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Schedule for Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2016

15 Sep

The annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac is just around the corner. This year the event will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac’s Satori in Paris.

Here is the full schedule:

Thursday, October 6

6:00 pm: Traditional Kerouac Pubs Tour. From the Old Worthen, 141 Worthen St. to Ricardo’s to Ward Eight to Cappy’s Copper Kettle. Led by Bill Walsh.

8:00 pm: Traditional LCK Kick-off: Music and Readings. Cappy’s Copper Kettle, 245 Central St. Performances by Alan Crane, George Koumantzelis, Colleen Nichols, and local readers. Joined by special guest David Amram. Always a kick! Hosted by John McDermott.

Friday, October 7

9:30 am: The Annual Jack Kerouac Poetry and Prose Competition. Held at Jack Kerouac’s alma mater. Lowell High School. Students will read their poetry and prose entries. David Amram will share his memories of collaborating with Jack Kerouac. Lowell High School Theater. LHS is located at 50 Father Morissette Boulevard. [Note: This is a Lowell High School event, and not open to the public at large.]

2:30 pm: Talking Jack. Readings and conversation. Using the Satori in Paris Anniversary motif, we’ll start off with the topic of “Jack and His Ancestral Roots” and see where it leads. Bring your favorite passage that speaks to Jack’s ongoing quest to answer the “Who am I?” question—it’s one we all have to confront at some point in our lives.
Hyper-Text Cafe. 107 Merrimack St.

4:00 pm: Festival Wine Opening Reception: “Be in Love with Your Life—every minute of it.” An exhibit by artist Barbara Gagel that explores the deep emotional impact of words from Jack Kerouac’s literary language.

Ayer Lofts. 172 Middle Street.

8:00 pm: Jack Kerouac Tribute Concert to Benefit the Proposed New Jack Kerouac Cultural Center. As of this posting plans are still in the works for a special concert to promote a proposed Jack Kerouac Cultural Center in Lowell, which the concert proceeds will go to support.
This event is being sponsored by Lowell’s Coalition for a Better Acre. The CBA will rebrand the building, currently known as the Smith Baker Center, as a performance hall and community center honoring Jack Kerouac with concerts, film festivals, speakers, plays, public debates and theater productions.
Check the LCK website for further details as they become available for ticket purchases.

Saturday, October 8

9:30 am: Commemorative at the Commemorative. “Honoring Jack’s Search for his Roots.” In keeping with the Satori in Paris anniversary observance, we’ll offer some readings from his writings that point to the importance for Jack of finding his identity and ancestral roots. Led by Steve Edington and Roger Brunelle.
French and Bridge Streets.

10:15 a.m. Bus Tour: The Jack Kerouac Tour of Lowell. This tour takes participants to as many Kerouac places that can be covered in a long itinerary, and within a limited time. Included are visits, with interpretative readings, to the author’s birthplace, the schools he attended, the churches and shrines at which he prayed, and his grave. Led by Roger Brunelle.
Leaves from the Commemorative. $10.00 donation requested. Reservations at 978-970-5000.

10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Marathon Reading of “Satori in Paris.” This is being coordinated by Sean Thibodeau, Coordinator of Community Planning for the Pollard Library. Sign up to read a passage by contacting Sean at sthibodeau@LowellLibrary.org, or just show up ready to read.

2:00 pm: Annual Parker/LCK Lecture. “Jack Kerouac: Speed Demon.” Presenter this year is Jay Atkinson. By any standard Kerouac was a remarkable athlete. He was a champion sprinter, a speedy baseball outfielder, and a gridiron phenom. In this talk, Jay sheds some light on Kerouac’s athletic prowess and its influence on his work.
A former two sport college athlete, Atkinson is the author of two novels, a story collection, and five narrative non-fiction books. He teaches writing at Boston University.
Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center. 246 Market St.

3:30 pm: Kerouac’s Library Haunts and Hooky Tour. The tour includes a visit to the Library’s recently dedicated “Kerouac Corner,” so named to honor the time Jack spent here during high school days—sometimes playing hooky in order to expand his own literary horizons. Led by Bill Walsh.
Pollard Library. 401 Merrimack Street.

