Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Well Readneck tackles On the Road

This is juvenile and insulting, but it is a thing and I found it funny so I thought I'd share.: The Well Readneck tackles On the Road.

Kerouac birthday events in Lowell, MA on March 11

This just in from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac (LCK), courtesy of Steve Edington:
The schedule for the 2017 Kerouac Birthday Celebration in Lowell has been finalized. All events take place on Saturday, March 11:
12:00 Noon: Pollard Memorial Library Tour. This Library played a pivotal role in shaping Keroua'c literary consciousness, and now houses a "Kerouac Corner". Led by Bill Walsh. The Pollard Memorial Library is at 401 Merrimack Street.

1:00 p.m. "The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished, and Newly Translated Writings". A presentation and discussion on this recently released book with Editor Dr. Todd Tietchen and Translator Jean Christophe Cloutier. Pollard Memorial Library Community Room. 
7:30 pm: "Happy Birthday Jack!" An evening of music and readings. Music by "The Neverly Brothers" (Dave Norton and Peter Lavender) and Alligator Wine. Time between sets for the sharing of favorite Kerouac passages and the reading of the Governor's Proclamation of Jack Kerouac Day in Massachusetts. A $5.00 donation requested. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Zorba's Music Hall. 439 Market Street.

Here's a link to the LCK website:

Three Neal Cassady tidbits for a Sunday morning

1. Here's an interesting piece about a "secret" son of Neal Cassady's: click here. I can't help but note that Neal Cassady is spelled wrong on the birth certificate (both names are wrong: Neil Cassidy). I'm not questioning the matter -- since it seems widely accepted -- it's just that my grammar priggishness got the better of me.

2. We missed saying Happy Birthday to Neal on Wednesday February 8. The Holy Kerouac muse would have been 91 years old.

3. The Joan Anderson letter is going up for auction again February 17: click here. Let's hope it happens and that it's a step toward it entering the public domain so we can read the whole thing!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Happy Birthday, William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs

Beat triumvirate member and subsequent counterculture icon William S. Burroughs was born this date in 1914. That means, were he still alive, he would be 103 years old today.

In honor of Bill's birthday, here's a link to a 1965 interview he did for Paris Review: In it, he says things like:
I do a lot of exercises in what I call time travel, in taking coordinates, such as what I photographed on the train, what I was thinking about at the time, what I was reading, and what I wrote; all of this to see how completely I can project myself back to that one point in time.

Happy Birthday to William S. Burroughs: time traveler.

Intriguing portrait of Neal Cassady

Neal Cassady
(c) Dushan Milic

I snagged this uncredited artwork of Neal Cassady from a friend's Facebook page and thought I'd dig into it a little bit to identify the artist. Apparently, it is Dushan Milic from Canada, who posted this image on Dribbble here:

Dushan, I really like this piece and hope you don't mind my reposting here on The Daily Beat. Have you done one of Jack Kerouac? If so, we'd love to share it with our readers. If not, we'd love you to do one and let us unveil it!

By the way, I missed posting yesterday about it being the 49th anniversary of Neal's death on February 4, 1968.

A belated RIP to our chisel-jawed Western Beat hero.

Follow-up to my October 18, 2016 post about my copy of Kerouac's The Dharma Bums

Back in October I posted about receiving a copy of The Dharma Bums as a gift from my great friend, Richard Marsh (click here). In that post I noted that it had the name Cindy Wolkin written in it and I asked her to contact me if she were the previous owner.

That same day I found a Cindy Wolkin on Facebook and sent her a message with a link to my blog post. Yesterday I got a response from Cindy, who says she recognized her signature and that she had that book when she was 15 and was a "big Kerouac fan." She apparently doesn't use Facebook messenger but happened to check it.

People complain about Facebook all the time, but it does have some utility in making connections between people all over the world.

Cindy, thanks for getting back to me and solving this little mystery, and please know that your copy of Bums is in good hands.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Bill Cannastra: Death by Defenestration?

Bill Cannastra

One never knows how or when the muse will strike. The trigger for this week's post is a connection I made between the last name of a Beat Generation figure and a new vocabulary word I just learned.

Every work day -- as long as we catch up with each other -- the maintenance person in my building and I share a new vocabulary word (new to the person offering up the word). After we reach a list of 20 new words, I build a vocabulary test (matching format) and we both take it. It's not completely fair since I am the test maker, but suffice to say that we are up to test #15 tomorrow (that's 300 words!) and he has scored 100% on the previous 14 tests, whereas I have 13 perfect scores and one score of 13/15.

Here's the list for tomorrow's test to give you an idea of the level of words we are dealing with:


If you can define even half of those words without study, you are way smarter vocabulary-wise than either of us. But we enjoy the challenge.

Part way down the list you see "defenestration," which means "the action of throwing someone or something out of a window." Two things struck me about that word. First, its definition reminded me of how Bill Cannastra died on October 12, 1950, hanging out a moving NYC subway car window as a gag and getting struck -- and pulled out of the window -- by a pillar. Some reports say he was decapitated.

Second, given that definition (which isn't quite what happened - Bill wasn't thrown out the window), it seems weirdly synchronistic that the word sounds similar to Bill's last name.

So could one sort of say that Bill Cannastra died of defenestration? Probably not, technically, but it has a certain consonant appeal to my ear.

They say Bill was the wild man of the bunch, eating glass at cocktail parties and running around the Village naked (with Kerouac, who modestly kept on his boxers) (Source: click here.). Of course, our regular readers will know that Jack married Cannastra's girlfriend, Joan Haverty, on November 17, a mere several weeks after Cannastra's death. Who knows what would have happened if Bill hadn't been killed and Jack had never married Joan? For one thing, there wouldn't be a Jan Kerouac as we knew her, and that could have had interesting ramifications for Jack's psyche as well as his comings and goings (i.e., not having to worry about Joan finding him for child support payments).

Wild Bill Cannastra, whose death by defenestration may have affected the trajectory of Jack Kerouac's life in ways we can only speculate about.

And there you have the weird Kerouacian blog post of the week, courtesy of a brain that always finds a way to make something about Jack.