Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Embedded Video

Enjoy my first attempt at embedding a video. This is Jack Kerouac, nervous & slightly drunk, reading from On The Road and (I think) Visions of Cody on The Steve Allen Show in 1959. -Ed

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rawhide! With Clint Eastwood!

The intent of Greenwich Library's Classic & Cult Television series is to focus on TV series from the 50s through the 70s which are no longer being shown in reruns. Plus, as most of these old programs had or are about to be released on DVD, it made some sense to make our patrons aware of these programs' availability. Especially since cable channels like TVLand seem to think television began after 1980. (And an aside: WHY is TVLand showing movies like "Top Gun" ?!? Other than nostalgia for the 80s -which I don't share- there's no earthly reason for showing the same old stuff easily found on TNT, TBS & AMC.)

Anyway, tomorrow night Classic TV will be showing episodes of Rawhide co-starring Clint Eastwood and Cheyenne with Clint Walker. Neither series is currently being rerun in the tri-state area, so this evening's program will either be a revelation to some ("Gee, Clint sure talks a lot in these shows!") or a reunion of sorts ("I remember that episode!"). The episodes start at 7:00 pm. Information on the series can be found at and (for Cheyenne) at .

Friday, November 9, 2007

Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac On The Road

Last night's viewing of the exhibition Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac On The Road at the New York Public Library was like discovering the Holy Grail for anybody even remotely interested in the works & influences of Jack Kerouac. The exhibit is housed on the first floor of the museum (click on the links in the previous sentence for dates & times) in the Gottesman Hall, just next to the library's gift shop. Inside the cavernous hall are, enclosed in glass cases, dozens of written journal entries, correspondence, various drafts & outlines for novels, essays, photos, unpublished short stories, drawings & paintings and even fantasy baseball rosters all by Kerouac and/or his friends. There's even a CD player on the wall where you can listen to Kerouac's favorite classical music works, which he'd listen to while writing. There are photos of fellow Beats Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Herbert Huncke, Gary Snyder and Neil Cassidy, plus various bri-a-brac like Kerouac's first typewriter as well as a kind of Zen Buddist-like scroll with a haiku composed by Kerouac & Snyder. You'll also see (despite the dim light) photos of the various residences Kerouac, Ginsberg & the others stayed in during the 50s & 60s.

But it was The Scroll that really held the attention of the guests.

Begun in April, 1951, Kerouac began writing the work that would make him famous (or infamous, at least when it was finally published six years later after several revisions), the Beat classic On The Road. Kerouac composed the first draft on his typewriter using 12 ten foot long rolls of architectural tracing paper, forming one long continous scroll so as not to disturb the author's train of thought. Afterwards, and after many excisions & additions, Kerouac would transfer the text of the scroll onto standard sheets of paper so it could be submitted in manuscript form to publishers.
To actually see & read this amazing example of Kerouac's creative process is something else! You can "get" the sense of spontaneous thought Kerouac projected as he wrote without stopping to pause for a moment. (Corrections, such as spelling & paragraph breaks, were made after he completed the scroll.) As a testament to the creative imagination of an artist, the Original Scroll is required viewing.

(Those unable to view the Scroll at the library but want to see it are encouraged to seek out a copy of On The Road: The Original Scroll, edited by Howard Cunnell, which Viking published this past September. The library carries three copies of it. Recommended.)
The exhibit is broken up into eight sections ("On The Road:The Scroll & Its Successors"; "Fiction, Poetry & Prose"; "Confession, Reflection & Judgement") and is well worth the time.

Oh, I managed to run into Bill Morgan & his wife Jean at the exhibit. Mr. Morgan will be giving a talk on Beat poet Gregory Corso tomorrow (Saturday, November 10) at 2:00 pm in the library's Meeting Room. Professor Regina Weinreich from the School of Visual Arts, who spoke here last month on William S. Burroughs, also attented. Unfortunately, the man responsible for putting together this great exhibition, Dr. Isaac Gewirtz, was nowhere to be seen. I managed to pick up a copy of his Beatific Soul companion book in the gift shop with the hops of getting him to sign it AND offer my personal congratulations, but no luck. I did get a glimpse of Beat figure & jazz musician David Amram, as well as meeting Beat scholars like William Gargan & Gordon Ball. (Jean Morgan tried to find John Tyrell, author of the Beat retrospective Naked Angels -also carried by us- for me to meet, but to no avail.)

The Morgans both expressed their appreciation with their reception here last May when Bill spoke about Allen Ginsberg & are looking forward to coming to the library on Saturday. (Bill's biography of Ginsberg from last year, I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg, is now in paperback. Also, Bill co-edited the just-released You'll Be Okay: My Life With Jack Kerouac, a posthumouslypublished memoir by Edie Parker Kerouac, the author's first wife. Need I add Greenwich Library has copies of these too?)

Aside from not seeing Dr. Gewirtz again, my one real regret about last night is that I wish I had been allowwed to take pictures (the hall's dim lighting not withstanding)! Oh well....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Follow Up On Kerouac Exhibition

Unless anybody objects, I'll discuss my going to tonight's Kerouac Exhibition viewing/reception in my next post. Personally I think it's great that I got invited to such an event by such a important institution like NYPL. I hope fellow staffers get similar invites to such things in the future.

Meanwhile, here's the NY Times with an article on the exhibition. My mantra has always been "the art, not the artist":


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Shameless Staffer Plug

Last March, I had invited Dr. Isaac Gewirtz, curator of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library to be guest speaker at the second Beat Generation program held here, Focus on Jack Kerouac. Dr. Gewirtz was in the process of putting together an exhibition on the life & works of Kerouac to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of On The Road. The exhibition would include various unpublished, never-before-seen writings (including journal entries, first drafts, essays, short stories and even a fantasy baseball roster) and artwork. Dr. Gewirtz was able to put together a power point presentation of the exhibition for our program last March, giving staff and the community a great "sneak peek" at what the New York Public Library would unveil, as well as giving a terrific overview of Kerouac's life and his progression as an author. (Basically, we "scooped" other libraries on news about the exhibition.)

Well, last week I received an invitation to attend the opening reception & viewing of the NY Public Library's new exhibition Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac On The Road. The opening will be at NY Public this Thursday night (November 8) at 6:30 pm, with the exhibition officially open to the public November 9 to March 16, 2008. Information can be glommed at or at NYPL's home page ( And Dr. Gewirtz has also finished a companion book to the exhibit, which should be out in January.

It goes without saying that without the support of staff & public alike, my Beat Discussion program would never have gotten this sort of acknowledgement. To be recognized in this way helps support & holds in high esteem the efforts of myself & my fellow programmers in fulfilling the requirements of our Library's Mission Statement, as well as expose audiences to literary artists & works they might otherwise not known of.

Thank you all for your support of this program. I promise to represent the best impression Greenwich Library can make at the reception. Provided I don't bump into any furniture...


Monday, November 5, 2007

More About Gregory Corso

This Saturday, Bill Morgan wil discuss the life & work of Beat poet Gregory Corso. Those who would like to learn something about Mr. Corso's life & body of work can go to, which features examples of his poems.