4:00 pm: Open Mike at the Old Worthen. Lead off with Brian Hassett, author of “The Hitchhikers Guide to Jack Kerouac.” Bring your favorite Kerouac passage to share, or a Kerouac inspired passage of you own. Emceed by Cliff Whalen. 141 Worthen Street.

6:00 pm: Opening Reception: “Satori in Paris/Le Jazz Hot.” Artists creations based on Kerouac’s novel Satori in Paris and Le Jazz Hot, Jack’s favorite music. Coordinated by Judith Bessette. Music provided by David Amam.
The UnchARTed Gallery. 103 Market Street.

8:00 pm: Buddha and the Blues with Rev. Freakchild and Willie Loco Alexander. An exploration of transcendence through music, musical styles, musical traditions, and musical improvisation with emphasis on the crossroads between the American Blues tradition and the Bodhisvatta Path in one of Lowell’s Acre neighborhood’s Greek establishments.
Olympia’s Zorba Music Hall. 439 Market Street. A $10.00 donation at the door requested.

Sunday, October 9

10:00 am: Mystic Jack: Visions of Jack and Gerard. Walking tour begins at the Saint-Louis-de-France Church and moves along Beaulieu St. to the convent and the school, featuring a look inside Jack’s parish school and ends inside his childhood church. Tours is based on “Visions of Gerard,” the mystical story of Jack’s brother who died at nine years. He is portrayed by Jack as the universal symbol of brotherhood and kindness, with emphasis on Gerard’s tenderness and dreams in his Catechism class and Friday afternoon Confession. Led by Roger Brunelle. $10.00 donation requested.
St. Louis de France Church. 241 West 6th Street.

1:30—4:00 pm: Annual Amram Jam! Our annual event featuring David Amram performing with a cast of many readers, poets, and musicians. You can feel the spirit of Kerouac moving here. Special guest readers Jason Eisenberg and Don Ouelette. Hosted by Peter Eliopoulos.
Upstairs at the Old Worthen. 141 Worthen Street.

6:00 pm: “Ghosts of the Pawtucketville Night” Tour. An evening walk through the streets of the Pawtucketville neighborhood where Jack spent his adolescent years, as he describes them in Doctor Sax and Maggie Cassidy. Readings from his talk-writings at the cottages and tenements where Jack lived when he attended the Bartlett Junior High School and Lowell High. Tour ends at the Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc Church where Jack saw a vision of the BEATific Generation.
Begin at Cumnock Hall. University of Massachusetts at Lowell, North Campus. 1 University Avenue. Led by Roger Brunelle. $10.00 donation requested.

Monday, October 10

10:00 a.m. Kerouac’s Nashua Connection Tour—By Passenger Van. A tour of the Kerouac sites of Nashua, New Hampshire. Leave from the LNHP Visitors Center at 246 Market Street. Led by Steve Edington. (Will connect with the Loop Walk in progress—see item below—for those who wish to join it upon returning to Lowell.) A $10.00 donation requested. Reservations at 978-970-5000.

10:00 a.m. LCK Loop Walk from the Kerouac Commemorative. Walk goes from Bridge Street to the St. Louis Church in Centralville, past Kerouac homes and landmarks in Centralville and Pawtucketville, finishing at the Old Worthen Tavern. Led by Bill Walsh.

For more information, visit Lowell Celebrates Kerouac.

 

 

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Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2015 Is Underway

8 Oct

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Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! is officially underway, kicking off on Monday with a reading by Michael McClure. As if McClure alone wasn’t enough to draw a crowd, Tim Z. Hernandez, author of Manana Means Heaven, and David Amram will be there, along with lots of other special guests and a great crowd of Beat scholars and fans. You can view the whole 2015 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! line-up here.

Whether you’re attending LCK or living vicariously through others’ reports, here are a few links to get you in the spirit:::

Confessions of an Awkward Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Attendee

5 Nov

bus

I hit the road last month to attend Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!

Confession time! In most circumstances I feel like a hanger-on if I’m in the company of whomever is the man or woman of the hour. Maybe it’s related to the Imposter Syndrome Sheryl Sandberg talks about in Lean In. Who am I to talk to someone of great stature? I never want to bother anyone, make it appear that I’m trying to get something out of them, or come out as some zealous fan. So, my typical response is to just keep to myself.

