Tag Archives: David Amram

Jamming Jack

7 Nov

Friday night at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac we all headed over to the White Eagle Pub, a dive bar on Market Street.

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The evening started off with a viewing of Brent Mason’s documentary Grave Matters. The thirty-minute film got off to a riotous start when one of the people in the crowd fell or fainted off their chair! The film had to be stopped, but after it was determined she was okay, the documentary started rolling again. Whew, what excitement. Canadian musician and filmmaker Brent Mason explores Jack Kerouac’s life and legend by documenting his visit to the author’s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. Complete with interviews from people like Kerouac’s friend and eventual pallbearer Billy Koumantzelis.

Billy was there in the audience and afterwards he introduced me to Brent–who was there with his teenaged son–and Jim Sampas. Jim played some recordings of Jack reciting his work.

David Amram led Jamming Jack and was magnificent as always. I’ve seen him play a few times now, and each time feels unique.

He also invited people up to read and perform in what turned out to be an inspiring evening.

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Here Lowell’s very own actor and screenwriter Jerry Bisantz, of Image Theater, performs as Jack Kerouac.

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Christopher Barry and his youngest brother Stephen Barry each performed their poetry. Stephen (pictured above) had flown all the way from California to be at the event. I’ve met Chris a few times, and it’s always a pleasure hearing him read. It was nice meeting his brother and seeing that talent obviously runs in the family.

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Jazz-poet Steve Dalachinsky, whom I’d heard read at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac two years ago, was back to read more poetry! He is brilliant. His wife Yuko Otomo was in the audience, and I wish she’d read too.

Drummer

Throughout the performances, David was playing the piano. He also selected some wonderful young musicians to accompany them. I believe the drummer and the guy on the tambourine were local students. The guy on the box-drum came from further away and was at LCK two years ago. If anyone has their names or contact info, please do pass it along. They were phenomenal.

Toward the end of the evening, David starts talking, says something about an author who wrote a new book, and that she doesn’t know he’s going to call her stage, and then calls out my name! The last time I read with David I was so nervous I could barely eat the entire day. I didn’t have time to get nervous this time around! I read one of Kerouac’s prose-poems. So beautiful! I don’t know that I did it justice, but it was such an honor to get to read Kerouac’s own words in his hometown and with so many phenomenal musicians and writers there.

The event made me kind of sad… It was so fun and inspiring, and I wish that Kerouac would’ve gotten to see that his literature continues to be appreciated to this day by people who are willing to come from far-flung locales of Canada and California and from people in their teens to people in their 80s.

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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!

Confessions of an Awkward Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Attendee

5 Nov

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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!

Limited Time Offer: 10% Off the Paperback of Burning Furiously Beautiful

10 Oct

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Exciting news!

Pop the champagne! The paperback edition of Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now on sale.

Limited-time offer

We’re giving you an extra 10% off now through the end of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac. (Unfortunately, the books won’t arrive in time for us to sell physical copies at the festival, but at least you’ll get a discount!)

What’s the book about, you ask?

Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is the most up-to-date and accurate account of the development of American writer Jack Kerouac’s groundbreaking 1957 novel, On the Road. Using archival resources as the foundation of this book, Kerouac scholars Paul Maher Jr. and Stephanie Nikolopoulos have fashioned a gripping account of the internal and external experiences of Kerouac’s literary development.
Fueled by coffee and pea soup, Jack Kerouac speed-typed On the Road in just three weeks in April 1951. He’d been traveling America for the past ten years and now, at last, the energy of his experiences flowed through his fingertips in a mad rush, pealing forth on a makeshift scroll that he laboriously taped together. The On the Road scroll became literary legend, and now Burning Furiously Beautiful sets the record straight, uncovering the true story behind one of America’s greatest novels.
Burning Furiously Beautiful explores the real lives of the key characters of the novel—Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarty, Carlo Marx, Old Bull Hubbard, Camille, Marylou, and others. Ride along on the real-life adventures through 1940s America that inspired On the Road. By tracing the evolution of Kerouac’s literary development, this book explains how it took years—not weeks—to write the seemingly sporadic 1957 novel. Through new research and exclusive interviews, this revised and expanded edition of Jack Kerouac’s American Journey (2007) takes a closer look at the rise of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation, giving insight into Kerouac’s family roots, his time at sea, the shocking murder that landed Kerouac in jail, his romances, and his startlingly original writing style.
Who is my coauthor?

