, and features poet Bob Holman. I saw this film at the PEN World Voice Literary Film Feast a few years ago and was inspired to get involved in some of their subsequent projects.

billykoumantzelis

Billy Koumantzelis was a friend of Kerouac’s back in their hometown of Lowell and served as a pallbearer at his funeral. I picked up this CD when I was at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac in 2011. It’s full of stories about Kerouac hanging out at bars, getting into fights, and appearing on The William Buckley Show and makes a great gift for someone who wants to hear stories from someone who knew Kerouac. (I got to meet Koumantzelis last week, and he is a true gentleman. I’ll be sharing stories from that soon.)

corso2

Allen Ginsberg had a portrait of poet Walt Whitman hanging in his apartment. This framed portrait of Gregory Corso is a great tribute to a poet who loved the Classics.

YouCantGoHomeAgain

Jack Kerouac was inspired by author Thomas Wolfe. Bundle up Look Homeward, Angel and You Can‘t Go Home Again for the Kerouac fan.

the-visitation

Kerouac wrote about the Grotto in Lowell, which is a beautiful and peaceful space to visit. Artist Jonathan Collins, whom I met at one of my readings, did a series based on the Grotto, which would make a lovely gift.

Larry-Closs_Beatitude_Anthony-Freda-194x300

Another person I met at a reading was Larry Closs, author of the book Beatitude.
 I stayed up late one night reading this heartbreaking-but-hopeful book of love, friendship, and the power of literature. You can read the synopsis here.

museum-sign

I haven’t finished my California road trip posts yet (so many posts, so little time!), but it will include my visit to The Beat Museum in San Francisco. I was greeted by none other than proprietor Jerry Cimino himself, whose stellar work in preserving Beat history I’ve been following for many years. He took some time out to chat with me and show me the plethora of rare and first-edition Beat books. Even if your budget isn’t big enough for a first edition, you can still get archival lit mags, which make a really cool gift.

Sea

Another place soon to be featured on my California road trip is City Lights Bookstore. In addition to rare and signed copies of books, you can also get some exclusive works here. At Sea is an “Exquisite handmade letterpress edition of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s new poem” for poet Pablo Neruda.

Of course there are tons of biographies, walking tour books, graphic novels, films, and so forth that would also make great gifts, but if you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path (heh), these might be the gifts you’re looking for.

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7 Responses to “Gift Guide for the Beat Reader”

  1. George Koumantzelis / The Aeolian Kid December 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Hi, Stephanie !! : ) … I was just with Uncle Billy today – and he was asking about you. He likes you very much. Hope to see you again some day or at the next Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! events. … Thanks again for coming to Lowell to interview him. … MERRY MOJO & A HAPPY NUNU, TOO !! – George Koumantzelis : )

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos December 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      George, I had SUCH a great time hanging out with all of you in Lowell. I hope to come back again soon!

  2. annawood December 17, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    love your blog, steph!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday Links + More Than a Thousand People Like Our Book! | Stephanie Nikolopoulos - August 16, 2013

    […] is like pulling teeth, but George actually invited me and arranged for me to interview his uncle Billy, who was Kerouac’s pallbearer. Billy and George have been tremendously gracious toward me. George […]

  2. Adventuring with Author Larry Closs to See Jonathan Collins’ Beat-inspired Paintings | Stephanie Nikolopoulos - September 17, 2013

    […] Paterson, NJ). It turned out to be quite the adventure. You may remember Larry as the author of Beatitude, a book I stayed in on a Saturday night to read because I was so captivated by the story I […]

  3. Gift Guide: 5 Unique Gifts for the Mad Ones | Stephanie Nikolopoulos - November 29, 2013

    […] You can get more ideas on my Gifts for the Mad Ones Pinterest page and from my blog post last year Gift Guide for the Beat Reader. […]

  4. Happy 84th Birthday, Gregory Corso! | Stephanie Nikolopoulos - March 26, 2014

    […] A portrait of Corso at the Parthenon […]

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