The first year I attended LCK I went alone and barely talked to anyone. I had been studying Kerouac’s literature for more than a decade and was fascinated by everything around me. It felt so surreal to be in Kerouac’s stomping grounds, to see his birth home, the Grotto, the Pawtucket Falls, the mill town he’d loved and written about. Roger Brunelle gave excellent tours, and I was enthralled by every moment of it. I loved every moment of it, and even though I had no one to share it with I didn’t really mind.

This year was completely different. My friend Julie Parker let me crash at her beautiful home outside of Boston, which was brimming with books and paintings and so full of inspiration. She’s a design consultant who does package design, marketing, and brand identity, so when we weren’t at the festival we had endless conversations about publishing and self-promotion.

I got to meet Paul! Oh my gosh, I was so nervous. Paul and I have been collaborating together for almost two years, and I probably spend more time talking on the phone with him than anyone else except maybe my mom when she’s in the States (when she’s in Greece, it’s difficult with the time difference), but we’d never met in person. I guess I was worried by meeting in person, something would change. It ended up being awesome. He gave Julie and me a tour of Lowell, and since he himself grew up there, his insight and stories were really personal.

I also got to catch up with David Amram and Billy Koumantzelis. I first got to know each of them from interviewing them about their friendship with Jack Kerouac, and since then I’ve been careful not to assume they’d remember me or talk to me beyond that. I completely understand that they’d have other, more important, people to talk to. But I didn’t want to go to my default of keeping my distance for fear that would make it seem like I didn’t want to talk to them. Ugh. My head gets so mixed up sometimes! Anyway, I did end up getting to spend time with both of them, and they’re both so gracious and fascinating individuals. For all the negative things that have been said over the years about Jack Kerouac, I have to say that he sure knows how to pick friends. These guys are stand-up gentlemen. Even though I first got to know them because of their friendship with Kerouac, that doesn’t even matter to me anymore. I just like talking to them and hearing their perspectives. When I had first interviewed Billy, I was curious about who he is, and at one point he stopped me and said, “Aren’t you here to ask me about Kerouac?”

Through one of David’s concerts at Cornelia Street Café, I’d met the poet Christopher Barry. He was at LCK too and introduced me to his brother, Stephen Barry, who is also a poet. Chris is a great guy, and it was fun chatting with him and his brother. David also introduced me to Steve Dalachinsky and Yuko Otomo, who are these amazing poets from New York City. Seriously. Probably among the best I’ve ever heard read—and I’ve heard a lot of poets read over the years. I probably would’ve been too shy to ever introduce myself if it weren’t for David. Billy also introduced me to Jim Sampas. You know, the guy behind One Fast Move or I’m Gone and the new film Big Sur. I sat there kind of stunned, saying, “I’m a big fan of your work.” I gave him a postcard for Paul’s and my book, Burning Furiously Beautiful, and Jim said, “I think I’ve heard of this.” Wow. I also got to meet the documentary filmmaker (Grave Matters) Brent Mason. Super nice guy. I met Stephen D. Edington, the organizer of LCK. He’s given sermons at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, which I’ve read online and found quite interesting.  And, I got to meet Roger Brunelle and his wife, both of whom were so warm. I don’t know why I get so nervous to introduce myself and talk to people sometimes….

Another highlight, though, was meeting people from the Burning Furiously Beautiful Facebook page. I was so touched when they came up and introduced themselves. I am so thankful for the network we have on that page, and it’s been great meeting like-minded people offline.

I guess I write all this to show that even if you sometimes are predisposed toward awkwardness, shyness, and over-thinking things, good things happen when you step out of your comfort zone. A colleague of mine recently posted on Facebook about how his daughter was having trouble with good greetings, that it took her a while to warm up to even people she knew when she’d see them again. I feel a lot like that little girl sometimes. Although this is supposed to be a recap of my time at LCK, I think it’s important that I share my true story. I’ve gotten the impression sometimes that people think if you read Kerouac, you’re trying to be cool. I never really had the impression of Kerouac as the cool guy. I always thought of him as the guy shambling after his friends. I think if you really read and study Kerouac, you understand that he too battled shyness, that although he had a lot of successes he also had a lot of failures, that he was prone to both self-assurance and worry. I think that if we just be ourselves and use our gifts and if we are open to opportunities and push ourselves little by little out of our comfort zone, we will surprise ourselves by what we can do. The key though is that it’s not about being in the spotlight or about others in the spotlight; it’s about the blessings of creating art, doing what we love, and fellowshipping with others.

