Tag Archives: Roger Brunelle

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.

 

 

Bernadette Sees Visions

11 Feb

Bernadette_soubirous_2_publicdomainimage via Wikipedia

While out collecting firewood near a French grotto near Massabielle, on February 11, 1858, a fourteen-year-old miller’s daughter by the name of Bernadette Soubirous had a vision of the Immaculate Conception. Some people believed her; others did not. Bishop Laurence questioned her and believed, and today Bernadette is recognized as a saint. The message she had heard from the Immaculate Conception was to build a chapel in the grotto. Today there are many chapels in Lourdes.

There is also a grotto devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes in Lowell, Massachusetts. Jack Kerouac wrote about it, and Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Bob Dylan have visited it when stopping by the Beat novelist’s hometown.

I had the good fortune of visiting Lowell’s Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes with eminent Beat scholar Roger Brunelle, who shared some of his own stories. I wrote about it in my Church Hopping column for Burnside Writers Collective. Two years later I visited again, this time with my Kerouac biography coauthor Paul Maher Jr.

 

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.

* * *

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.

Jack Kerouac’s Birthday Celebrations Happening Across the Country

7 Mar

Jack Kerouac’s birthday is coming up on the 12th, and there are a couple of celebratory events happening.

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac has several days of fantastic events centered around what might be my favorite (it’s hard to choose just one!) Kerouac book, Visions of Gerard. They will also be honoring David Amram, who has been a great mentor in my life and work:

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! will be spotlighting Jack Kerouac’s deeply spiritual and Lowell-based book, Visions of Gerard, throughout this 50th anniversary year of its publication, starting with the birthday events of March 2013. March will feature music by celebrated world musician David Amram, musical collaborator and friend of Kerouac, an art exhibition, educational programs, walking tours, poetry, readings, and other cultural events that celebrate the life and writings of Jack Kerouac.

Friday 8 March 2013

Kerouac: People, Places, and Things
Time: 6:00 to 10:00pm
Location: Lowell Telecommunications Center Gallery, 246 Market St.
Kerouac-influenced art exhibition opening reception

The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow
Time: 6:30 to 7:45pm
Location: Lowell Telecommunications Center Gallery, 246 Market St.
A film by Steven Cerio with the director to present, plus a reading from Big Sur played against the director’s newest short

Music for Jack
Time: 8:00 to 9:30pm
Location: Lowell Telecommunications Center Gallery, 246 Market St.
David Amram and friends. A $10 donation is requested.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Amram and Marion
Time: 10:30am to 12:00pm
Location: Welles Emporium, 175 Merrimack St.
Help Lowell Celebrates Kerouac celebrate its new merchandise home at the Welles Emporium. Musician-author David Amram and poet Paul Marion help Lowell Celebrates Kerouac celebrate its new merchandise home at the Welles Emporium. David and Paul will do readings from their books and poetry as well as Kerouac passages with musical interludes by David. They will sign books and CDs.

Jack and Woody: Two American Originals
Time: 1:00pm
Location: Pollard Memorial Library, 401 Merrimack St.
Woody Guthrie and Jack Kerouac life parallels, talk by author Steve Edington.

Mystic Jack Tour
Time: 3:30 to 5:00pm
Location: Meet at St. Louis Church, 221 West Sixth St.
Led by master Kerouac interpreter Roger Brunelle, specially presented this year in honor of 50th anniversary of publication of Visions of Gerard. A $10 donation is requested.

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Celebrates Amram!
Time: 8:00pm to ?
Location: White Eagle Cafe, 585 Market St.
Musical event with David Amram, the Part-Time Buddhas, and guest musicians. A $10 donation is requested.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Walking Jack Loop Walk
Time: 12:00 to 5:00pm
Location: Meet at Jack Kerouac Commemorative at Jack Kerouac Park, intersection of French and Bridge Streets
End at Old Worthen Tavern at 5:00 for toasting the birth of Jack Kerouac in March of 1922

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Kerouac Birthday Walk
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Starts at Centralville Social Club, 364 W. 6th St.
On Jack Kerouac’s 91st birthday, walk with LCK group to Lupine Road birth house for readings. The walk will start and end at Centralville Social Club (364 W. 6th St.) parking lot by the prominent Ace Hardware sign on Lakeview Ave., Centralville neighborhood.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Reading of Visions of Gerard
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Pollard Memorial Library, 401 Merrimack St.
Tour of “Jack’s Library” followed by selected readings and discussion of Visions of Gerard on the 50th anniversary of its publication. This is Kerouac’s possibly most spiritual book as he remembers his childhood years and the deep impacts of his brother Gerard’s death. Sponsored by UMassLowell and Pollard Memorial Library. Funded in part by the Massachusetts Council on the Humanities.

Thanks to Welles Emporium, the Pollard Memorial Library, the White Eagle Pub, the Old Worthen Tavern, Lowell Telecommunications, and the St. Louis de France School for hosting our events.

I also learned via LCK that the Northport Historical Society is hosting a birthday celebration for Kerouac:

Writer/Playwright, Pat Fenton will be reading from his play “Jack’s Last Call, Say Goodbye to Kerouac”, as part of the March is Kerouac Month at the Northport Historical Society. Mr. Fenton will also discuss Kerouac’s Northport years as well as his importance to American literature.

It’s the end of summer in 1964. A major cultural shift is starting to happen in the U.S., and on his last night in Northport, Long Island the America Jack Kerouac saw through a rear view mirror riding along side his “On the Road” partner Neal Cassady is slowly playing again in his mind.

