October 30, 2013 |
Earlier this week, I saw Michael Polish's film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1962 novel “Big Sur,” which opens Friday. The book is one of my favorites: dark, brooding, the flip side of the Beat road legend, a story of isolation and spiritual despair. In it, we confront Kerouac's alter ego, Jack Duluoz, as he tries to reconnect with himself at a quiet cabin in Bixby Canyon. But he is already too far gone in his dissolution (Kerouac died in 1969, at age 47, of an esophageal hemorrhage, what his biographer Gerald Nicosia described as a “classic drunkard's death”)
October 16, 2013 |
The superhero origin story has become popular in the last few years, so it makes sense the form might also spread to stories outside the comic-book genre - like Beat generation writers. The new film "Kill Your Darlings" tells the tale of how before they were Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs, they were just Allen, Jack and William, young men settling into the paths that would lead them to the literary landmarks of "Howl," "On the Road" and "Naked Lunch," respectively. The drama - starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan and Michael C. Hall - focuses on 1943 and 1944, when the three were brought together by Lucien Carr, who surrounded himself with artists, creativity and culture and has been described as both "muse" and "midwife" to the Beats.
September 27, 2013 |
Jack Kerouac's encounter with a "Mexican girl" he calls Teresa, or Terry, takes up about 20 pages of his classic 1957 novel "On the Road. " He's at a bus station in Bakersfield when he first catches a glimpse of Terry, "the cutest little Mexican girl in slacks," with hair that was "long and lustrous black" and eyes that were "great big blue things with timidities inside. " Kerouac ends up spending two weeks with her. The point of the young writer's life is to keep moving, and when Kerouac takes one last look at Terry as he leaves California on his way back to New York, he knows he'll never see her again.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2013 |
If proof was needed that opposites attract, the loves of Carolyn Cassady's life would more than make the case. The daughter of a biochemistry professor and an English teacher with strict, Victorian values, she grew up in the 1940s envisioning a traditional marriage with children and a steady husband to keep them in comfort. What she chose, however, was marriage to Neal Cassady, the fast-talking, hard-living, womanizing wanderer who would be immortalized as Dean Moriarty in "On the Road," Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel that celebrated nonconformity in a rigidly conformist era with its depictions of sexual freedom, drugs and other revelry on the open road.
September 20, 2013 |
Beats are all over the movies lately -- there was "On the Road" late last year, October will bring "Kill Your Darlings," and then comes "Big Sur," which is set to open in November. The official "Big Sur" trailer is above. The movie is based on "Big Sur," the 1962 novel by Jack Kerouac. In it, Kerouac's alter ego, Jack Duluoz, retreats to a rustic cabin on the coast of Northern California in an effort to get a grip on a life that's spun out of control -- the freedom of "On the Road" has been dampened by fame, alcohol and the pressures of adulthood.
September 6, 2013 |
In the New Criterion this week, Bruce Bawer recycles the classic conservative screed against the Beats by way of lamenting the publication of Jack Kerouac's collected poetry by the Library of America. It's an odd piece, not least because “Collected Poems” came out a year ago, but also because of how completely Bawer misses the point. “[P]erhaps the best way to try to get through Kerouac's poems,” he complains, “is to approach them not as literary texts but as private ramblings of the sort you might find in the files of a psych ward.” A line or two later, he reminds us that “a voyeuristic frisson is not the same as an aesthetic experience.” Well, yes, of course ... but to dismiss Kerouac's poetry through the lens of voyeurism (or worse, psychosis)