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

Friday Links: Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!

11 Oct

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Lowell Celebrates Kerouac (LCK) is already in full force. If you’re among the many 9-to-5ers, though–hey, we can’t all be full-time writers!–you likely won’t be getting to the festival until the weekend. Here’s a round-up of related links for those attending and for armchair travelers.

The official Lowell Celebrates Kerouac website

The festival line up

The basics you need to know when attending LCK, including public transportation

Steve Dalachinsky will be reading his poetry at LCK! Find out more about him here and check out this Huffington Post interview with him

David Amram will be performing and sharing stories at LCK!

Kerouac’s hometown friend Billy Koumantzelis has a CD out called On the Lowell Beat: My Times with Jack Kerouac

This year’s festival celebrates the 50th anniversary of perhaps my favorite of Kerouac’s books

It’s also the 25th anniversary of the thoughtful Kerouac Commemorative, designed by Ben Woitena

The abstract work of Barbara Gagel will be on display at the Ayer Lofts Gallery throughout LCK

I wrote this Church Hopping article about the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, after touring it during LCK

After all the hoopla, I think I’m going to have to visit Mill No. 5

Kerouac’s play Beat Generation premiered during LCK last year; what did you think of it?

My Burning Furiously Beautiful coauthor, Paul Maher Jr., talks about growing up in Lowell

J. Haeske, author of Retracing Jack Kerouac, visited Lowell and took photos

My Pinterest board On the Road: Lowell

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

Hot Tip: 7 Kerouac-Related Places to Visit in Lowell Not Covered by Lowell Celebrates Kerouac

10 Oct

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Lowell Celebrates Kerouac (LCK) has done another fantastic job creating an itinerary that explores the town in which Kerouac was born and where he was laid to rest. If you’re spending time in Lowell and want to explore a few places off the beaten track, though, there are still many Kerouac-related places to check out. This is by no means an inclusive list, but it’s a few options if you’re staying in Lowell longer, creating your own tour, or looking to dig deeper into Lowell’s history.

1.  Kerouac’s typewriter is on display at the Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit at the Morgan Cultural Center … unfortunately, due to the government shut down you probably won’t be able to see it right now.

2.  It seems fitting that the National Streetcar Museum is in the hometown of the author of On the Road. Visiting the museum will give you context to the transportation history that played an important role in Kerouac’s life and literature.

3.  The  Pow-Wow Oak Tree is believed to have stood for 300 years! It was a sacred meeting place for Native Americans. Given Kerouac’s Native American ties, this may be a unique stop on your tour. Unfortunately, the tree was cut down just this year, but you can still visit the place where it stood.

4.  Kerouac’s birth home, which is on the LCK tour, has yet to be made into a museum, but painter James McNeill Whistler’s birthplace has been owned by the Lowell Art Association since 1908 and is now a museum. Kerouac would have walked past it and known about this famous artist. In 1993, John Suiter showed his photographs Rumors of Kerouac here.

5.  The Sun is important to Kerouac’s legacy. Kerouac worked for the newspaper, and journalist Charles Sampas reviewed Kerouac’s work in its pages. It used to be located in Kearney Square, but more recently moved to the American Textile History Museum.

6.  Visit Monument Square, and you’ll pass by the same statues Kerouac once did.

7.  Dana’s Fruit & Confectionery has been around since 1914. We all know Kerouac had a sweet tooth, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he stopped in here. …Just don’t try to take any pictures inside!

