The Portable Kerouac Reader publication is being kicked off with a series of readings by Ginsberg, Charters and others. The New York reading will also feature Ed Sanders, Maggie Estep, David Amram, Richard Hell, Dave Van Ronk and others, and will be held at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery on March 15. I'll probably go -- if you're there and you recognize me from my photos, say hello. There'll also be a reading in Lowell; I'm not sure if there'll be others beyond that. Check your local alternative paper, if you have one.
2. The 2nd episode of Enterzone is out, and once again I'm really impressed with the quality of the work there. Enterzone is a hyperfiction multimedia arts project (I think), and this episode also pays special attention to the Beat phenomenon. There's a a short story of mine in there too (but I'm not just saying I like Enterzone because I'm in it; I'm in it because I like it).
3. Nate Thompson has created a new Kerouac page here.
2. Some interesting new material on Jack Kerouac has been surfacing lately. Newsday (a Long Island/New York newspaper) published an article about Kerouac's last night in Northport, Long Island before he moved to St. Petersburg, Florida (where he died). It turns out Kerouac's local friends had a minor beer-bash/going-away party for Jack, and taped the whole thing. No real revelations; the tape mostly confirms other descriptions of Jack's declining years. He babbles about the past, yells for people to bring him beer, and ballet-dances around the room to the tune of "The Wabash Cannonball." (Note: if you want to see the article, it has been posted to rec.music.gdead -- catch it before it disappears. I have the text but am afraid to link it here. Newsday probably has great lawyers).
I also ran into an issue of The Missouri Review (Volume XVII, Number 3) with Kerouac on the cover and a bunch of previously unpublished letters from Jack to Ed White (a friend of Jack's from Columbia, who turned up as Ed Gray in 'On The Road'.)
3. To those of you who have sent me material that hasn't shown up yet -- I haven't forgotten, I'm just very busy. I'm working on a new Web site, a fiction/art project, which I'll be announcing here soon. After I finish this other site I'll start devoting all my attention to LitKicks again, and growing it much faster.
Also, I wish I had more time to shape up my bibliographies and expand into other areas. If anybody out there would like to become a part of this project and take over an area of specialty, I'd like to hear from you. It'd be nice, for instance, if I had an official Kerouac Bibliographer, a Burroughs Film Indexer, a Ginsberg Activities Chronicler, a Kesey expert, etc. Send me mail if you're interested!
4. Lots of news on the upcoming 'On The Road' film. I went to a casting call -- read about it here.
I seem to be contradicting my own rumors about this film constantly on this page. I think I'll just create a new "Road Film Rumors page" soon and put all my misinformation there. The latest rumor, from the same New York magazine article: the film may not happen at all, but if it does it will be Coppola directing, not Gus Van Sant (good!). The screenplay is by Coppola and Michael Herr, who wrote the acclaimed Vietnam novel 'Dispatches' and also worked on Coppola's film 'Apocalypse Now.'
2. Here's a brief, interesting poetry page. There's a cool Jack Kerouac quote in it (you see how easy it is it to earn a link from me).
1. More rumors about the Coppola film of 'On The Road.' First of all, supposedly Coppola will only be producing, and Gus Van Sant may be directing. I'm not crazy about this idea: Van Sant's film 'Drugstore Cowboy' was pretty good, but I wouldn't call it great, and he's also the director who screwed up the film version of 'Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.' Van Sant has a relationship with William S. Burroughs, but I don't consider that any kind of indication that he can inhabit a Kerouac state of mind. Kerouac has a sad, sentimental side ... I'd rather see Coppola direct this film himself.
And what's this shit about Bruce Willis playing one of the leads? God, I hope this is just a bad rumor. More on the casting of this below ...
2. The British playwright John Osborne has died. He was one of England's 'Angry Young Men' in the fifties, and became famous for his first play, 'Look Back In Anger,' around the same time that Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road' was published in America. The Angry Young Men were Britain's version of the Beat Generation. They represented the same sort of challenge to the literary complacency of their time, and like the Beats generated a tremendous amount of excitement and controversy. Osborne is not very well known in America these days, but he's written many well known plays and film scripts, including 'Luther,' 'The Entertainer' (starring Laurence Olivier) and an adaptation of 'Tom Jones.' I'm hoping to write more on the Angry Young Men (and the French equivalents, the Existentialists of the 40's and '50's) when I get some time.
3. William S. Burroughs' new book, 'My Education,' has been published. The New York Times gave it a decent review, though it said the lack of a plot makes it more suited for skimming than reading. A Burroughs article also appears in the newest issue of Grand Street. Will somebody please create a Burroughs Web site so I can stop trying to keep up with the activities of this prolific octogenarian? I'm trying, but my main focus here is on Kerouac and Ginsberg and the whole Beat Vision, and I think Burroughs' vision is a separate thing (though he hung out with the Beats and shared many of their insights) and deserves a Web site of it's own.
4. There are two new Beat resources on the Net: alt.books.beatgeneration has been created (the reason 'beatgeneration' is not hyphenated, in case you're wondering, is that there is a fourteen-character limit on Usenet names.) Also, Michael Hayward (Michael_Hayward@sfu.ca) has put an interesting and well-researched paper on the history of Beat publishing up on the Web. You can reach it here.
2. Check out Christian Crumlish's new Web hyperfiction (or something) project, Enterzone. You know, I keep reading in the newspapers about sites like www.coca-cola.com and www.ibm.com, and these articles ignore the fact that the Web is a vehicle for innovative creative expression. I think Xian's new project is helping to advance the creative Web to a new level. You can find it at http://enterzone.berkeley.edu/Enterzone.html.
3. DHARMA beat, the publication of the Jack Kerouac subterranean Information Society, is accepting contributions for the February '95 issue. The editor of The Kerouac Connection has also sent me his guidelines for contributors. Click here for the details.
There was also a ridiculous editorial in the New York Times criticizing Ginsberg for selling his personal archives to Stanford University for something like 1.2 million dollars. In an age when individuals are made to feel puny next to the money-fed corporations that tower over us, I feel personally thrilled whenever a person in the arts gets to cash in a little bit. I only hope Allen Ginsberg enjoys the money as much as possible. And really, I'd think the Times would have better things to do than take random pot-shots at unsuspecting poets.
I hate it when a good book gets turned into a stupid film. But Coppola was the one who filmed 'The Outsiders,' my favorite novel from ages 10 through 14 (along with 'Flowers For Algernon'-- remember that one?) and he didn't screw that one up too bad. The book was still better, but the film didn't totally suck.
Here's who I think Coppola should cast:
- Sal Paradise (Kerouac): Rob Lowe (I happen to think Rob Lowe's an underrated actor).
- Dean Moriarty (Cassady): Woody Harrelson (a little too old, but there's a physical resemblance to Cassady).
- Marylou: I dunno, maybe that girl in the Aerosmith videos. Has to be somebody who looks kinda dumb.
- Ed Dunkel: Nicholas Cage.
- Old Bull Lee (Burroughs): I dunno, maybe Hunter S. Thompson would do a cameo. Wouldn't that be cool?
- Carlo Marx (Ginsberg): There's a guy in 'Kids in the Hall' who kinda looks like Ginsberg.
- Camille (Carolyn Cassady): Bridget Fonda.
- Terry (the Mexican Girl): Maybe Sofia Coppola? I liked her in Godfather Part III.