Tag: Jack Kerouac

What Would Kerouac Wear?

Photo by Tom Palumbo (Creative Commons)

Dressing the part of your favorite traveler—fictional or otherwise—is a fun concept. Consider the crumpled linen of “Our Man in Havana” or Miss Lucy’s Edwardian ruffles in “A Room with a View.”  When the trend and fashion site Who What Wear published a piece on how to do exactly that, I wondered what the fashionistas advised. And hey, they mashed it up with a travel-centric summer reading list. Great idea.

We’ve heard that escapism can be a vice, but we’re ignoring the professionals for now and using our summer reading to transport ourselves to coastal Scotland, 1950s Paris, and the high seas (just to name a few) via a few of our favorite books. Even better? We’re taking style notes from these classic tales and are fully dressing the part.

It took only two outfits for my sarcastic side to kick in. For “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s classic about racism in the 1930s American South, the site recommends a $295 leather backpack. Where is the ham costume worn by Scout for a Halloween pageant in the 1962 movie? By the time I got to Kerouac ($9 for “On the Road,” $588 for a pair of shorts), I’d had enough.

I reread “On the Road” during a recent trip to California. At the beginning of the book, Kerouac—or rather, Sal Paradise— makes much of the fact that his feet are wet and cold thanks to his cheap espadrilles. Sal never has enough gear, and at one point, fellow hitchhiker Eddie makes off with one of Sal’s only shirts. When I read the book in my early 20s, I was taken with the free-spirited nature of it. Reading it again, I thought about the hard travel Kerouac describes and how exhausting being cold and hungry so often would have been.

Plus, Sal Paradise would kick you in the junk for blowing close to $600 on shorts. He’d spend that money on booze and books. Let me know when there’s a guide to drinking like your favorite literary character—that’s an idea I can get behind.

(Never mind. It exists. If you need me, I’ll be at the bar reading “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Singapore Sling, if you’re wondering.)


Travel Movie Watch: First Trailer for ‘On the Road’

After years of stops and starts, it’s here: Walter Salles’ film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”—or an official trailer, at least. The movie is due out later this year.



Rejection Notes for Famous Authors: ‘I Don’t Dig This One at All’

The Atlantic has a fun round-up of rejection notes received by some now-famous authors, before they made it big. Among them: Peter Matthiessen and Jack Kerouac, whose “On the Road” is dismissed by a Knopf editor as “huge sprawling and inconclusive.” Said another editor: “I don’t dig this one at all.”


Scenes From the ‘On the Road’ Movie

Jerry Cimino, founder and curator of The Beat Museum, updates what’s going on with Walter Salles’ film adaptation of Kerouac’s classic.

The film was shot between August and December of 2010 in Montreal, New Orleans, Mexico, San Francisco and many other locations. But Walter Salles was searching for even more authenticity, so unbeknownst to just about everyone he and Garrett Hedlund took to the road for a second time in April of 2011. They spent two weeks along with a crew of five and blasted 4,000 miles across the back roads of the USA. They purposefully avoided the interstate highways not built until the 1950s, retracing as best they could the original route of the two lane roads Jack & Neal drove.

The purpose of this unpublicized trip was for Walter and Garrett to be involved in the “Second Unit” shooting themselves. True to their desire to make On The Road as authentic as they could they wanted to capture the images of the ‘49 Hudson roaring across the continent with the sights and sounds of the country in the background. The story of On The Road is also the story of America and the film makers wanted to capture the physical and human geography at the core of On The Road as part of the film.

The Huffington Post has photos.


A Must-Have ‘On the Road’ iPad Book App?

Sounds like it. Penguin published an iPad book app for Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” this week, and it’s being hailed as somewhat groundbreaking, at least as far as classic literature apps go. It features a slew of exclusive additional material, including a map, commentary, a slideshow of cover art from international editions, and tributes from Bob Dylan and others.

The decision to bring out “On the Road” as an app has a lot to do with this iconic status, explains Stephen Morrison, editor in chief of Penguin Books, reached this week by phone at his Manhattan office. “We were looking for a book with enough resonance,” Morrison says, “as well as enough supplemental material from which we could learn how to curate a literary app.”

The key word there is “learn,” which is what all of us, publishers and writers and readers, must do now as the publishing industry increasingly comes to terms with the digital age. We need to learn how to use the digital space as a vessel, as a container, how to produce and interact with apps and electronic texts that feel like books, yet also reflect the possibilities of technology.


‘On the Road’ Meets ‘On the Bro’d’

An amusing and crude Tumblr mashes up Kerouac’s classic. The opening lines of On the Bro’d:

I first met Dean not long after Tryscha and I hooked up. I had just gotten over a wicked fucking hangover that I won’t bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with a six-foot-five douchebag and a beer bong. With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the bro’d. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see hot LA actress chicks and try In N’ Out burgers, always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean is the perfect bro for the road because he knows how to fucking party.

And the mad ones? You’ll now find them trolling Buffalo Wild Wings:

[T]he only bros for me are the awesome ones, the ones who are mad to chug, mad to party, mad to bone, mad to get hammered, desirous of all the chicks at Buffalo Wild Wings, the ones who never turn down a Bud Light Lime, but chug, chug, chug like fucking awesome players exploding like spiders across an Ed Hardy shirt and in the middle you see the silver skull pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

(Via @thebookslut)


The ‘On the Road’ Movie: It’s Really Happening, and Soon

When a couple of major casting decisions for the long-awaited flick were announced this spring, I remained skeptical about the project hitting theaters anytime soon. Turns out I should have been more optimistic: “On the Road” is filming now, in locations as far-flung as Montreal, New Orleans, San Francisco and New Mexico. Get the Big Picture’s Colin Boyd thinks it could be ready for Sundance 2011.