You may also like:

My photographs of places in Lowell from Kerouac’s time that are still around today

 

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

5 of the Most Famous People and Things to Come Out of Lowell

9 Oct

200px-Whistler_SelbstporträtWhistler’s self-portrait

You already know that Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell and set many of his books there, but the Massachusetts town is also the birthplace of several other famous people and inventions. With Lowell Celebrates Kerouac going on this week, I thought it would be fun to explore 5 fun facts about Lowell:

1.  The first AOL instant message was sent by a Greek American from Lowell

2.  Remember the drink Moxie? It was invented in Lowell. You can buy it here and visit the roadside attraction the Moxie Bottle House in Union, Maine

3.  The son of a railway engineer, painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born in Lowell and there you can visit the Whistler House Museum of Art

4.  The brilliant Greek American photographer Christopher Makos is from Lowell

5.  Lowell is also the birthplace of Bette Davis

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

2013 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival Lineup Announced

13 Aug

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac recently announced the 2013 festival line up! It’s tentative at the moment, but this is what’s listed:

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival

2013: 50th Anniversary of Visions of Gerard and 25th Anniversary of Kerouac Commemmorative

“Everybody goes home in October.” –Jack Kerouac, On the Road

[Draft schedule, 26 July 2013]

Pre-Festival Events

Sunday, September 29

Jack Kerouac Road Race
Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Old Worthen House, 141 Worthen St.
For more information and race registration: jackkerouac5k.com

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! Festival

Thursday, October 10

Traditional Kerouac Pubs Tour
Time: 5:30-8:00 pm
Location: Start at Old Worthen House, 141 Worthen St.
Old Worthen to Ricardo’s Café Trattoria (110 Gorham St.) to Ward Eight (280 Central St.) to Cappy’s Copper Kettle (245 Central St.).

LCK Celebrates Amram! Traditional LCK kick-off
Time: 8:00-???? pm
Location: Cappy’s Copper Kettle, 245 Central St.
LCK kick-off music-and-readings event. Alan Crane and friends will perform with David Amram. Readers of Kerouac passages will do the interludes. Always a kick!

Friday, October 11

Annual Jack Kerouac Poetry & Prose Competition
Time: 9:30 am
Location: Lowell HS Freshman Academy theater, 40 Paige St.
“The Annual Jack Kerouac Poetry & Prose Competition” at Jack Kerouac’s alma mater, Lowell High School. Students will read their poems and prose entries. David Amram will share his memories of collaborating with Jack Kerouac while the judges deliberate. All are welcome.

A Walk in Doctor Sax’s Woods
Time: 12:30 pm
Location: Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest
“A Walk in Doctor Sax’s Woods” through the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest or at your leisure throughout the weekend. Maps will be available via the LCK facebook page, LCK website, and at merchandise tables. Contact leader Nomi at nomi1219@verizon.net or 617-775-8155 for car-pooling info and alternate times.

Talking Jack readings and discussion
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: UML Inn & Conference Center lobby, 50 Warren Court

The Divine and Perfect Ecstasy
Time: 5:00 to 8:00 pm
Location: Ayer Lofts Gallery, 172 Middle St
The Divine and Perfect Ecstasy: encaustic paintings and prints inspired by Jack Kerouac’s Visions of Gerard; artist Barbara Gagel; exhibition opening at Ayer Lofts Gallery, 172 Middle St. Exhibition will be open on weekends through November 3. Hours for the LCK weekend are 11 to 4; on other weekends, 12 to 5.

Grave Matters
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: TBD
Showing of Grave Matters film with director Brent Mason, 30-minute film explores Kerouac places in Lowell, culminating at his gravesite.

Jamming Jack
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: White Eagle Pub, 585 Market St.
listen to Jack himself read and sing in recordings with interludes by David Amram, Steve Dalchinsky, and friends.

Saturday, October 12

Commemorative at the Commemorative
Time: 9:00 am
Location: Kerouac Commemmorative, corner of French and Bridge Streets
This year will focus on “Early Memories.” Join us at the Jack Kerouac Commemorative, an internationally renowned literary landmark that is 25 years old this year. Early founders and leaders of LCK will speak about their first encounters with Jack Kerouac’s work and share their personal inspiration to create and support “Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!” over the last 25 years. We will read from Jack’s letters about his earliest memories of his hometown of Lowell, accompanied by David Amram.

Kerouac’s Lowell
Time: 10:15 am
Location: Leaves from Kerouac Commemmorative, corner of French and Bridge Streets
“Kerouac’s Lowell” birthplace-to-gravesite bus tour, visiting his homes and other important Kerouac sites, finishing at gravesite. Led by Roger Brunelle. Leaves from Commemorative. Required $10 donation. Reservations at 978-970-5000.

