The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars….

— Jack Kerouac

A three-day 50th anniversary celebration of Beat generation luminary Jack Kerouac’s On the Road has been planned for Friday through Sunday, October 19th to 21st, at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. General admission is $7 and students and seniors are $5.

Breaking literary boundaries in a three-week frenzy of writing in 1951, Kerouac typed what was to become one of the most innovative and revered novels of the 20th century on 119 feet of taped-together graph paper. On the Road was to become the defining literary work of the Beat Generation.

“I read it in 1968 as a senior in high school and it changed my life,” says Richard Modiano, a member of the Beyond Baroque board of trustees and organizer of the event. “Since then, every half generation it seems, I meet seniors in high school, in the 1970s and 1980s through the present, who tell me that the book changed their life.”

After many rewrites, edits and resistance from agents and publishers, Kerouac’s masterpiece was published in 1957 by Viking Press.

Viking recently reissued Kerouac’s original unedited manuscript (Kerouac’s long-flowing sentences and all) in book form this year.

On the Road chronicles freewheeling trips taken across the United States in 1948 and 1950.

The three-day event at Beyond Baroque begins at 7 p.m. Friday, October 19th, with Trips, a program and exhibit of photographs by Fred Camper.

Camper has sought to closely correlate his photographic works with the spirit of Kerouac’s writing style, even so much as photographing places that Kerouac had visited and been inspired by in his lifetime.

From noon to midnight Saturday, October 20th, Beyond Baroque will hold a marathon reading of the new Viking Press publication of the On the Road manuscript with special guest readers.

The closing program of the celebration at 5 p.m. Sunday, October 21st, will include a panel discussion with S.A. Griffin, poet and co-editor of the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry; poet and educator Marc Olmsted, who was a close friend of Allen Ginsburg and now teaches about the Beats at UC Santa Cruz; Barry Smolin, who hosts The Music Never Stops program on KPFK radio; and Dennis McNally, former manager of The Grateful Dead and author of Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America.

Information, (310) 822-3006.

Share