Intellectual Curiosities and Provocations

Beat News

Beat News: March 12 1995

by Levi Asher on Sunday, March 12, 1995 12:39 pm

After months of procrastination, Malcolm Humes has *finally* made his William S. Burroughs Web site public. This is the site I've been telling you about in my Burroughs page for months. Malcolm is an experienced Web artist (he also created the Brian Eno site) and always does good work. Here's InterNetWebZone.

Beat News: March 6 1995

by Levi Asher on Monday, March 6, 1995 12:36 pm

1. Two new Kerouac books will soon be available. The Portable Jack Kerouac Reader is edited by Ann Charters, who did an excellent job with the Portable Beat Reader, and also wrote the first major Kerouac biography back in 1973. A new book of Kerouac's letters is also coming out, and from what I've heard there's amazing new stuff in there. More soon on this.

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.

Beat News: February 27 1995

by Levi Asher on Monday, February 27, 1995 02:13 pm

1. Guess what ... Literary Kicks got a mention in the new Bob Dylan CD-ROM. COOL !!!. The CD-ROM, which is called Highway 61 Interactive, has a sort of Myst-like feel, and shows much awareness of Dylan's Beat connections (see here). A section called DYLAN@INTERNET lists several Dylan-related Web sites as well as mine. You have to click on the picture of the telephone to see this section. I spent about six hours clicking around on this CD-ROM before I discovered that my name was in it.

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 -- 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.

Beat News: January 28 1995

by Levi Asher on Sunday, January 29, 1995 01:11 am

1. According to New York Magazine, there will be an open casting call for the main parts in the Coppola film of 'On The Road' on February 4 at the St. Paul the Apostle Auditorium near Columbus Circle in NY. Will I be there? HELL YEAH!!! Not looking to get a part; I'll just go to hang around and soak in the scene.

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).

Beat News: January 14 1995

by Levi Asher on Sunday, January 15, 1995 01:05 am

Lotsa news to catch up on:

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 ( has put an interesting and well-researched paper on the history of Beat publishing up on the Web. You can reach it here.

Beat News: December 26 1994

by Levi Asher on Tuesday, December 27, 1994 12:09 am

Ben Gallitz ( has sent me info about a new Ginsberg film biography, "The Life And Times of Allen Ginsberg." The director is Jerry Aronson, and I'm not clear on whether this is a straight-to-video release or not. A review in the Washington Post criticized the film as too tame. I'll let you know more after I either see it or hear from someone who has.

Beat News: December 1 1994

by Levi Asher on Friday, December 2, 1994 12:06 am

1. A reliable source just whispered (can you whisper via e-mail?) the name Johnny Depp to me, referring to the casting of the still-mysterious Coppola film of "On The Road" (see below.) I don't know which part Depp is being considered for, Sal Paradise or Dean Moriarty, but I think he'd be a good Sal. He had a sort-of lonely/lost quality in 'Edward Scissorhands' that I think would fit well with the part. I hope they don't do anything dumb like cast him as Dean.

2. Check out Christian Crumlish's new Web hyperfiction (or something) project, Enterzone. You know, I keep reading in the newspapers about sites like and, 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

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.

Beat News: November 14 2004

by Levi Asher on Friday, November 11, 1994 11:57 pm

Ginsberg's in the news a lot lately. His new CD boxed-set 'Holy Soul Jelly Roll' was released, and it's an excellent package. It includes a historic 'Howl' recorded in Berkeley in 1956, a full 'Kaddish,' and many other great poems. Most of his best recent songs are also included here, along with some previously unreleased stuff featuring Bob Dylan, plus a smokin' live cut with The Clash. Ginsberg's voice has a weird charm to it, and you can actually listen to him for pleasure if you're in a certain mood -- though there are also some pieces here that would workgreat if you want to end a party early.

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.

Beat News: October 20 1994

by Levi Asher on Thursday, October 20, 1994 11:48 pm

Just heard (from a regular) that Francis Ford Coppola is going to be directing a film of 'On The Road'. Wow. I happen to love some of Coppola's movies, especially the first two 'Godfather' movies, so I'm not upset about this. Well, I'm a little upset, but that's only because I've always dreamed of directing this film myself. I don't know anything about directing, so granted this is a longshot. But I'd stick real close to the book and make a great film.

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.
What are your ideas? Let me know and I'll put any good ones up here.


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