Paul Maher Jr. is the author of the critically acclaimed biography Kerouac: His Life and Work and Empty Phantoms: Interviews and Encounters with Jack Kerouac
Check out my exclusive interview with Paul here.
You can judge our book by its cover
We’ve gotten a lot of compliments on our cover. Credit goes to Igor Satanovsky. He’s an award-winning cover designer that I’ve worked with for many years now on various publishing projects. Igor also is a poet (buy his book here!) and studied with Allen Ginsberg.

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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!

Adventuring with Author Larry Closs to See Jonathan Collins’ Beat-inspired Paintings

17 Sep

JonThat’s Larry Closs on the left, Jonathan Collins in the middle, and me on the right.

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Larry Closs and I took a mini road trip to attend the opening of Jonathan Collins‘ Beat-inspired paintings at the Paterson Museum (2 Market Street, 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 couldn’t put it down. Larry also happens to be a great conversationalist with fascinating stories about the writers’ life, bumping into Beat authors, and his own world travels. I got so caught up in our conversation on the way over to Jonathan’s show that I didn’t pay enough attention to the train directions, and, well, if you want to know what happened, check out Larry’s blog.

The first time I ever saw Jonathan’s paintings, when he’d brought his portfolio down to Cornelia Street Cafe when I was reading with David Amram, they were so realistic I thought they were photographs. Seeing them in person for the first time I was even more impressed by their beauty. From Kerouac’s Moody Street Bridge to neon-lit bars, Jonathan’s watercolors evoke nostalgia. Larry put it this way on his blog:

The paintings illuminate—and celebrate—the sometimes hidden beauty and “mystical qualities” often overlooked in the ordinary, the everyday and even the dreary.

The show runs at the Paterson Museum through October 6.

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Friday Links + More Than a Thousand People Like Our Book!

16 Aug

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Paul emailed me the other day that we’d crossed the thousand-“like” threshold on our Facebook page for Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” I wrote him back: “!!!!!!!!!” …Give or take a few exclamation points.

I cannot thank all of you enough for your support. It means so much to me and for so many reasons. I’m not really a numbers person. Friends have asked me about my writing in the past, and I’ve said that all those Friday nights I spent at home in front of my computer instead of hanging out with friends and all that time I spend frustrated as I edit and rewrite will all be worth it if I reach just one person with my writing. I wasn’t speaking specifically about this book, but it holds true in the sense that if I can enlighten even one person on the fact that Jack Kerouac was a literary artist and not just some beatnik cartoon or if I can give hope to one writer out there who is struggling with yet another draft and thinks they’re rubbish because they mistakenly believe the myth that Kerouac wrote On the Road in just three weeks then I know I’ve done my job. Having a thousand people excited about the book, though, now that’s cake with a whole lot of icing on it!

I feel fortunate to have Paul as a coauthor. He’s so knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to writing about Jack Kerouac. He’s also really easygoing, and I think we’ve been able to work together well. Sometimes we get sidetracked and talk about things like woodland creatures and hot dog vendors and really bad sitcoms, and it’s all quite fun.

We also lucked out to have Igor Satanovsky as our cover designer. We get so many compliments on the cover. It’s usually the first thing people see when it comes to our book, so it was really important to us to have a strong cover and Igor nailed it.

We’ve been really privileged to have some people who have rallied around us and inspiring, encouraging, supporting, and even promoting us.

Most importantly, our families have given us time and space to write. My sister has attended almost every single reading I’ve ever given, Kerouac-related or not. My mom goes around sticking the postcards for our book anywhere she can. My father always made sure I got the best education I could get, which furthered my writing skills.

