Reconsidering the Importance of the Joan Anderson Letter
Dec16

Reconsidering the Importance of the Joan Anderson Letter

It’s been an exciting few years for fans of the Beat Generation. Since Beatdom was founded, we have seen the release of a number of high profile movie adaptations (including Howl and On the Road), the publication of previously unpublished Beat works like The Sea is My Brother, and various major anniversaries (including the fifty years that have passed since Howl and On the Road were published, as well as the centenary of the birth of...

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Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter” Finally Found
Nov24

Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter” Finally Found

“It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves.” - Jack Kerouac In 1950, Jack Kerouac read a 16,000 word letter written by his friend and muse, Neal Cassady, that was so revolutionary it caused him to abandon previous attempts at the project that would eventually become On the Road. His new...

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The Greatest Road Movie Never Made
Jun25

The Greatest Road Movie Never Made

  Brando should have played Dean; Jack’s 1957 letter to Marlon asking him to buy the film rights to On the Road is a cry in the dark night of his tormented soul. Marlon would have been stellar. Think of the young Marlon Brando as Stanley, Johnny, Terry, or even Sky – a guy straight out of the Omaha, Nebraska, heartland – wild, unorthodox, intelligent, rebellious, athletic, and the Zeus of Adonises. Team him with movie-star...

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Gangsters in the Cadillac
Jun12

Gangsters in the Cadillac

Big beautiful black 47 Cadillac limo to Chicago i Dreamboat in the fast American night Ball the jack all the whitewall way Zooming steady 110 Car thief 500 Speedometer breaks Coyote Nowhere Nebraska Iowa Angel of Terror Fender cracked . . . bender Rods gone “I can’t stand it any more, I can’t look.” Down on the floor of racing horrors Fears of crash Hid in backseat Chicaga Muddy heap Unrecognizable Broken boat Time to get out — fast...

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Why Can’t They Get It?
Feb23

Why Can’t They Get It?

By Neil Reddy Originally published in Beatdom #14   There are two questions that have to be asked about Beat movies. What do we want and why can’t they get it right? If we’re looking for Beat movies as in expressions of the flow and rhythm of Beat poetry and Jazz Bebop, then you have to go to the source material: Pull My Daisy (1959), or The Flower Thief (1960), or Howl (2010). If you want to get derivative, try any college arts...

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Go… the Summer, Fall, and Winter of Discontent
Feb12

Go… the Summer, Fall, and Winter of Discontent

The summer, the fall, and the winter of discontent, shovel after shovel of snow that turns to filthy slush, as in slush pile (publishers’ slush piles) . . . the discontent of youth, the discontent of marriage, the discontent of writers, the discontent of New Yorkers, and the discontent that turns to temporary joy at the nightclub The Go Hole. “Go! Go!” and “gone.” The discontent of life right from the beginning, as whimsically stated...

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Neal Cassady Birthday Bash
Jan22

Neal Cassady Birthday Bash

5th ANNUAL DENVER NEAL CASSADY BIRTHDAY BASH FEBRUARY 7th The Fifth Annual Neal Cassady Birthday Bash will take place on Friday, February 7th at 8:00pm, upstairs at the Mercury Café located at 2199 California in Denver. The Bash features music, poetry and reminiscences celebrating the birthday and life of Neal Cassady. Reared on the streets of Denver, pop culture icon Cassady was the archetype Beat writer as well as the protagonist of...

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Visions of Winter… Russia… Cody
Dec06

Visions of Winter… Russia… Cody

Hot chocolate . . . delicious Blustery deep freeze winds Cut through cruel canyons of Manhattan Past Dostoevsky Christmas angels Huddled in icy doorway Snowfall and heavenly whirls and waltzes And bare souls and mystic mad Rasputin Listening to Tchaikovsky in snowy swirls O, Robert, where art thou Frost? Are we in St. Petersburg, Russia? The littlest Romanov Tender Alexei lambevich And four sister lilies pure as pearls Hothouse saints...

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