Jack Kerouac is/was a mixed-media story maker. Sure mostly noted for novels or poems but also made sketches/drawing, imaginary baseball games, diary, notebooks and indeed paintings. Evidence follows.
Also friendly reminder Jack’s noted artifact – the whole dang sc/roll of On the Road comes to Kobe Japan from end of April ~ end of May and i am helping kick off the bonanza with a special mixed media storymaking workshop on April 29 1400-1600. Will involve scissors, glue and me and you + envelopes and suitcases of mystery and usual assorted hats
The legendary sc/roll of “On the Road“ which sparked so many people hitchhiking, train hopping, disappearing on ships — opening their mind, exploring new cultures and traditions and sparking so much counter-culture… from beats, pranksters, hippies, punks, to diy independent everything and freethinking anyone, yes that one / ‘Tis lionized in many songs, remixes, movies, chapbooks, fanzines – the thumbprints are everywhere.
And now you can add to the legend￼ by showing up as this (valuable in every sense) artifact is coming to Asia for the first time ever. Specifically, Kobe Japan￼ from April 25 – May 31 at BB Plaza Museum of Art.
More Jack #Kerouac riffs – this one from the mighty Jerry Garcia
￼ “I can’t separate who I am now from what I got from Kerouac. I don’t know if I would ever have had the courage or the vision to do something outside with my life – or even suspected the possibilities existed – if it weren’t for Kerouac opening those doors.”
Jerry Garcia, remembering Jack Kerouac who was born in Lowell, MA on March 12, 1922￼
Along the wanders, I found myself in San Francisco, really mostly in Pacifica, one of my favourite hideaways and just south of the city… but anyway, ventured into SF proper to (finally) get some time at the Beat Museum and wow, what a great job these folks are doing. As such, a few notes and artifacts from the museum and history dripping neighbourhood for your amusement and my memory.
Now I could go on and on about the importance of *the Beats* connecting literary traditions, sparking countercultures leading to the revolutionary “pranksters“ to the *hippies* (for lack of a better term), ￼punks (no I’m not talking mohawks here), indie-making artists of all medium, everything… while also looking back to Whitman, cummings (sic), WCW, Wolfe, Twain, Thoreau, Dostoevsky… you get the general gist. Or what I’m trying to see is wide-thinking, free-roaming, do it yourself souls sharing empathy for others, breaking conventions to find out who you really are and then manifesting the distilled results t into one’s own life which infuses your own soul, then effectuates inspiration in others – also (critically) this ain’t always pretty, rarely is. That’s not the point.
Work in progress…
Anyhow, the Beat Museum￼ was (maybe is) undergoing some construction as the building needs an earthquake-resistant upgrade, – I’ve shared some various fundraising campaigns and podcast riffs about their history over the years in this archive maybe you’ve come across and supported their noble efforts… but anyway, the building was surrounded by scaffolding in a bit of commotion and for a guy like me has easily sensory overload it, it could easily be intense but I stepped in and disappeared for an afternoon amongst the curated exhibits.
This is not some fancy-pants museum, this is a grassroots effort with everything done by intention and￼ in an attentive spirit. I took some crappy snapshots along the way just to remember for my own memory as i wander far and wide and sometimes the twist and turns get a little too quick for me to process real time in my noggin.
Artifacts and abstractions…
note: There is a little mini-theatre room looping a film (was it “Pull My Daisy? It’s all a bit hazy now a few countries later), which pleased me for the visual abstraction of Beat life as well as regrouping in a small / dark / cozy room.
Notable artifacts include:
“referee shirt” Neal Cassady famously wore while driving Furthur, the Merry Prankster bus
a plaid wool jacket Kerouac wore (I’ve had one just like it)
Workshop: “We Are the Stories We Create” April 29 (Wed.) 14:00 to 16:00 Venue: BB Plaza Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan Capacity: 20 people / Free participation (* Exhibition ticket required) / Advance reservation system / First come first served / Presented in English and Japanese
Blurb: Handmade workshop! Participants create their stories using typewriters, paper, scissors and glue, and explore various ways to share them. Create one booklet together. We work with original materials such as mimeographs and hand-made books shown by instructor Dave.
