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Playlist: Jack Kerouac

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/debaird/">flickr_debaird</a> and Penguin Press
Image by: flickr_debaird and Penguin Press 
Curated Playlist

October 21st will mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of great American writer Jack Kerouac.

Hour (49:00-1:00:00)

Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye To Kerouac (EDITED language version w/ ID break)

From Sue Zizza | 59:00

Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac written by Patrick Fenton, is directed by award winning audio dramatist Sue Zizza, and takes place at the end of summer 1964.

Jackcoverforprx_small Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac written by Patrick Fenton, is directed by award winning audio dramatist Sue Zizza, and takes place at the end of summer 1964. Based on a recording that was made in Kerouac's Northport, Long Island living room, as he and his mother, Memere, pack to leave for St. Petersburg, Florida - the place where he would finally end his many road journeys - this play blends the reality of that last night with other moments in Kerouac's life to create an image of an artist in transition. On this last night in New York, as Jack hosts a going away party for himself, he thinks back to the America he saw, riding alongside Neal Cassady, as they drove back and forth across the US. Throughout the beer-soaked night, Jack reflects back on fame, the fame he tried unsuccessfully to hide from in Northport, and a cultural shift taking place in America that has him worried that his time has come and gone. As the memories play through his mind, Jack also receives a series of soul-searching phone calls from his daughter, Jan, who is desperate to connect with the man she believes is her father. Scenes from Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac were recorded on location at Gunther's Tap Room in Northport, NY - one of Jack's favorite haunts - and features music by Composer David Amram, who scored the 1959 Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Neal Cassady film "Pull My Daisy". Narrated by Len Cariou, Jack's Last Call is an honest portrayal of, and an elegy to, the man who wrote On the Road, which helped to shape a generation and a nation. "Great writing, excellent audio mix and effects...a superb piece of work." ~ Tom Lopez - ZBS Foundation. "This play shows Jack at a difficult time in his life, and it does it with a rare understanding of how he tried to deal with the dilemma of unwanted celebrity while finding a way to continue pursuing his goals as an author. Fenton has created a moving portrait of a unique artist, rather than another dreary "Beat" stereotype. Bravo!" ~ David Amram, Composer.

Finding My Kerouac: On the Road at Mid-Life

From David Berner | 57:05

This documentary is about two men who, at mid-life, re-read Kerouac's book and get behind the wheel for a 4000 mile road trip of reflection and discovery.

Kerouac324_small Finding My Kerouac: On the Road at Mid-Life chronicles the travels of two men, but capture the longing of so many others. Jack Kerouac's On the Road was, and still is, an inspiration for so many young people who are trying to discover who they are and what they want from life. But why should the novel only make a connection with the young? In the mid-life years, isn't it true, that we all struggle with our own destinies, mortality, and the substance in our lives? Don't we all ask ourselves, as we did when we were young - what is it all about? Why are we here? Certainly we did, and we do it again, with more urgency, at mid-life. On the Road fuels the fires of a long unanswered question: What do we want out of life? And at mid-life, that question may be even more poignant. Re-reading the novel, along with its direct non-fiction connections to Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation, has become a catalyst for rediscovery at a time in life when meaning is most essential. Kerouac's character Sal Paradise says in the novel, "The road is life." In that short sentence there is so much meaning. On the road, you can find your life, your center, your authentic self. You can redefine your desires, reconnect with your dreams, sort out your sorrows, and come to the realization that life is a road; a winding one with many mileposts but few street signs, and a journey in the true sense of the word. Taking a road trip, has always been an affirmation of freedom and possibility. This road trip is exactly that, at a time in one's life when we long to find excitement, new challenges, new roads. (Note: All the audio, including narration, was done "on the road". There was no studio recording for this piece)


Cutaways (5:00-8:59)

The Beat Goes On - part 1

From 90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR News Station | Part of the The Beat Goes On - "On the Road" at 50 series | 07:46

In this five-part series Charles Sennott of The Boston Globe retraces the path of "On the Road's" Sal Paradise across America. All five pieces in the series located here.

Default-piece-image-2 More than fifty years after the publication of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," the definitive novel of the Beat Generation still enthralls readers with its call to the road. In this five-part series Charles Sennott of The Boston Globe retraces the path of "On the Road's" Sal Paradise across America. Part one finds Sennott in Lowell, Massachusetts, which has come to hold Kerouac in the same high regard as the author had for the city of his birth. It is here in Lowell that Sennott hears the invitation fto the road for the second time in his life, and takes it. Each segment is designed as a drop-in to NPR's Morning Edition segment E. Included here are scripts for suggested host intros and tags. The total duration of each piece with intro and tag is ~7:15 and there is plenty of great music to fill under the rest of the segment.

Jan On Jack

From Marjorie Van Halteren | 06:34

This piece brings together a poem the late Jan Kerouac recorded late one night at WNYC in the mid-1980's - it's a response to the poem read by Jack from the WNYC archives recorded in 1959.

Jan_small This piece brings together a poem the late Jan Kerouac recorded late one night at WNYC in the mid-1980's - it's a response to the poem read by Jack from the WNYC archives recorded in 1959.Two rare pieces of tape that were made for each other. Produced for Hearing Voices, originally aired on Studio 360.


Drop-Ins (2:00-4:59)

Jack Kerouac: Writing Lesson

From Susan Barrett Price | 03:40

Kerouac's 30 points for spontaneous writing have a Zen quality worth meditating on.

Listenkerouac150sq_small He was kind of a Buddha for the Beat Generation (except that he, uh, drank himself to death at an early age... oops). He cultivated both spontaneity and craft. He became an icon to thousands of kids with road fever but could have equally been a role model for the serious pursuit of any skill (his pile of notebooks, his endless revisions) -- except for the, uh, methamphetamine part). His 30 points for spontaneous writing have a Zen quality worth meditating on.

Mixing Jazz and Poetry with David Amram

From New Hampshire Public Radio | 04:47

David Amram talks about mixing jazz and poetry with Jack Kerouac and other Beat poets.

Amram_small David Amram is a prolific composer. He wrote the film score to Splendor in the Grass and The Manchurian Candidate. He's composed more than one hundred orchestral works, and he's collaborated with an incredible range of artists. However, it's his work with poet Jack Kerouac that makes him the unofficial godfather of mixing jazz and poetry. New Hampshire Public Radio Producer Andrew Walsh caught up with David Amram in advance of his appearance at Portsmouth's "Jazzmouth" festival.