Many moons ago, before I even began working on this book, David Amram spent time talking to me about Kerouac and dispelled the whole idea of the so-called Beat Generation mythology. Since then, he’s invited me to read with him, has promoted my work in his own shows, and continually pushes me to think about life and art in new ways.

George Koumantzelis has gone out of his way to support our work. Oftentimes getting people to agree to an interview 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 often sends me helpful news links and posts my blog entries on Facebook.

The first time I ever got to read from Burning Furiously Beautiful was thanks to poet RA Araya, who invited me to read at The Sidewalk Café. He has since invited me many more times to read at various venues, and even when I haven’t read he’s passed out postcards for the book. He also frequently posts my work on Facebook.

One of the goals with our Burning Furiously Beautiful Facebook page was to create an inviting space for Kerouacians, those interested in Beat literature, road trippers, people who dig the history and culture of the ’40s and ’50s, writers, fans of the On the Road film, and the curious. We wanted a page that was informative and entertaining but also a safe place where people could ask questions and connect with each other. We don’t have a thousand people commenting on every single post, but we do have some regular posters as well as people who are actively engaged in leaving comments and forwarding posts. I’ve had the pleasure of even meeting a few of these people in person, which has been super fun. I never really had any friends that were into the Beats so it’s exciting to connect with others who are passionate about their literature.

There are so many people who have helped us get where we are today, in both small and big ways, specific to this book or in more general ways. The post would go on forever if I listed out each and every name, but the support is meaningful and doesn’t go unnoticed. It makes all the difference.

If you aren’t on our Facebook page yet, please do feel to join us. This isn’t some exclusive hipster club. People don’t try to one up each other on our page. We’re just super passionate and want to connect with others.

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Reaching over a thousand “likes” by no means happened overnight. A lot of work goes into finding interesting things to post, responding to people’s comments, commenting on other Facebook pages, and getting lost in the time suck of social media. I’ve also done my fair share of going to talks on social media and scouring the internet for the latest hot tips. So, for today’s Friday Links, I wanted to leave you with a few helpful links for growing your social media. I’m by no means a pro, but some of these people certainly are.

 

Alt SLC registration just opened up! It’s a great way to learn about blogging

Dave Charest writes How to Get Facebook Likes for Your Page (The Easy Way!)

Author Laura Vanderkam writes about how to Grow your blog readership overnight! (or slowly over 3.5 years)

Conduit offers Ten Tips for Growing Your Target Audience Using Social Media

Photos tend to get more likes than just text, and Lark and Linen provides a Tutorial: Editing Your Photos

Samantha Murphy says that using “I” gets more thumbs up in How to Get More Likes, Shares on Facebook

In case you missed them, here are some of my previous links on social media:::

The true, true story behind the Facebook fauxlore of the Kerouac-Burroughs fight

I am one in a million

My Goodreads To-read list

How many stars should a book get on Goodreads?

Playing around on Google+ I found an article about, well, me

Why I Tweet and post on Facebook

Building your book before you write it

My takeaways from Cup of Jo’s advice on blogging as a career

Social media lessons from last year’s SWSX

I heart social media

Galley Cat’s advice for writers on Pinterest … and I’m on Pinterest

What are YOUR tips for growing your social media?

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.

Clip: Jazz and the Beat Generation

11 Jul

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I’m super excited::: Roof Beam Reader invited me to participate in the Beats of Summer series!

The literary blog is named after a J. D. Salinger novella and is run by a cum laude graduate of California State University, who earned an MA in English with an emphasis on American lit. He is now an academic adviser for two universities while pursing a PhD in English.

The Beats of Summer series so far has included:

Women of the Beat Generation in 3 Easy Steps from Jackie Mania

Jack Kerouac

William S. Burroughs

a giveaway

You can read my article — Jazz and the Beat Generation — here.

David Amram Performs in NYC Twice Next Week!

2 May

Amram

In case you missed it in the comments section last week, David Amram dropped and mentioned he’ll be reading at Literary Manhattan’s 2013 Spring Symposium. David is one of my all-time heroes–exceedingly talented and generous. I never get tired of listening to him play music–and when I say “play,” it really does feel like play, like he’s having a ball going from instrument to instrument, enjoying the craft of making music. He’s also a great storyteller. He has stories about everyone: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Johnny Depp, the list goes on.