Welles Emporium’s Kerouac Open House
Time: 10:30 am to 12:00 noon
Location: Welles Emporium, 175 Merrimack St.
For those not on the bus tour, come by the shop to browse Kerouac and LCK merchandise while enjoying music, readings, and discussion with coffee and pastries.

Homage to “Ti Jean” at Kerouac gravesite
Time: 12:00 noon
Location: Edson Cemetery, 1375 Gorham St.
All commemorators of Kerouac are welcome to share his spirit and readings, especially from Visions of Gerard on its 50th anniversary!

Discovering Jack’s Vision
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: Ayer Lofts Gallery, 172 Middle St.
Roger Brunelle will lead a discussion of the visual interpretation of the abstract work of artist Barbara Gagel, using Jack Kerouac’s words from Visions of Gerard

Parker Lecture: Celebrating Kerouac In Film and Word
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Visitor Center Theater, 246 Market St.
Parker Lecture: Celebrating Kerouac In Film and Word with Lowell native Jim Sampas, the founder of Reimagine Studios. Among his numerous film and recording projects are several that relate to the life and work of Jack Kerouac. They include the audio CD set of Doctor Sax and the Great World Snake, and the widely acclaimed documentary One Fast Move or I’m Gone which highlights Kerouac’s experience at California’s Big Sur and the novel of the same name. Jim was also a part of the production team for the new movie Big Sur, also based on the Kerouac novel. Another current project is his tribute, Kerouac—Joy, Kicks, Darkness. His work has gained him the citation by the Los Angleles Times as “The thinking man’s producer who has a reputation for sticking out of the pack.”

Kerouac’s Library Haunts and Hooky tour
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Pollard Memorial Library, 401 Merrimack St.
Kerouac’s Library Haunts and Hooky tour, led by Bill Walsh. Meet at the Merrimack St. entrance.

Open Mike at the Old Worthen
Time: 4:00 pm
Location: Old Worthen Upstairs, 141 Worthen St.
Poets, musicians, and readers are welcome!

Merrimack and Moody Street Regulars
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Location: Starts from City Hall, 375 Merrimack St.
“Merrimack and Moody Street Regulars” walking tour led by Roger Brunelle. Visit sites that Kerouac visited and walked past almost daily along Moody and Merrimack Streets with some remnants of Little Canada.

Jack’s Roots: From Canada to Lowell
Time: 8:00 pm to ???
Location: Old Court Pub upstairs, 29-31 Central St.
Jack’s Roots: From Canada to Lowell, with Michele Choiniere, Brent Mason, Bob Martin, David Amram, and poet Steve Dalachinsky. Kerouac-influenced musicians from Canada, Lowell, and New York will perform individually and jam together in exploring his cultural roots. There will be poems and readings mixed in from Kerouac’s novels.

Sunday, October 13

Kerouac’s Nashua Connection tour
Time: 10:00 am
Location: Meet at Visitor Center, 246 Market St., Lowell
Visit the Kerouac family sites and graves in Nashua, NH, led by Steve Edington, author of “Kerouac’s Nashua Connection.” Meet at Visitor Center, 246 Market St., Lowell, to ride in van or car pool. $10 donation requested. Reservations at 978-970-5000.

Serious Amram Jam!
Time: 1:00 to 5:00 pm
Location: Lowell Beerworks, 203 Cabot St.
Featuring David Amram performing with a cast of many volunteer readers, poets, and musicians. You can feel the spirit of Kerouac moving here!

Sun Sets over Jack’s Bridge
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: University Ave. between VFW Highway and Pawtucket St.
Adieu Again to Textile Memorial Bridge, Moody Street Bridge, Watermelon Man Bridge, University Ave. Bridge; to be demolished SOON! Poems, readings, flowers, and a watermelon will be dropped from the bridge. Group walk from Amram Jam at Beerworks starting at 5.

Ghosts of the Pawtucketville Night tour
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Group leaves from Textile Memorial Bridge, University Ave.
Ghosts of the Pawtucketville Night tour, led by Roger Brunelle. Visit Kerouac sites in Pawtucketville neighborhood and possibly the mystical Grotto.