A number of heavyweights have joined the cast in supporting roles: Amy Adams, Viggo Mortenson, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Steve Buscemi and Terrence Howard will all make appearances. I’ll admit, I’m getting excited for this one.


10 Wanderlust-Inducing Travel Novels and Story Collections

10 Wanderlust-Inducing Travel Novels and Story Collections iStockPhoto

Frank Bures on the books to read when you're seeking inspiration

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Searching for Neal Cassady in San Miguel de Allende

Searching for Neal Cassady in San Miguel de Allende Photo: Eneas via Flickr, Creative Commons

Novelist Peter Ferry hunts down the ghost of the beatnik legend who inspired Kerouac, Ginsberg and so many others

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Study: ‘Internet Users Are a Bunch of Ideological Jack Kerouacs’

Those are the words of David Brooks, invoking one of our travel heroes in characterizing a study about Internet usage by Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Brooks continues about internet users:

They’re not burrowing down into comforting nests. They’re cruising far and wide looking for adventure, information, combat and arousal. This does not mean they are not polarized. Looking at a site says nothing about how you process it or the character of attention you bring to it. It could be people spend a lot of time at their home sites and then go off on forays looking for things to hate. But it probably does mean they are not insecure and they are not sheltered.


Actors Cast in ‘On the Road’ Movie

Looks like there’s some progress on the Walter Salles-directed adaptation of “On the Road” that we’ve been keeping an eye on for, oh, a few years now. Get the Big Picture is reporting that Garrett Hedlund has been cast as Dean Moriarty, while Sam Riley will play Sal Paradise. Both actors are relatively unknown, which—given the scrutiny this project is sure to get—could be a good thing. It’s hard for me to picture a pair of really famous faces playing Sal and Dean, and it’s not like Salles will need a major star’s brand power to get publicity for the flick.

Filming is slated to start this summer, but don’t hold your breath—we’ve heard that before.


Nine Subversive Travel Novels

Thomas Kohnstamm celebrates fiction that uncovers deeper truths about travel and the world

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Get Your Sordid Kerouac Estate Details Here

The Telegraph delves into the ongoing nasty legal battle over the Jack Kerouac estate. It’s not pretty, though it is dramatic—a disowned daughter, a forged will and a couple of deaths by liver failure are all in the mix. The story also notes that Kerouac’s unpublished first novel, which we blogged about earlier this year, will be out in 2010.


Revealed: Robert Frank’s Elevator Girl

The previously unknown woman in Robert Frank’s photo “Elevator—Miami Beach,” the woman Jack Kerouac singled out in his introduction to Frank’s book, “The Americans,” has revealed herself. She’s Sharon Collins. At the time of the photo she was working the elevator at the Sherry Frontenac Hotel. 

Kerouac described Collins as “That little ole lonely elevator girl looking up sighing in an elevator full of blurred demons.” In an interview with NPR this weekend, Collins said Kerouac’s description of her was “pretty close.”

He saw in me something that most people didn’t see. I have a big smile and a big laugh, and I’m usually pretty funny. So people see one thing in me. And I suspect Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac saw something that was deeper. That only people who were really close to me can see. It’s not necessarily loneliness, it’s ... dreaminess.

Here’s the iconic photo.


Orlando Memories

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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Ben Gibbard, Jay Farrar Team Up for ‘Kerouac’s Big Sur’

Death Cab for Cutie singer/songwriter Gibbard and all-around alt-country standard-bearer Farrar had never met before collaborating on the soundtrack to a new documentary about Jack Kerouac, “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur.” Paste spoke with the pair about their work on the album, which will be released October 20.

Gibbard had previously written for Paste about his experience writing the most recent Death Cab album at the same cabin where Kerouac wrote “Big Sur.”


Jack Kerouac: Canadian Icon?

The New York Times Idea of the Day blog points to an essay in The Walrus that suggests the iconic American traveler and writer Jack Kerouac—or Jean-Louis, as he was named at birth—was “Québécois to the core.”

Also tackled by The Walrus: Is it Neil Young’s Canadianness that appeals to the hearts of Americans who love him?


Kerouac: ‘I Rode Around This Country Free as a Bee’

In a new Poetry Foundation essay, Aram Saroyan looks back at his time with the Beats. “God, man, I rode around this country free as a bee,” he remembers Kerouac saying of his “On the Road” days. “We had more fun than five thousand Socony Gasoline Station attendants can have.” (Via The Book Bench)


Lost and Found: Jack Kerouac’s First Novel

It looks like another previously unpublished Kerouac novel has surfaced, and is set to land in bookstores in the near future. “The Sea is my Brother” was written while Kerouac worked in the merchant marine, and according to his notes it tells the story of “the vanishing American, the big free by, the American Indian, the last of the pioneers, the last of the hoboes.” (Via The Book Bench)


New Year’s Resolutions, Kerouac-Style

In a sea of predictable New Year’s resolutions (yup, I’m headed back to the gym more often, too), Nerve.com’s Scanner blog offers something different: 30 pieces of advice straight from Beat legend (and World Hum favorite) Jack Kerouac. They’re largely aimed at writers, but they contain plenty of wisdom for travelers, too.

Couldn’t we all resolve to “believe in the holy contour of life” or to “keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning”?