Long after a small going away party that he has thrown for himself is over; Jack keeps on drinking as he prepares to move to Florida with his mother. He reflects back on his fame, his youth as a football star in Lowell, Massachusetts, and the worry that his time has come and gone. As he sums up parts of his life to the audience in a bittersweet narrative, he receives a series of soul-searching phone calls from his daughter Jan.

An obligatory stop at Gunther’s Bar down the block on Main Street, where Jack Kerouac spent much of his Northport Years, will be made by the writer, and the conversation will continue over pints of tap beer.

The birthday celebration will take place on Sunday, March 10th at 3 P.M., at the Northport Historical Society, 215 Main Street, Northport, Long Island.

The Laughing Goat, a coffeehouse and performance space in Colorado, is hosting a poetry reading on March 11:

”So, You’re a Poet,” presents Jack Kerouac’s 91st Birthday Reading & On the Road film screening: The ”So, You’re a Poet” reading series by Boulder’s ”beat book shop” has several Kerouac events on its poetry calendar. Poets who have performed in this venerable, decades-old series include the late Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer (who will be in Boulder this summer for the Summer Writing Program), Diane di Prima, Janine Pommy Vega, Anselm Hollo, and many more. The series has always been hosted by poet and Kerouac School alumnus Tom Peters, owner of the Pearl Street landmark ”beat book shop.” The series was hosted for many years by the famous Penny Lane Cafe. In the introduction to Poems from Penny Lane Anne Waldman writes ”One thinks of the legendary Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich where the Dadaist movement was born, or the cafes and bars in San Francisco which spawned the Beat Literary Movement, also the cafe Metro and the Nuyorican Cafe, both in New York City’s East Village.” The series currently takes place in the new Laughing Goat Coffeehouse, which has strong ties to the original Penny Lane. Amiri Baraka, Miguel Algarin, Lewis MacAdams, and other poets read there during last year’s Summer Writing Program. The Laughing Goat is surely a Boulder literary institution in the making.

Are there any other Kerouac birthday celebrations we should know about?

How will you be celebrating? If you can’t make it to one of the events, maybe you could write a poem or read a passage from one of Kerouac’s books or stop by the Beat Museum in San Francisco.

 

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2012: The Basics

5 Oct

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac kicks off next week, and this year the literary festival features a full week-long schedule of fantastic events with an incredible lineup of authors and poets, musicians, and filmmakers.  Perhaps most exciting of all, Jack Kerouac’s play “Beat Generation,” written the same year that On the Road was published, will also have its premiere during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac.

Roger Brunelle will also be leading his guided tours of Kerouac’s old haunts, which in the past have been my favorite part of LCK.  Brunelle has firsthand experience of Lowell and injects his tours not only with fascinating historical knowledge but also personal stories and warmth from his own life.

Visiting Lowell and seeing the Merrimack River and walking the bridges gives readers of Kerouac better insight into the landscape he describes in his Lowell novels and his upbringing in this Massachusetts mill town.  For the first-time visitor, LCK is an opportunity to encounter Kerouac’s hometown.  Many people return year after year to the festival, though, because LCK is also about community.  You meet people who grew up around the same time as Kerouac, and you meet fresh-faced pilgrims eager for experience. You meet people who have read every single one of Kerouac’s books, and you meet people who are new to Beat literature and simply curious.  You meet people who come every year to LCK, and you meet people who just happened to stumble upon it.

Here are a couple tips if you decide to go to Lowell Celebrates Kerouac:

How to get to Lowell by public transportation — There is a Greyhound bus that goes to Lowell, however service is not frequent.  The easier option is to take the commuter rail from Boston to Lowell.  You can take the train from Boston’s North Station.  It runs about once an hour during the weekday and is only about an hour long.

Wear your walking shoes —  If you’re on any of the tours you’ll be doing a bit of walking.  Lowell is a very walkable city, so if the tour or event is meeting anywhere in Lowell you can probably walk there without much difficulty from the center of the city.  It’s usually easier to walk than to catch a cab.  Unlike in major cities, taxis aren’t easily flagged down in Lowell; if you want a taxi, you should call for one in advance.  There are a few sections of Lowell that get a little eerily quiet at night, so after dark it is best to not walk alone, which is commonsense for any city.

Take time out to eat — There will be so much to see and do at LCK that you may forget to actually eat!  Many of the locales you’ll visit during the pub crawl offer food, and there usually is time on the tour to get a bite to eat at the pub, but chances are you’ll be so absorbed in conversation you will neglect eating.  That or maybe pub food just isn’t your thing.  An inexpensive, quick, light, and conveniently located alternative is Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus, which offers delicious bagel sandwiches and other fare.  It’s a particularly good choice if you’re traveling solo since there’s often live acoustic music, so you can just sit back and read one of the free magazines and listen to some great music without the awkwardness of being in a sit-down restaurant by yourself or being in a takeout joint.  They also have great vegetarian options.

Skip an event or two — You’ll want to attend most events, but you don’t have to attend every single event at LCK.  Lowell has a rich history outside of Jack Kerouac, and discovering the city itself can help you understand the environment in which Kerouac grew up.  Visiting Boott Cotton Mills Museum, for instance, can lead to a great understanding of immigration in Lowell and Kerouac’s desire not to be a “mill rat.”  Meanwhile, the Whistler Museum is a great place to discover another one of Lowell’s great artists.

Here’s the complete schedule from LCK.