Books are my pals, even since a kid – and sometimes books (by circumstance or convenience) are stashed at mysterious locales around the world.
Sometimes, i snap pics of the cache for future reference, sometimes they go to little /free libraries, sometimes into my “Liberated Literature” program.
Regardless, sometimes, the bookcases and/or contents are captured for memory of spending time with friends in a still-life of sorts. As such, this dossier of evidence.
In this case, a case from Nusa Ceningan (made from an old canoe) from Summer 2019 reading, including usual assortment of Tolstoy Kerouac, plus an assortment of Vancouver-centric treats by Eve Lazarus, George Garrett and Grant Lawrence, a few Bali-specifics, Rumi’s romantic poetry, Ginsberg’s India Journal (1st edition, 1970) etc.
Note the canoe bookshelf is decorated with various insta-photos and travel / hotel luggage tags and a few paintings.
Like everything, not shockingly, the Jack Kerouac “on the road” sc/roll exhibition in Kobe (what would’ve been the sc/roll’s first time in Asia), and my related storymaking workshop “We are the stories we create“ are cancelled.
Good news is: I have a handy inky “cancelled” stamp to make the poster an accurate souvenir.
Best regards to Professor Matt Theado and his colleagues at the University and museum for all the work that went into this project and also hat tip to the keeper of the artifact, the wonderfully named, Mr. Jim Canary, who would’ve been subject to a two week quarantine amongst other challenges of going forward with this event.
Not a lot of fun but we could’ve delivered him rice balls a few times a day and left them at the door :).
Hopefully, there will be an availability in the future for Mr. Canary and the scroll to make the trip. I had big ideas for my workshop, but not really things that are shareable by video as meant to be hands-on.
The time will come, the time will come.￼
Patience and time are our allies.￼ I’ll keep sharing the goods from Jack Kerouac and contemporaries in the meanwhile.
Recently my entire life archive of projects, scrap books, journals, paintings, various art, artifacts, scarves and hats and of course records and books books books arrived to my barn in Japan after a transpacific journey from Canada.
Spending a few hours a day opening up boxes to sort out all the treasures and, came across a nice stash of old friends today.
Besides all the Jack, and there are more than this, plenty of Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Richard Brautigan, JD Salinger, Leo Tolstoy, the complete collection of Tintin and well… So much so much so much.￼￼
Anyway, the Jack collection will make for a good show and tell at my “On the Road” sc/roll workshop in Kobe on April 29 #FingersCrossed￼ [update: cancelled]
Note: the little Japanese bound one on top right is the treasure of American Haikus… preview:
So much more to share but noting tis a challenge keeping up sort-ganizing momentum whilst also documenting and savouring.
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.
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).
Explore the important roles that books have played in the cultural history of Japan.
I’ve started an interesting (and free) course from notable Keio University called “Japanese Culture Through Rare Books” in which i shall learn about bookbinding styles and their influence on Japanese literature.
Perfect for me right? (After all, you’ve likely seen my Japanese-influenced scrapjournals after all (maybe you’ve received one…).
Even better if you join in the class too – about 3 hrs a week for 3 weeks, like no big deal and… if you pay some Yen at the end, you get a certificate or something or other.
Official Blurb follow:
Why join the course?
A book is a tool for preserving words and images. Through books, an abundance of information, including the knowledge and experiences of the people of the past, has been handed down to the present. But books are more than records of words and images. Their form, appearance, and even the scripts and styles used tell us about the fashions and technologies of the times that produced them. By studying old books, we can learn a great deal about the geographical areas in which they were made, the historical background, and the individuals and groups involved in their making.
While displaying remarkable similarities with books produced in other areas of the Sinitic cultural sphere, Japanese books also possess some unique features, starting with their sheer diversity of form and appearance. Using a wealth of multimedia content, we will take a journey through the wonderful world of traditional Japanese books.
What becomes of the seemingly ephemeral creations we leave behind? Especially in the analog-days?
Consider these in the context of missing cassette tapes made by a now departed poet/activist/scholar Foster and guitar-ing Mikael, who recorded spontaneous youthful riffs in parent’s basement in Utah. In this postcard, Mikael Lewis sings “Wildflower (for Foster)” written by Dave in a clinic in Nepal, then adds some more verses, spiels and a poem called “Occasionally Free” – with lightning, rainstorm and crickets chiming along.
Note: Also available in audio-only via all normal podcast channels and elsewhere in this library.