Here’s the info for the 2013 Spring Symposium:

May 5, 2013

299 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10017

12 Noon to 3:30PM

$20 suggested donation

 

He didn’t mention it, but he’ll also be playing at Cornelia Street Cafe the following evening. Here are those details:

May 6, 2013

29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY  10014

$20 (includes a drink!)

 

 

Gregory Corso’s Friends and Fans Give Him a Birthday Tribute

26 Mar

Michael Limnios is doing impressive work interviewing poets, scholars, and friends of the Beat writers over on Blues GR. For Gregory Corso’s birthday today, he’s compiled stories about the poet from those who had the pleasure of knowing him over the years and those who have read and been influenced by his work. The tribute includes memories and reflections from:

  • Ken Babbs
  • Hettie Jones
  • Harold Chapman
  • Dario Bellini
  • Andy Clausen
  • Eddie Woods
  • Nanos Valaoritis
  • Paul Fericano
  • Francis Kuiper
  • Helen Weaver
  • Elsa Dorfman
  • Marc Olmsted
  • Hank Harrison
  • Elliot Rudie
  • Levi Asher
  • Frank Beacham
  • Neeli Cherkovski,
  • Gordon Ball
  • Catfish McDaris
  • Tisa Walden
  • David Amram
  • Yannis Livadis
  • George Nicholas Koumantzelis
  • Gerald Nicosia
  • Robert Yarra
  • Ruth Weiss
  • Joe Ambrose
  • Cyclop Lester
  • John Sinclair
  • Michael Minzer
  • A. D. Winans
  • Kurt Lipschutz
  • Mark Sargent
  • Harvey Kubernik

Review: Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder

14 Mar

ferlinghetti_splash

I caught the documentary Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder (2009) at Anthology Film Archives this past weekend. Lawrence Ferlinghetti is one of my favorite poets, for his use of language and whimsy. I’ve long appreciate his commitment to freedom of speech, and this documentary made me more aware of how he used his position as a poet and bookseller for activist purposes. Quirky fact: he uses the windows of his office at City Lights as a “blog,” writing his political thoughts for all who pass by to see.

Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder is star-studded, including informative interviews and clips with everyone from Amiri Baraka, David Amram, Jack Hirschman, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, and George Whitman to Giada Diano, Bill Morgan, Dave Eggers, and Lorenzo Ferlinghetti. It impresses upon the viewer just how important Ferlinghetti is by indicating his support of Bob Dylan, his place in American poetry, awards given to him, and the naming of a street after him.

The biographical background information is fascinating, particularly when we hear about Ferlinghetti’s rearing in France, how his mother’s ineptitude at caring for him led to his being raised by the daughter of the founder of Sarah Lawrence College, and his service in World War II (spoiler alert: he saw Nagasaki right after the bomb dropped). There’s even a scene in which Ferlinghetti searches for his roots in Italy, where he was arrested for trespassing when he tried to get a sneak peek at where his father grew up! This of course is all balanced with his founding of City Lights, the Howl trial, and the Human Be-In.

All of it is wonderful, but its broad scope and pacing left the film falling flat in terms of its aesthetics. As a biographer, I understand how director/producer Christopher Felver must have struggled with the editing process. How could he cut anything out when it’s all so important? No one wants to see significant and appealing research fall on the cutting room floor. As a viewer, though, I would have preferred a more limited scope or narrative approach. It would have been a stronger film if Felver, who worked on the documentary for ten years, ruthlessly edited his work to give it a story arc. This film is best suited for those interested in learning more about the free speech movement, poetry in America, the Beat Generation (though Ferlinghetti adamantly declares in one scene “Don’t call me a Beat! I never was a Beat!”), San Francisco, and the 1950s and ‘60s. I’d recommend Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder for high-school English classes as well as for writers in general, as it motivates one to consider poetry as subversive action.