+++ 会場：BBプラザ美術館 神戸市灘区岩屋中町4-2-7 BBプラザ2F TEL 078-802-9286 シンポジウム「ジャック・ケルアックの『オン・ザ・ロード』の旅：神戸から世界へ」 5月24 日（日）13:00-17:00 （開場 12:30） 会 場：シマブンホール（BBプラザ4F） 定 員：200名 聴講無料（＊展覧会観覧券の提示要）・事前予約制 ・先着順 ・通訳付 講演者： 青山南（作家、翻訳家） 柴田元幸（神戸市外国語大学客員教授、東京大学名誉教授、『MONKEY』責任編集者、翻訳家） ヒラリー・ハラデイ（ビート研究者、前マサチューセッツ大学ローウェル校アメリカン・スタディーズ・ケルアック・センター所長、What’s Your Road, Man?: Critical Essays on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road 編集者） マシュー・セアドー（神戸市外国語大学教授、著作 Understanding Jack Kerouac, The Beats: A Literary Reference） 司 会：難波江仁美（神戸市外国語大学教授）
Kerouac “On the Road” storymaking workshop / in Japanese and English
Workshop: “We Are the Stories We Create”
April 29 (Wed.) 14:00 to 16:00
Venue: BB Plaza Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan
Capacity: 20 people / Free participation (* Exhibition ticket required) / Advance reservation system / First come first served /
Presented in English and Japanese
Handmade workshop! Participants create their stories using typewriters, paper, scissors and glue, and explore various ways to share them. Create one booklet together. We work with original materials such as mimeographs and hand-made books shown by instructor Dave.
Jack Kerouac is well-noted for typing/writing his epic novels of personal discovery against a backdrop of a rapidly changing America on long sc/rolls of paper – to maintain momentum rather than pausing to change sheets among other reasons.
There are around 8 of these sc/rolls in existence and all were sold off by the estate managers (rather than archived in museums/libraries) the location of most is unknown… however the most *famous* of the rolls “On the Road” sold for some millions and is now coming for exhibition display to Kobe, Japan at BB Plaza Museum.
Of course, Kerouac is a massive influence on my life of hitchhiking, train/ship riding, poetry writing, and finding beauty in the downtrodden and digging into life with vigour and authenticity.
Along with the majestic original tome of a genre-defining and culture-changing book comes a series of events curated by Prof Matt Theado and colleagues at Kobe University [see Kerouac Comes to Japan FB to follow along] including documentary film screening, symposium and more.
Among the line-up is your pal (me) doing a 2 hour hands-on analog workshop about making stories in various formats. I’ll be bringing the old-timey suitcases filled with surprises from the archive and supplies for making new artifacts in real-time.
If you are in Japan, consider coming along – seriously, we’ll have a good time. Not in Japan? Maybe i’ll capture some goodness for ya but if you can spread the word and/or send some vibes, ’tis well-appreciated.
Read on for details of my gig and then more about the event in general… Also, spending time with the roll i suspect will feel like see King Tutankhamun’s death mask (Seattle 1978).
You could be forgiven for thinking that my life involves entirely eating delicious food and drinking fantastic coffee as you are somewhat correct… however, there is slightly more going on as i am into the routine of “regular life” and doing things which I file under “life administration”. As such, some tasks (as much as I delight in the mundanity of everyday activity) doesn’t get documentation.
Not that these things are not interesting – but because in the diligence and action itself, there’s interestingness – but photographs aren’t always timely nor appropriate and in themselves, there’s not often a story to be told. Within this thought is why I enthusiastically and rather comprehensively documented everyday life when first arriving in a new place… As in: when you stay in a place for a while, the uniqueness of every day life fades and it’s easy to think that “I’ll do this another time” or “I’ll wait for something special” or “why bother?”
So it goes, the festive season passes yet calendar stays busy with the usual sorts of things. Yesterday included returning books to splendid library, a few letters (Switzerland and Indonesia) to the post office, a stop for the best ramen, and a visit to a chiropractor and then a super good little (i mean little) coffee shop – like just perfect right?
In amongst, we repaired/re-did a wall in Tsuchida Cottage, attended a parenting class(!), went to opera variety show, hit up Hatsumi-san’s piano recital, moved some brick around outside, printed more flyers for Mae Maes gig, talked to a guy about replaced some drafty windows, recycled plastic items, booked a trip to Nagasaki…
Here is a variety of snippets collected along the way, with minor annotations as possible.
I make scrapbooks and journals for all sorts of reasons, sometimes for my own creations and writing, sometimes for specific project and in this case, for inspiration or dareisay therapy.
Background: I was having hard go of it in life or whatever and moved into a very small room at a boarding-house-type place. While basic, i quite loved having a place which kept me safe and allowed me rest. Reminded me a sign i saw in Vancouver for the “Wonder Hotel – Rooms for Rent – Clean, Quiet, Free Cable, Fridge, Secure” – all the attributes this Ankangan Guesthouse possessed.