Report From Lowell '96

by Phil Chaput

Ron and all you Kerouac fans. Ed Sanders was the highlite of the weekend. He opened with "Hymn to the Rebel Cafe" as you all know a lament to the demise of the Various bistros, hang around joints and "scrounge lounges" that have drawn beats and others for ages. Sanders warned also of the tags put on various generations (we on the list have flogged this dead horse to the bone) with his song "Lost Lost Lost". He also did "Hymn to Leonardo" and a really funny poem that conjured up a world where poets read weekly to people who applaud until their hands bleed and people collapse in heaps. He did a Kerouac reading about the death of Charlie Parker from "Mexico City Blues". He also did a really sweet poem about Janis Joplin cause it's around the 26th anniversary of her death by OD. This poem warned us of the evils of heroin. He got a standing and rather loud ovation and came back and played more song for the screaming fans. All in all he was without a doubt AWESOME . The opening act was Rob Buck of 10,000 Maniacs fame with his new band "Hitchhiker" this band has a Moroccan named Bashir Attar playing joujouka and flute and string instrument.Tony White played Sax and the greatest vocalist named Daniel Chauvin from New Orleans. This combination produced some great moments and the whole scene captured Kerouac's spontaneity perfectly. I personally had a ball had a spot of tea with Ed Sanders and also got to drive the band around and I turned them all on to Lowell's famous beans. The beans were the highlight of their trip.

Kerouac's Athlete and Scholar symposium turned out great with Brian Foye as moderator and famed sports writer Glen Stout reading on his extensive research into Kerouac's athletic career and after a boyhood friend of Jack's (Duke Ghunguis) spoke up and talked for about a half hour about Jack and sports and about Jacks reasons for not being to thrilled with authority. Also we did a thing called "Jack Kerouac's Greek connection" at a local greek restaurant called the "Athenian Corner" There we had readings by Tony Sampas,Larry Caradini and Roger Brunelle with Meg Smith as hostess she also transformed into a voluptuous and supple Grecian belly dancer to which we were allowed the pleasure of placing one to ten dollar bills in strategic locations on her body all to benefit "Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!"

We had our usual tours with Roger Brunelle giving his narrated Kerouac/Lowell tour and the bus was full on that one. He is a great speaker and a funny guy so everyone has a ball and it ends at the Edson Cemetery grave site where we all say a few words.

Terrell Hunter was this years literary prize winner and Oh what a choice. Picked from 400 entries his poetry was just delightful. Here's one of his haiku's:

Shooting star shooting
star- just god
spitting out broken teeth

there were many other great events and food and drink and a good time was had by all. Hope to see you all next year. It will be bigger and better I know Jack told me.

P.S. we could use everyone as a member of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac. This is an all volunteer non-profit group solely to promote Kerouac.

-- Phil Chaput (Philzi@TIAC.NET)