A Night of Poetry and Music
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: 119 Gallery, 119 Chelmsford St.
Featuring LCK guest poet Steve Dalachinsky with Yuko Otomo and friends.

Monday, October 14

LCK group walk from Kerouac Commemorative
Time: 10:00 am
Location: Leaves from Kerouac Commemmorative, corner of French and Bridge Streets

Mystic Jack tour
Time: 10:30 am
Location: St. Louis Church, 221 W. 6th St.
Led by Roger Brunelle. Visit the church, school, and home that were so important in his early years as described in Visions of Gerard.

Walking Jack
Time: 12:00 to 4:00 pm
Location: St. Louis Church, 221 W. 6th St.
Continuing the Kerouac Loop Walk from St. Louis School past Kerouac homes and landmarks in Centralville and Pawtucketville, finishing at Old Worthen Tavern for toasting to Jack.

Post-Festival Events

Sunday, October 20

Waking Jack: Jack Kerouac Memorial Walk & Wake
Time: 4:00 pm to ???
Location: Meet at Grotto behind Franco-American School, 357 Pawtucket St.
LCK group will walk with volunteer readings from the Grotto, music & readings to follow Upstairs at the Worthen; in memoriam of the death of Jack Kerouac on October 21, 1969.

Thank you

Merchandise sales and donations by attendees help keep these Kerouac events alive and growing! Note that Kerouac and LCK merchandise can be bought throughout the year at Welles Emporium, 175 Merrimack St. Thank you for your support!

Special thanks for a variety of assistance from Enterprise Bank, Darrell’s Music Hall of Nashua, UMass Lowell Center for Arts & Ideas, Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series, Lowell National Historical Park, and all the venues hosting LCK events.

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac is a super fun festival with lots of good people involved, and this year’s line up is impressive. Steve Dalachinsky and Yuko Otomo were at LCK the first time I attended, and they are not to be missed. I think it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of David Amram’s work as well. Also, I’ve done a write up on Roger Brunelle’s tours, and recommend them. I would love to hear Jim Sampas speak! I’ve never gotten to make it to the Nashua tour, so I think that would be worthwhile. It seems important to make it to the Watermelon Man Bridge too before it is just a recorded memory in one of Jack’s books.

Are you going to LCK this year? What are you most excited for??

You can find my previous entries on LCK here.

Lowell of Yesteryear

11 Oct

It’s so much fun to attend Lowell Celebrates Kerouac and visit this great American literary icon’s old stomping grounds, many of which still exist today.  However, much of Lowell has changed over the years.  The streets are smoothly paved.  There’s a color television in almost every home.  UMass Lowell continually expands its presence.  New restaurants serving delicious food have opened up.  Even new communities of immigrants have moved in.  Instead of rotary phones plugged into the wall, people have iphones with apps.  A new family lives in Kerouac’s birth home.  Experiencing Kerouac’s Lowell is about more than just dots on a map.  You have to step back from the tour group, close your eyes and really listen to the rush of the Merrimack River.  You have to imagine a time period when chocolate chip cookies were a novelty, Art Deco looked crazy modern, and women used menstrual cups instead of tampons.  You have to imagine the Great Depression.  You have to imagine a gallon of gas costing 10 cents.  You have to hear swing music.  The NFL draft is a new concept.  Ball-point pens are invented.  And you are just a kid soaking it all in.  Jack Kerouac was born in 1922 and was a kid growing up in Lowell in the 1930s.  Here are a few nostalgic photos of Lowell….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Beat Generation” Premieres during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac

10 Oct

 

Kerouac’s play “Beat Generation,” written the same year that On the Road was published, will also have its premiere tonight.  The event stage production is taking place during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, the week-long literary where fans from across the country make their pilgrimage to Kerouac’s hometown in Massachusetts.

As The Guardian reports, until around 2005, Kerouac’s play “The Beat Generation” sat unpublished in a New Jersey warehouse. In 2006 Da Capo Press published the play, with an introduction by A. M. Holmes.  Kerouac, who had a great interest in film, never got to see his own play put on or his novels made into a film.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) raised funds through Kickstarter to stage the play in Lowell and is presented with UMass Lowell.  It was made with “the support and collaboration of Kerouac Literary Estate representative John Sampas,” according to MRT.

The play centers around the same group of New York City friends Kerouac often wrote about, as they pass around a bottle of wine.  Perhaps even more so than his novels, which are rich in poetry, the emphasis in “Beat Generation” is on dialogue.  Kerouac had a great ear for the unique syncopation of everyday language and the lingua franca of the working class.  As Kerouac himself said:

One thing is sure: It is now a real play, an original play, a comedy but with overtones of sadness and with some pretty fine spontaneous speeches that are as good as Clifford Odets.

Odets (1906-1963) was a playwright raised in Philly and the Bronx who wrote such plays as Waiting for Lefty and Golden Boy.  Born to Russian- and Romanian-Jewish immigrant parents, Odets used ethnic language and street talk in his plays.  Arthur Miller said of Odets’ work,  ″For the very first time in America, language itself . . . marked a playwright as unique.″  Kerouac himself was the son of immigrant French-Canadian parents and made use of both ethnic language–his own joual dialect as well as Greek and Spanish–and street talk.

For information on the special events surrounding the play as well as tickets, visit MRT.

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac: The Typewriter

9 Oct

 

One evening, a student came into our writing workshop at The New School and announced he’d bought a typewriter.  We were all very impressed.

“What kind?” we asked.

“Where did you get it?”

Most of us were in our twenties or thirties and had grown up using computers.  Many of us had entire mini computers—smart phones—jammed into our pockets and purses at that very moment.  We’d attended readings in bars across Manhattan, where authors had read poetry off their iphones.

But a typewriter!  Now that sounded really literary.  The click-clack of the keys echoing in a bare-bulb room.  Allen Ginsberg’s first-thought-best-thought mantra forced upon a generation accustomed to the “backspace” button on our keyboards.  Facebook procrastination less accessible.

And the history!  Continuing the beautiful tradition of authors attached to specific models of typewriters.

This evening, the documentary The Typewriter will screen at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater (245 Market St.) as part of the Lowell Film Collaborative with Lowell Celebrates Kerouac.  Here’s a little bit about the film from its website:

Three typewriter repairmen the filmmakers have interviewed all agree that their business is better than it has been in years.

Perhaps it is a reaction to the plugged in existence of today’s 24/7 communications world. Perhaps it is mere nostalgia and kitsch. Perhaps it is an admiration for the elegance of design and the value of time-tested workmanship. And for some, like typewriter collector Steve Soboroff, it is the appeal of owning machines on which American writers like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Ray Bradbury, John Updike and Jack London typed some of their finest work. (He also owns typewriters once owned by George Bernard Shaw and John Lennon)

The film is directed by Christopher Lockett and produced by Gary Nicholson.  You can read fascinating typewriter stories here.

As for Jack Kerouac, he owned several typewriters throughout his lifetime but most famously used a 1930s Underwood typewriter.  His father was a printer, so even from a very young age, Kerouac was in a world full of language, literacy, typography, and printing presses.  Not surprisingly, he had a reputation for being a speed typist.  myTypewriter.com offers some background information on Kerouac’s—as well as other literary figures’—use of typewriters.  Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road will also include information about Kerouac’s typewriter.  Larry Closs‘ novel Beatitude also includes a plot involving Kerouac and typewriters.

Here’s a tip for those of you attending Lowell Celebrates Kerouac or if you happen to find yourself in Lowell any other time: you can see one of Kerouac’s Underwood typewriters, and other memorabilia firsthand at the Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit at the Morgan Cultural Center.  It may sound like an unlikely place to view some of Kerouac’s possessions, and it’s not really well advertised, so it’s easy to miss if you don’t know about it, but the exhibit is open 1:30-5:00pm except on major holidays.  It’s free, but even if it weren’t the entire exhibit is fascinating.  The case display for Jack Kerouac is very small, but literary pilgrims will appreciate it nevertheless, since it’s rare to have opportunities to view his personal travel gear and typewriter in person.  The exhibit is engaging in retelling the story of immigration to Lowell.  Many of the immigrants were from Greece so the exhibit gives insight into the influence of Greek culture on Lowell.